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High end saddles: fair price for used?

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  • High end saddles: fair price for used?

    When it comes to high end saddles that cost $4-5k, how much of their value do they retain?

    I'm curious what a fair price would be for the high end saddles in that range for things that have a couple years of use but are still in excellent condition. I realize that it may vary from brand to brand, but just a rough idea would be great.

    As one example, I found a saddle that would work for my horse but is priced ~$3300 where a new one is $4000. Excellent condition, 2 years old. Tried a new one with the local rep. Used version of the same thing is from an individual not connected with the company. Cost of doing a local tree adjustment/fitting would be another $150. As a reference, demos can usually be had from the local rep for ~$3800.

    Is the $3300 down from $4000 figure in the range of what's typical for the high end saddles? I've seen many that are priced such that I wonder if I'd be better paying another $500 for a new one...

  • #2
    For that price pick up the new saddle which will come with all sorts of fit assistance from the company (also maybe matching stirrup leathers, girth, bridle, boots etc at reduced costs).
    I have seen "used" saddles at this sort of price if they are never ridden in or girthed up once or twice but most sales are ~$1000 below the "new" price - of course, depending on the taxes you may need to pay, that used saddle may work out to a better deal than it looks initially.


    • #3
      A year ago I purchased a demo Amerigo Deep Dressage saddle for $2,800.00. The cost of the saddle brand new was $3,950.00. Believe it or not, the demo saddle was in excellent condition and I am very pleased with it....many people think it's a brand new saddle. I would not hesitate to purchase used if it fits your budget and is the right saddle for you.


      • #4
        Do some market research before you decide. Check the name saddle shops, eBay, and used tack web sites to get a general idea of what people are asking for a saddle just like the one you are considering. That will help you determine whether the used saddle is priced fairly or not. Of course those listed prices are not what people actually SELL the saddle for (I would guess it's usually lower than listed price) but it gives you an idea of the general going rate for a saddle.

        You can always offer lower than the asking price and see if they'll take it if your research tells you that they are asking too much. I got a great deal on a saddle doing exactly that.

        Good luck!


        • #5
          Most of the time, I find that the high end saddles in near-new condition (high end like 3.5-5K range new) can be found anywhere from $1500-3K. You might shop around and see what other people are selling the saddle for.

          You could make an offer on the saddle. You could call someone selling new ones and ask what deals they give....


          • #6
            Another consideration is that you will not pay sales tax buying used from an individual. I've bought two custom saddles from the same rep, didn't get a break on anything (leathers, girth, etc), not even on the second saddle! I love the saddles and the fitter, but business is business.


            • #7
              Originally posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
              I'm curious what a fair price would be for the high end saddles in that range for things that have a couple years of use but are still in excellent condition. I realize that it may vary from brand to brand, but just a rough idea would be great.
              A saddle with 2 years use would not have sold for current retail prices. So rule of thumb, for me, would be half current retail for one in good condition, and knock $ off for damage.
              ... _. ._ .._. .._


              • #8
                *Stands up*
                Hi, I'm PSJ, and I'm a high end frugal saddle addict.
                Here are my rules that feed my addiction.

                1. Any saddle that is considered used in any way, do not pay more than 65% of the best new internet price you can find for the exact same saddle. Even if it was used like 4 times
                2. If it's a consigned saddle, never agree to pay the stickered price, always offer 15% lower.
                3. Don't trust what they say for the age, tree width, or flocking maintenance. Learn to recognize what the slit openings will look/feel like on a saddle that has never been seen by an adjuster. If they slits are still "crunchy" and the saddle is more than 2 years old (verified by calling the company with the serial number stamped on the flap), assume you'll have to spend $150-300 to get the saddle comfortable for your horse.
                4. saddles more than 7 years old with wear (meaning serviceable but no longer pretty) , never pay more than 35% of the lowest new internet price you can find.
                5. When you see an amazing deal, buy it, try it, you can always ebay it and turn a profit.

                By living by these rules I've picked up 2 brand new passier saddles for 1/2 the MSRP, 1 very well loved but in great serviceable shape Passier Nicole with new billets, flocking etc for $200 (that's like 95% off, PS), a Bates Isabelle used maybe 10 times with two different sizes of knee blocks for 71% off lowest new price. A barely used thornhill for 70% off lowest internet price.
                FWIW I was able to sell the thornhill, and one of the passiers years later for more than I paid for them!

                Ebay, and consignment fairs are your friends, that and making friends with your local tack store.

                I'm on the hunt for an antares monoflap 17.5"-18" medium tree for less than $1k... I know if I'm patient, I'll find it
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • Original Poster

                  ^^ Oh Snap! That's awesome!


                  • #10
                    This is, unfortunately, an impossible question. Used saddles are often priced by what the owner will take--either a direct price for a private sale or a commission price through a rep or tack shop that accounts for what the owner wants to have "in the pocket" + the commission. A lot of people would rather wait for the right buyer than price the saddle "fairly."

