I am slowly making my way back into the horse world after taking a break for five years while I was in college. After having been gone for what feels like ages, I just feel like I have no idea where to even start.
I am starting off riding one of my father's horses for now as I make my way back into it all, so first and foremost any saddle I purchase is going to be trial and error, as it's going to have to fit her. I was riding at an eventing barn before and was on an even tighter budget than I am now, so I was riding in an old Collegiate. I can't even remember which saddle brands (open to new or used) are actually quality for the price I could get them for. I am searching for an All Purpose saddle not really looking to spend more than $700. I will not be showing so I am not concerned with what ever the tack and show trends may be at this time, but would like to get the best quality I can within my budget. I'll just be pleasure riding really and would like to have something that is comfy.
I've been looking into some used Stubbens, but I have heard that many of these (especially the older ones?) are a little harder and have that hard, slippery leather feel...I have also been looking into HDR's which I have received so many mixed reviews about. I am generally confused over which saddle brands are superior to others because when shopping used many can be in the same price range (despite being of different quality...) I have also been looking at a few Crosby AP's, but again, it's been so long since I have been in the horse world that I just can't recall what was popular at my barn at the time. I know Collegiate isn't great quality, but budget friendly. I've heard Wintec's are comfy (which is what I want!) but would like to stay away from Synthetic. To reiterate, this would have to be fitted to the mare I'll be riding for the next while, but it would be helpful to have some brand's in mind to really start my search.
Please drop your opinions on the above mentioned names, any other suggestions, etc. anything helps.