Buying first saddle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Buying first saddle

Hello all, first post here.

I did a quick search and found a lot of enlightening stuff, but didn't find the right thread, so here's a new one.

I'm looking for a saddle for our new mare quarter horse. I don't need anything showy or fancy, just practical and comfortable. If possible, I want something both my wife and I can ride comfortably, but I don't know how likely that is since I have about 60 pounds and 8" on her.

Is it possible to find a decent new western saddle for under $500?

I'm aware that I'll have to take measurements of the mare and stuff, but for now, need some direction on brand names and/or retailers. We are first-time horse owners, so we don't know much at all. Also, where we live there aren't a whole lot of horses (or people, for that matter), so finding the right size/shape used saddle could prove difficult.

Please advise, and thanks for your time!
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post #2 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 02:20 PM
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Depending on how much space each of you needs, you may be able to find a saddle that will fit both of you comfortably. Though you may have to compromise and settle for something with a seat a bit big for her and/or a bit snug for you.

Unfortunately, the odds of finding a decent saddle that is new for less than $500 is highly unlikely. If that is your budget, you'd be better off searching for a good used brand name saddle (Billy Cook, TexTan, Circle Y, Courts, etc). Though it's risky and you have to keep a close watch for stuff that is damaged or made poorly, you can find really good deals on Ebay.

If your mare ends up being the correct size (needs full quarter horse bars and a 7" gullet), then you might look into Corriente if you want something new. They are just a little bit out of your price range, but they are customizable and they make all different styles. My Dad and brother each have 1 and I have 2 and we all love them.

This one is older and cost me $687




And this one I just got a couple of weeks ago and it cost me $710




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post #3 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check out Corriente saddles. I'm a little hesitant to try EBay at this time, as I've been stung by that before.

Is full leather pretty much the norm, or are synthetics popular and readily available?
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post #4 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 02:59 PM
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Synthetics are relatively easy to find and there are some people who swear by them, but I don't much care for them personally. There are others on here who can tell you the good brands and which brands to avoid. Feel free to post your potential saddles and ask for advice on what to avoid and which brands are good. I know a fair amount about a few brands, but there are others with a much wider knowledge base than I've got. Southern Trails is a mod here and he's a saddle maker as well. I trust his judgement regarding quality of saddles.
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post #5 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 04:17 PM
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Do you have friends that ride? Any tack/feed stores with saddles in stock? Lots of feed stores around here often sell consignment saddles. I'd recommend the two of you sit in as many saddles as you can- preferably on the horse, but if that's not possible then sitting in them on a saddle rack can give you a pretty good idea. You may find that you like a more snug seat and she's fine in a bigger one. That'd be great. On the other hand, she may like a tighter fit and you like wiggle room. If that's the case then getting one saddle is probably out of the question

With your price range I would definitely look at a high quality used saddle instead of new. I recently sold an older, very nice Tex Tan for well under $200 and a Guffey barrel saddle in good condition for $200. If you do your homework and look in the right places then you could theoretically find a saddle for both of you and stick fairly close to your price range.
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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DuckDodgers - the used path sounds best. We have a couple friends with horses, but don't have a trailer to haul our horse around to try out saddles. No feed stores or anything with saddles within... probably 150 miles.

nice used saddle for under 200? That would be ideal. So do I just need the seat measurement and the "gullet" width?

online measurement calcs say I need a 17" seat, possibly 16 1/2. I'm 6'-0" and 190 lb, with kind of a big butt I guess.

As far as Western Saddles, what are the differences between trail/pleasure saddles and barrel saddles? Can I use one type for the other? Judging by names alone, we'd probably want a "pleasure" saddle, but if I someday want to race barrels, would that saddle work?

Thanks for the responses guys!
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post #7 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 04:48 PM
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If you're just looking for a fun saddle for basic w/t/c pleasure riding then go with whatever you're comfy in. By pleasure riding I mean riding for pleasure, not show western pleasure riding. At the "just for fun" level you'll be fine hacking out on trails in a barrel saddle or having fun on barrels in a pleasure saddle. If you wanted to actually become serious about it and compete then you'd likely want to buy a saddle for the discipline of your choice.

This is a pretty good guide to the differences between different saddle types:
Types of Saddles - Western Saddles

Do remember that while you CAN find a good used saddle in the $200 range, you need to look hard and you may need to look for awhile. I'd recommend running an online search on any used brand you are considering. There is LOTS of crud out there, and some sellers can do a good job making that crud sound appealing. When in doubt I'd encourage you to make a thread about potential brands if you can't find info. You don't want something that will fall apart on you or sore your horse's back.

Is there any way that you could go visit your friends to try their saddles on a rack or their horses? Or can you invite them over for dinner/a ride and try them out at your home?
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post #8 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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I should be able to try some saddles of friends'. I test-rode the made at the ranch on a Fabtron saddle before bringing her home. Saddle felt great but I don't know what size or type it was. Ranch did t have one for our horse - that saddle belonged to another.

How are Fabtron saddles?
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 06:31 PM
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Sometimes, if you find a saddle on Craigslist, you can talk to the seller and see if you can take it to try on your horse on a trial basis. Basically, you write them a check for the amount of the saddle and then they hold it either until you return the saddle (at which time they give you back your check) or you contact them and let them know that the saddle is going to work and they can cash the check. Heck, I've had people do it with cash before.

http://i42.tinypic.com/140y8lj.png
Do not tell me I can't...because I will show you that I can.
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-19-2014, 08:35 PM
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Even check the classifieds oh this forum.
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