Getting a well-fitting saddle on a budget... in a rural area.

Hi all. I am kinda in the middle of nowhere with my nearest tack shop being about 40 miles away. They do have consignment saddles in my budget and I’m in touch with them about a fitting, but given that they have sort of limited stock so I just don’t know if I’ll find something that works from them. I hope I will, but there’s the whole wide world of the internet, full of affordable saddles. Is there any way to buy a used saddle online and ensure a good fit? I’d hate to buy something that I think will work and have it become my $600 wasted problem. Does anyone have any good, reputable resources for used saddles that can be tried before they are bought online?

Didn’t Rick’s Heritage Saddlery offer something like that? I think they took your cc info, but didn’t charge your card immediately.

http://www.saddlesource.com/saddle-trials.html

Yes but get yourself a wither tracing from a professional saddle fitter first. If you can’t, google how to do the tracing yourself and do it 3x and average the results (or pick the most accurate one).

You can post the tracing here, and contact Trumbull Mtn and they should definitely be able to find something within your criteria.

BTDT, lived in the middle of nowhere and do not envy you. Good luck!

I’m in a rural area as well, so I know where you’re coming from. I ordered a used saddle from a tack store several hours away. I believe they billed my credit card for shipping and possibly a deposit on the saddle. Luckily it fit, but I had the option to return it and try another one. Shipping isn’t cheap, but it’s still easier than trying to resell a saddle that I’ve already purchased.

I have had extremely good service and fitting from Dutchess Bridle and Saddle in Port Jervis, New York.

We do long distance fitting and this is what we like. (see below). I know others also offer this service. The more accurate your info. the more positive the outcome would be.

We do long distance fitting as do several other fitters. The more accurate the info that you provide, the greater chances of success. Below is what we need and how to email tracings:

Conformation shots, one from the side of the entire horse, square, head up
One from the back, behind the tail on a mounting block looking down on the back, head straight
Our questionnaire that you can download on our site
Wither tracings as explained in our short video and instructions under saddle fitting on our home page.

To email tracings:
Make sure to put a horizontal line across the entire page near the middle with a ruler
Label the inch marks 1-17 across the entire page
Then, fold the paper in half, scan each half
Save as a PDF not as a JPEG
Email as an attachment

I’ve had succcess with Rick’s Heritage also. They charge you for shipping (which is about $40 one way) and only charge for the saddle if you decide to keep it.

A friend had good luck with Horsey Habit in WI.

I borrowed a friend’s saddle that fit my horse perfectly, then found one used on EBay. I only looked at listings that offered returns.

This was a fairly expensive saddle new, & I got it at a bargain price.

[QUOTE=jaybird660;8869261]We do long distance fitting and this is what we like. (see below). I know others also offer this service. The more accurate your info. the more positive the outcome would be.

We do long distance fitting as do several other fitters. The more accurate the info that you provide, the greater chances of success. Below is what we need and how to email tracings:

Conformation shots, one from the side of the entire horse, square, head up
One from the back, behind the tail on a mounting block looking down on the back, head straight
Our questionnaire that you can download on our site
Wither tracings as explained in our short video and instructions under saddle fitting on our home page.

To email tracings:
Make sure to put a horizontal line across the entire page near the middle with a ruler
Label the inch marks 1-17 across the entire page
Then, fold the paper in half, scan each half
Save as a PDF not as a JPEG
Email as an attachment[/QUOTE]

Jay, thanks for the info. This may be the best way to go for me! I am a little anxious about creating a wither tracing on my own, though. Is this something that’s manageable for someone with NO experience? Can you alternatively confirm the fit of a saddle from photos/wither tracing? I do have an older County that I looooove, but for some reason I have convinced myself it won’t fit (probably since the trainer I’m working with is really concerned about saddle fit, rightfully so, and generally anxious about trusting one that hasn’t been fit by a pro).

EDIT: I found your video on this, seems easy enough!

So I’ve had this problem in the past as well. The problem was that with online purchases I never really felt safe or like I had a strong communication channel with the seller.

So a few months ago I started an equestrian only marketplace. We don’t have tons of saddles, but there are definitely some good options on there. We’ve had quite a few people coordinate saddle trials and things have gone smoothly. We let you directly message the seller and there is also feedback and reviews for sellers so you can know who’s the best to work with.

You can check it out here: https://www.tackhunter.com/

If you’re wanting to do a trial, I’d probably steer clear of ebay and facebook unless it’s local. You can find a much better deal online than locally in most cases, simply due to the supply available.

The suggestions are only as good as the info provided. We have a good success rate with the horses but sometimes it seems harder to fit the riders. Sometimes, we hit it right the very first time but sometimes, we need to tweak the suggestion based on photos and rider/trainer comments.

I have to say… 40 miles is not … actually that far. :slight_smile:

More saddle fitters are becoming mobile shops, so there may be one in your region that travels. More and more, I’m seeing situations where maybe you’d have to haul your horse, but you can haul to an inventory of saddles, try them in an arena, and easily take home only the one you need.

Hauling the horse, if you have a trailer, is often going to be easier and cheaper than shipping more than one saddle. It might even be worth it if you had to do an overnight.

The real trick is if there is no concentration of saddles for your discipline anywhere within a half day’s haul.

40 miles isn’t bad. I’m 2390 miles from the nearest tack shop with anything resembling a selection. I have gotten by with the borrowing from a friend method. The horse community around here is pretty close, and you can usually put out a call to various folks about roughly what you need and get a few different types of saddles to try out. Then grab from ebay one that works.

My barn is more than 40 miles from my current home :lol:

HOWEVER - I’d recommend Jay and Trumbull Mountain 100%. She helped me find a great saddle for my tough-to-fit TB a while back and was extremely sensitive to my budget. I was also anxious about doing the tracings myself but it was actually super fun and interesting. Would definitely recommend working with somebody (even via the internet) for your first purchase.

Good luck!

[QUOTE=poltroon;8877466]
The real trick is if there is no concentration of saddles for your discipline anywhere within a half day’s haul.[/QUOTE]

Yep, that there is the trick. As well as the lack of my own trailer.

[QUOTE=ernkinz;8876756] I do have an older County that I looooove, but for some reason I have convinced myself it won’t fit (probably since the trainer I’m working with is really concerned about saddle fit, rightfully so, and generally anxious about trusting one that hasn’t been fit by a pro).
[/QUOTE]

If the trainer is satisfied with how the saddle fits YOU, then let the horse tell you if the saddle fits him.

Is the horse developing topline or maintaining good muscle tone through the back and shoulders?

Does the horse have any soreness through the withers, back or ribs? Does the horse move differently under the rider than untacked on the lunge?

Does the saddle pass basic saddle fitting tests (does not rock, does not bridge, the points lay along the skin and do not dig into the skin. You can find other tests on the net.

I’m not impressed with your trainer for creating that amount of angst because he/she is apparently incapable of determining by the horses behavior and body condition whether the saddle is a problem.

It it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Especially if you are concerned about money.

Read all the threads on COTH about professional saddle fitters screwing up. They are not necessarily the answer. I had an actual saddle fitting problem and I paid over $700 in saddle fitting fees with fitters with great reputations who did their best before I punted and had a trusted master saddle maker measure my horse and make a saddle to fit her.

If you decide that the saddle does not fit, Jay is great. They sent a saddle based on measurements that when we put it on the horse, she audibly sighed and relaxed. SOLD!