View Full Version : Buying a saddle in fair condition...

Dec. 18, 2010, 03:31 AM
Would you buy a saddle that is in fair condition? The billets would need to be replaced and it is scratched on some parts. Could someone knowledgable about dressage saddles help me appraise a saddle to its worth? I can PM you photos.

Dec. 18, 2010, 04:05 AM
My saddle wasn't in fantastic condition when I bought it, but quite useable. I have seen people struggle and struggle finding a saddle which fits. When I got my saddle it fit my horse with just a plain pad and it fit me. That was enough to buy it even though it wasn't pristine. (My horse wasn't fit at the time and was fat - we now use a half pad while he's developing topline, but are getting closer to just a normal quilted pad again.)

I can't help appraise it, but to me a saddle which gives you an even sweat pattern, allows freedom of your horse's shoulder, back, etc., AND fits you and encourages you to sit in the correct position is priceless.

Dec. 18, 2010, 10:09 AM
Billet replacement is a very inexpensive repair, last time I had it done, it was $100. If you ride a lot, even in a new saddle, eventually you'll be replacing billets. Minor scratches, no big deal, just cosmetic, and may not even be noticeable when you are on the saddle. Deep scratches that could compromise the integrity of the saddle - a problem to avoid! If they are on the seat, and deep enough to eventually rip open, seat replacement is very expensive.

I've bought older saddles with cosmetic issues and gotten many years of service out of them. One of my friends is in one of those saddles now - a few scuffs and scrapes, needed new billets, but I think the saddle is about 12 years old and structurally sound. Probably good for another 12 years!

Dec. 18, 2010, 11:18 AM
As long as the saddle has a sound tree and fits me and my horse, I don't worry too much about scratches or billets as those are easy repairs.

How much it's worth depends on a lot of factors -- age, brand, cosmetic flaws, popularity of model, etc.

Do a search on Google for used saddles of that make/model and see what they are selling for. Likewise, try eBay. Then you can compare the saddle you are looking at to those.

I have had a couple of saddles that were quite old but very sound and well made. Picked them up for a song.

Dec. 18, 2010, 09:23 PM
If the saddle tree was sound and it fit or could be made to fit my horse, it would be a serious contender - it would depend ultimately on what my saddle fitter or other consultant and I decided could be useful to me. It might only be a school saddle, but if it could be made safe and comfortable for me and him, sure. That's the best kind of deal.

Dec. 18, 2010, 10:52 PM
I can get a much higher quality saddle if I buy used. If it fits, I don't care what it looks like. But with a saddle in "fair" condition, ask for all the details, fair-is a broad word.

Dec. 20, 2010, 11:35 AM
When was the last time the saddle was reflocked? That can cost quite a bit to replace versus the inexpensive billets.

I've PM'ed you with a decent price example of a used saddle.

Dec. 20, 2010, 12:07 PM
If the saddle is well-made and of a respected name, I'd consider it.

I bought an older Albion that had frayed spots at the top of the flap where the leather bends -- purely cosmetic. It needed reflocking, which cost me $200. The saddle was a screaming deal even after the reflock.

A "fair" saddle, provided it suits you & your horse, with a bit of TLC and rehabbing, can be the perfect purchase. Consider the price of a comparable new saddle, then consider the purchase price and repair costs of a "fair" used one. Most of the time you are money ahead. Discuss with your saddler for estimates and an appraisal of the saddle's condition.