When you’re looking for a quality western saddle, a used saddle can be a great option. The best saddles will last a lifetime with proper care. So, like luxury cars, a quality used saddle can be more aptly described as previously-owned. Buying used can put a higher quality saddle than you ever imagined you could afford right smack in your price range. Whatever your budget, you will get much more for your money in the used market.
You’ll find more information on used saddles further down this page, but if you’ve come looking for a used saddle, let’s not delay. The real action in the used tack market is online. The Internet brings you the widest selection and nobody has a bigger selection of used saddles than the granddaddy of auction sites, eBay.
We’ve taken it a step further by presenting eBay’s HUGE selection of used saddles in a custom store designed by horse people for horse people. You’ll find it a cinch to find the saddle you’re looking for by easily browsing by saddle type. Finally…the biggest selection organized in a customer friendly way.
How To Choose A Used Western Saddle
The used saddle market is quite robust. Horsemen have many legitimate reasons for selling saddles – poor horse or rider fit, no longer participating in the activity it was intended for, trading in for a new version, own too many, etc. The result is a whole lot of saddles for sale at any one time. And, in that group there are lots of bargains.
Buying used is especially recommended for those with a smaller budget. We don’t believe you can buy a worthwhile new saddle for under $500. There, we’ve said it. While there are plenty of new saddles available in that price range, we think you’d be throwing your money away. But you will find a good selection of quality used saddles in that price range. Many of them are older saddles – 10, 20, or 30 years old – that have seen some miles, but are still in good shape due to solid craftsmanship and materials.
With a larger budget ($750 and up) you’ll find a good selection of top quality used saddles from both custom saddle makers and from high-end manufacturers such as McCall. This is where you can buy a Porsche with a Toyota budget.
You’ll find used western saddles available locally at:
- Saddle Shops – Many carry a small inventory of used saddles
- Used Tack Sales – Sales are common at fairs, community events, fundraisers
- Individuals – Ads posted in newspapers, circulars, or in stores
But, as we mentioned earlier, the real action is online. There are dozens of sites that sell used saddles by individuals or businesses. Just enter the saddle you’re looking for into Google’s search box and you’ll quickly see what’s available.
Inspecting A Used Saddle
Just like with a used car, buying a used saddle requires a careful inspection prior to buying. That’s easier to do with a local purchase than with an online one. However, with detailed photos and a conversation with the seller, you can usually get enough information to evaluate a saddle online.
With both local and online purchases, your ideal would be a trial period where you can closely inspect the saddle and check fit for your horse and yourself. Some sellers will allow this with some restrictions (sheet placed between horse and saddle, a restocking fee if saddle is returned, a very short trial period – 1-3 days, etc.) and some won’t. The more you’re spending the more this is needed, and the more likely it is to be offered.
So, what are you looking for when inspecting a used saddle?
- The most important thing is the saddle tree. Is it still sound? To test, set the saddle on the saddle fork, nose down. Press down hard on the cantle and look for bending which is an indication of a broken tree. A broken tree is a deal breaker. DO NOT purchase a saddle with a broken tree.
- Are all of the parts there? If you’re going to have to buy a bunch of parts (stirrups, stirrup hobbles, saddle strings), the price should be cheaper.
- Check the quality of the leather. Is it thick, soft and supple? Do the saddle jockeys and saddle skirts lie flat or do they curl up? Curling is a sign of either poor quality leather or leather that is used-up.
- What shape is the underside fleece in?
- Check the quality of the stitching, the saddle rigging hardware, the tooling.
While a used saddle will always show some wear, the value of the saddle will depend on its condition. The more wear, the cheaper the price. It’s up to you to determine what’s important to you. Personally, I’d rather ride in an old scuffed up top notch saddle than a pristine low-quality one. It’s the construction, materials, and craftsmanship that makes the difference.