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I've been riding for almost a year now at an equestrian center and just using their things. But as I get better, I would like to own my own saddle in stead of using the lesson ones. I am very interested in barrel racing. If not a barrel racing saddle, what would be a good first timer? Any information is appreciated :)
 

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That all depends on what you want to do. Are you looking to get into pleasure/roping/reining/trail/or barrel racing ? When you decided which you want to get into then look at the type of saddle but stay far away from the cheapey saddles I would look for a good brand used saddle can find em on craigslist.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

She mentioned that she was interested in barrel racing.

A barrel, or a roping, or a pleasure, etc are specific use saddles although many riders use them for different things. A barrel saddle is made to secure the rider better then a roping saddle would since that is necessary to the sport.

The thing I would say is that a saddle needs to fit the horse it will be used for as well as the rider. For that reason, and since you don't own a horse, I would wait until you own one before getting a saddle. You may find one that fits the lesson horses that you ride but does not work for the horse you end up with and you end up having to sell the saddle and looking for another one.

In all cases, as barrelracing said, don't buy a cheap one, it's better to buy a well made used one. Cheap saddles have cheap trees and bad leather. They are not, under any situation, starter saddles (as they are advertised). They have a tendency of hurting a horse and the trees are terrible. Too many riders think that they will work since they will only use the saddle just to learn in. Big mistake and you end up with a poor saddle that no one wants if you try to sell it.
 
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