My horse LOVES giving rides to little kids. I am looking for a good small kids saddle, preferably western. Looking on ebay, tack sites. Wonder if any of you have a kids saddle you use now and then, and where you got it-garage sales, hand me downs, etc.
The kids I knew, were doing actual riding in their western saddles, not for pony rides. Saddles were built on horse sized trees, so they fit the biggest ponies, small to med horses very well.
I got a Silver Royal for my son, had a 12" seat. Good quality, fit the horse well, put him in a proper body position. I ended up getting a second set of stirrup leathers that were longer than small child size that came on it. Son was very slender, so the small seat fit until he was almost 14yrs. He put a LOT of miles on that saddle. Very good quality leather, felt better with age. Daughter then rode in it from about age 6yrs to 10 yrs. She was a bigger child at all stages of growth than son, out grew it. It was a dark oil, but I had no problem reselling it, because the GOOD smaller saddles are not easy to locate. I think I bought and sold it for about $500.
My good friend had an old custom made Western saddle that she bought and used with her children. That was an AWESOME saddle, must have cost a lot for the original buyer. It was built on a full QH tree, but seemed to fit almost any equine very well. I think it also was a 12" seat, but very flat in the older style builds, low cantle, not deep seat by the cantle as seen now. Everything made it easy for the kid riding, to have their body and legs in the best position for good equitation. Her child started using it at about 3yrs, and we had to put blocks on the stirrups so she could reach them!. Legs didn't go even down to the skirt!! I know she paid over $400, and that was for a WELL USED, older saddle almost 40 years ago. Saddle has been used by literally hundreds of children since, for lessons, going to shows. My friend is very generous about loaning it out, charging the user a "bring it back cleaned and conditioned" fee for borrowing. Still looks really good. Can't remember the maker, probably made by a small shop way back.
You can put up wanted ads at the Tack stores, spread the word among the 4-H folks about what you want. That was how I located my small saddle, someone knew someone selling, gave me the phone number.
I have seen a lot of the smaller size seat saddles on Ebay. Many are Barrel type saddles, higher cantles, a sport where smaller riders are so common. Maybe a search by seat size, would give you a variety to look at, get an idea of prices they go for. If everything else is equal, go for the lighter color one. Dark saddles are "out" in the show ring, so less valuable or easy to resell later.
We have bought Teskey's for our son..he is on his second one. They retain their value, arent terriably outrageous in price for growing kids..and they arent those cheapie, ready to fall apart "pony saddles" you see for $100..a well made saddle that fits ponies to "big" horses.
After much waiting, getting outbid, evaluating budgets, I got a circle y on ebay for my son. It did take a lot of patience to wait for the right saddle and luck to put the bid in and FINALLY not get outbid.
Just for fun around the farm/trails, we got nice inexpensive youth saddles from the consignment section of our tack shops that deal in English and Western. The more expensive one was a whole $95 and came with a saddle pad. The pad was trash, but the saddle just needed some TLC (been sitting gathering dust for some time)
You'll find them in the sale/trade sections on various forums, on feed store community boards, ebay and of course Craigslist.
Depending on the size of the child, how much riding they really want to do and if you already have a western saddle for yourself, you can also get the buddy/bronco stirrups that hang from the horn.
They only go so short, though. My poor little girl barely could keep her feet in them, but when she made her lead line barrels debut it was a lot easier to use those than change tack each class (I was running the barrels and poles as well, same pony)
Owned by a Paint/TB and an OTTB.
RIP Scoutin' For Trouble ~ 2011 at 10
RIP Tasha's Last Tango ~ 2010 at ~23
RIP In Sha' Allah ~ 2009 too young at 5