My children and I have a neuromuscular disorder so having a light weight saddle is rather important. We don't NEED a saddle right now because we can use our trainer's saddles. But, I've seen a few inexpensive saddles and wonder about their quality. We have a young quarter horse. We do trail riding but my daughter may eventually want to do 4H. A 14" western or barrel saddle is probably what we'll need. I'm only 5'3" and the 14" at the tack shop fit me and that's the size my daughter currently uses.
Our local tack shop has a new combo leather/suede/synthetic saddle for $315. It's light weight and comfy. I'm not terribly impressed with the staining on the used synthetic saddles I've seen so am hesitant to purchase a synthetic saddle.
I've seen some used saddles on Craig's List and ebay. I've seen some pictures of saddles that look nice. The brands were Red Rider, Saddle Inc., and Hereford. There are some older saddles (ebay) too but I'm a bit concerned because I'm worried about dry rot. I've found a couple of no name saddles also. One was a heavily tooled Mexican saddle. The no name ones were 15" though.
The important things for us are comfort and weight. We'd like to get the best quality of saddle for the best price. OK, I realize that in the under $300 range we're not talking about a good quality saddle.
Oops, I meant it was a Red Ranger saddle.
Joshie, unless you are under 98 pounds, with your height you should be in a 15" saddle. You may be able to sit in a 14 but it should be too small for you (if you are over ~120 lb you may even need a 16"). You should not hang over the cantle or even be tight against it and you should be able to get 4 fingers between your belt and the swell (or horn).
I'm not familiar with the first two saddles you listed but Herford is a brand of Tex Tan and a good saddle although I didn't know they made synthetic. A really nice synthetic brand is Fabtron. It is more expensive then the $315 you were quoted but it is a really nicely made synthetic.
My daughter is ten and has been using a 14 inch. I've been using a larger saddle. The lady at the tack shop said that a 14 inch saddle would be appropriate for me. It was much smaller than the saddle I've been using.
My concern is that the Hereford is not a synthetic saddle. I'm not sure if it'll be too heavy for us. I don't like the staining with synthetics but am quite concerned about the weight of the leather ones.
Depending on your daughter's size (height and weight) a 14" may be appropriate for her ...not for you. If you are trying to get away with a single saddle, you are not doing justice to yourselves or your horse. A saddle that doesn't fit the rider is nearly as bad as one that doesn't fit the horse. You can't get the proper balance in an improper fitting saddle.
If the woman at the tack shop is trying to sell you something she has rather then what you need, I would be looking elsewhere. There is an old adage in sales: "If you haven't got what they want, sell them what you have".
I don't need a saddle. If I could get one that fit us both it would be great but I don't need one. Honestly, she doesn't need one either. We have one horse and he's my daughter's. Our teacher has plenty of saddles and he doesn't care if we use his.
I'm more interested in finding a light weight saddle that my daughter can lift. Her boy is ~15.2 hands. It's hard to swing a heavy saddle up on a guy who is that big.
In that case I would look at the Fabtron. I've looked at them in my local tack shop and was pretty impressed at the quality for a synthetic. Wintec is also a nice saddle in the same category. Both are very light weight and nice looking. I would look at it in the 15" so that your daughter can grow into it while you are using it also.
It comes down to how much you or your daughter can lift. I have a nice custom leather saddle that only weighs 23 lbs. Its beyond what your budget allows but my point is, they have come a long way in saddle materials. Not all leather saddles weigh in at the 40 lb mark. Have a look around and take your time picking one to buy. You want one that you can lift but it also needs to fit your horse and your daughter. You have saddles you can use in the mean time, shop around.
I do agree with Vida. Depends a lot on brand. My saddle is 25-27 lbs and it's leather (NOT a custom made :) ).
Abetta and WIntec are light saddles, but personally I don't like quality and feel. I know though LOTS of people use Abetta and happy with it.
Kitten val beat me to the Abetta recomendation. They would be in your price range. Although I have never ridden in one I have heard from others that they are a good enough saddle for the money. I wouldn't rope anything off of one but it sounds like you wouldn't be using your saddle excessively hard anyways. Like Vida said, you have the use of saddles...use 'em :wink: Then just take your time and shop around.
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