Tips for Buying a Used Saddle That Will Fit Your Horse

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Saddles are expensive purchases, but you can often save money if you can find a used saddle. There are countless used saddles for sale online, but often you won’t have the chance to try the saddle on your horse before you buy it. These tips can help you find a used saddle that will fit.

Try Out Different Saddles

Before you start saddle shopping, try as many different saddles on your horse as possible. Get an idea of what fits – and what doesn’t. You’ll likely find that your horse takes a narrow, medium, or wide tree in multiple different brands, but there’s always some variation between the sizing of different brands of saddles.

As you try out saddles, be sure to pay attention to what fits you, too. Get a sense of what styles you like, what flap length you need, and whether you’re looking for a forward or more standard flap.

When you find something that works, make a note of the manufacturer and model. Note the tree size and the seat size. Often, it’s easiest to try to find that exact saddle available used. It may take some time, but can take a lot of the guesswork out of purchasing a saddle.

Match Up Gullet Widths

When buying an exact model of a particular saddle isn’t possible, many riders resort to comparing the width of a saddle’s gullet to determine if the saddle may fit their horse. To do this, you’ll need a saddle that fits your horse well. Measure the gullet, which is the interior measurement between the two “dots” on the front of the cantle.

When you shop for a saddle, ask the seller for the measure of the gullet of their saddle. It’s particularly important to specify that you’re looking for the interior measurement, and request a photo of the saddle with the ruler in place to verify the measurement’s accuracy.

Saddle fitting doesn’t depend only on the gullet measurement, so this technique will only get you so far. You may also want to compare the shape of the panels to the shape of the panels on a well-fitting saddle. Some riders also ask for a measurement of the width of the channel that goes over the horse’s spine. None of these measurements can determine a perfect fit, but they can alert you to saddle that most likely will not fit your horse.

Opt for Wool Flocked

If you do purchase a used saddle, try to find one which is wool flocked. Wool flocked saddles can be flocked and adjusted by a saddle fitter, so if the saddle is a close fit for your horse, a flocking adjustment may improve the fit even more.

Be sure to ask plenty of questions when looking at used saddles for sale. Good luck with your search!

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