Potential Issues When Buying a Used Saddle


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Tack, particularly saddles, can be a costly investment. Buying a used saddle can be an excellent way to save yourself some money, but, as in the case of buying used horse tack for sale, you need to be careful. Know what to look for to ensure that the saddle you are buying is sound and safe.

Cracked Leather Stay away from any saddle that has dry, cracked leather. Cracked leather has not been properly cared for, and it is no longer safe for use. Once cracked, leather is prone to breaking. You do not want part of your saddle giving away while you are riding in it.

Broken Trees

Always check any used saddle to make sure that the tree is sound. This can be done by gripping the saddle at the pommel and the cantle and trying to twist one hand away from the other. If the saddle moves and flexes, its tree is not sound. Replacing a saddle tree is a hefty investment; purchasing a used saddle to replace the tree is often not worth the trouble.

Twisted Seat

A twisted seat can occur when a saddle’s tree twists or warps, and will make your horse very uncomfortable by distributing pressure unevenly across his back. Looking down at the saddle from above, check to see that the seat rests evenly and straight along the saddle’s path. Look for warping in the leather on only one side of the seat; this can signify that the saddle is uneven.

Uneven Panels

Pay particular attention to the underside of the saddle. This is the area that will come into contact with your horse’s back. If the panels are uneven or lumpy, they will create sores and pressure points on your horse’s back. This can lead to serious physical issues for your horse, and may even necessitate chiropractic and massage treatments.

If you find that the panels are particularly hard, then depending on the saddle’s construction, they may be able to be reflocked. Saddles with wool flocking can be reflocked by a saddle fitter. Foam panels, though, often get hard and compacted over time. Check the panels carefully to be sure that they will not aggravate your horse’s back or make him uncomfortable.

If you’re unsure of whether a saddle is sound when buying used tack, take the saddle to a reputable saddle repair person or saddler. They can advise you as to the saddle’s integrity and safety.

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