                    And as you said, it varies a LOT from brand to brand and even model to model. The Passier Grand Gilbert, for example, takes a nose-dive in value as soon as you sit in it. It's a great saddle but they're a dime a dozen on the market and they wear like absolute freaking iron, so who would want your $3000 demo-condition Passier GG when they could buy a nearly identical 10-year-old Passier GG for $1000? But a County Perfection with a 17.5" seat in MW with the skid row panels? It retails at $4800 and will still be worth $3500 even with a few years of use on it. Good ol' supply, demand, and fashion trends at work.

                    Most saddles have a wholesale cost between $1800-$2400. Everything above that is pure markup and gamesmanship. For example, I own an Amerigo Pinerolo CC saddle. It retails at over $5000. A really good deal on a gently ridden demo from a rep might be $3400-$3700. You see sellers who experienced buyer's remorse or a sudden change in their horse's back trying to undercut those demos by selling at, say, $3000-$3400. You see the same saddle with 1-2 years of use on it for $2000-$3000. And the wholesale price on the saddle is $1800, and Amerigo ever so occasionally clears them out at that price when they're discontinuing a model/leather option/bringing in new inventory/etc.

                    So what's the "fair price" on that $5000+ saddle in very gently used condition? Anything from $1800-$4500, depending on how you think about it.

                    In your situation, ask yourself what you're going to get from the new saddle versus the demo saddle, account for sales tax on the new one and the bottom-line price you can negotiate on the used one, and go from there. Personally, in your situation, I would probably buy the used one. Well, really what I'd do is keep shopping, but like the other poster above, I am a frugal saddle shark who doesn't like to pay more than $2000 for even the highest-end tack.
                    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                    • #11
                      it's an art.... like couponing, but more rewarding. My butt has expensive taste and I've never, in 30 years, paid more than $1200 for a saddle.

                      OP, what are you looking for?
                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                      • Original Poster

                        @PSJ: My horse goes really nicely in Schleese saddles. The difference in her gaits is amazing. There is a very noticeable difference with those saddles compared with ones I know don't fit well where she ends up tight and short strided.

                        Even though those saddles are adjustable, I don't want to spend $4500-$5000 for a new one. I've not had any luck finding a used one locally. I'm hoping to find one that is built standard on the shorter tree since my horse is smaller (15:2) and has a shorter back.

                        There are some stubbens that fit which are less expensive, but I only got to ride in the saddle once when the fitter was out. I really liked the fact they can do a lot of customization for not much additional $$$. The problem is I only got to ride in a saddle once when the fitter is out. They don't have demos to leave you with for a week to get in a couple of rides. I did inquire with a local store about this, but for the saddles I was interested in there was no demo. From the few companies I have had out to the barn, I know I have to really ride in the saddle a few times to see if it will work.

                        Edit: other fit challenges are a high wither.


                        • #13
                          One thing to consider in buying used vs. buying new, some companies won't honor the warranty on the tree, or anything else, if the saddle breaks. No big deal if nothing ever happens, but if you're saving $300 and you have to have a new tree put in, or a new seat due to faulty leather, you've just cost yourself more money. Just as an example.

                          Learning that has made me much more frugal in my used-saddle buying. I bought a brand-new Billy Cook for hubby vs. saving the $300 by hoping to find a used one in great condition that would fit. It just made more sense. That said, it was a $1200 saddle new vs. a $5k saddle new.

                          FYI, Schleese will warranty used saddles, for an addition fee, but you need to contact them for the details. I don't remember if you have to buy it used through them or what.


                          • #14
                            There are a ton of used Schleeses out there. don't know anything about what model/size etc., but for example http://www.neda.org/forum/showthread.php?t=5050
                            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                            • #15

                              2 used Schleese saddles in consignment section.
                              Patience pays.


                              • #16
                                Try http://store.skylandssaddlery.com/

                                Ronni found me a practically unused Schleese Link II for significantly less than new. She also sold my 10 yo JES for about $1,000 less than I paid for it. It was worth the commission to me....


                                • #17
                                  Probably also depends on the raarity of the saddle.

                                  I'm kicking myself for selling my wide County Eventer and haven't been able to find a replacement. Lots of MW's and M's though, selling for about half retail
                                  I wasn't always a Smurf
                                  Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                  "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                  The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                  • #18
                                    Try fineusedsaddles.com Patricia is wonderful to work with. I think they have a great trial policy (I have only sold saddles through her) The Link would be a good match fro your horse if she has a short back. Best of luck with your search...saddle shopping is the worst!!



                                    • #19
                                      okay, so here's the deal. I'll walk you through this
                                      go here and add it to your watch list. In the meantime PM the seller and ask whatever the heck you need to know to feel comfortable (I don't like schleese, so you are on your own). Set an alarm on your phone for 15 minutes before auction end. When the time comes, log on, and wait til there's 5 minutes left to place your bid. Place what you are willing to pay as the absolute max the first time and walk away. Know if anyone beats you it'll be by like 50 cents, but you already committed to a max.
                                      chaque pas est fait ensemble


                                      • #20
                                        I bought a used Albion SLK dressage - in excellent condition (confirmed by my local Albion rep who came to check the fit/flocking) - for about 55% less than the cost of a new one on TackTrader.com.