I've been kind of shopping around for another western saddle. I didn't think it would be all that difficult to find something because I didn't think I was all that fussy. But, it turns out that I am that fussy.
My biggest sticking point seems to be leather type and quality. I want soft, flexible leather. I hate stiff leather and inflexible fenders. Now, I know that I'm not going to find, nor do I want, a western saddle in thin, baby soft leather. But still, so much of what I've seen just feels so thick and stiff.
I'm not looking for a custom saddle and I don't want a heavy-duty working saddle. Just something for trail riding and local showing. Price is flexible - now that I've realized just how picky I am, I know that I'm not likely to find any bargain brands that suit, but still, I'd like to be as frugal as possible. Used is fine, if I can find one that suits, although thus far, I have found used saddles to be mostly ill-kept and over-priced.
Anybody have any suggestions on brands that you have found have softer, more flexible leather? And I do want leather, not synthetic.
I highly, highly recommend buying a USED saddle. Someone else has already done the hard part--breaking it in! Even the highest quality new saddles tend to be a bit stiff, and then fenders haven't been turned yet.
Cowdog has a good selection. I've bought and sold a few through Pards' (btw, not all the used saddles make it online so you'd be best to call). Tack trader always has a lot of nice saddles to choose from. Also, posters on the pleasure horse forum frequently sell high-end equipment.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Unfortunately, the new saddle plan is going on the backburner. I'm getting a new heating/AC system installed today. You all might be able to hear my Visa card (and me) crying later on this afternoon.
For when you can start looking, look used. I have a Champion Turf saddle that I love, and have ridden in a Crates that was very nice- I'd say the leather on mine is a little stiffer than the leather on the crates, but it is a few years older. You can find a nice crates on ebay for not too much. Because I only have enough $$$ and room for one western saddle I ended up getting a show saddle without too much silver, so it works for shows but isnt too flashy for trail riding.
Proudly Owned By Sierra, 2003 APHA Mare
In Loving Memory of Tally, April 15, 1983 - June 2, 2010
Sorry about your unexpected expense.
When you find you can afford a saddle you should check out horsesaddleshop.com. They have a huge selection. I would reccommend the Fabtron Cross Trail. It's light weight, made in the USA, and the leather is soft and substantial. It's also light weight. I found one, very slightly used, on Ebay. It's fairly new so finding a used one might take some patience. If mine doesn't work out it will be for sale!