I’m headed to a couple big used tack stores in my area this weekend (as per the recommendation of saddle savvy friends and trainer but I honestly have no idea what I’m doing aside from sitting in them to see what I like/what size I need (I’m split between a 17.5 and 18 inch).
For context, I ride at a hunter/jumper barn on the East Coast and have been riding off and on for many years. I just started leasing my own horse recently and plan to show for the first time this year. None of the saddles at the barn really fit me (most are 17" and smaller) and only a couple fit my lease horse. I’m hoping to find something that fits him and will be a bit versatile in the future (but am not opposed to having to sell it if/when I eventually change leases or buy. My horse is a 16.1 hand OTTB. He has withers but not a shark fin. The saddle I typically ride in is an older Circuit (med tree I believe) and it fits him pretty well. I’ve also ridden him in a Luc Childeric (also med? I think but it belongs to a friend so I’m not sure) that fits him better than the Circuit but despite being comfy is a bit deep for me/throws my seat off. My budget is ~1200. I don’t mind having to bring one on trial but would like to limit swapping a ton if possible.
Any advice about buying a used saddle is appreciated! What to bring with me/expect/look for. If I have an outline of my horse’s withers should I bring that? What brands should I look at (in general/based on the saddles I’ve previously ridden in)? I know that no saddle fits all horses, but are there any you’ve had good experience with on multiple horses? Are interchangeable gullets actually worth anything?