How do you navigate saddle trials as a private seller?

TL:DR How do you navigate saddle trials as a private seller?

I have been asked numerous times if I’ll consider allowing a trial for the high end used monoflap jump saddle I have for sale. I don’t really want to allow a trial (the time, shipping, worry, etc.), but I understand why buyers ask and want one. I also really want to sell this saddle.

Have you navigated this? Any suggestions? Words of wisdom or commiseration? Words of caution? I’m all ears!

I allow local trials pretty easily.

If it’s shipping (annoying for sure) I just get full cost of saddle up front and say I will pay it back when it’s shipped back to me in good condition. Buyer is out shipping both ways. Some people may not be interested but whatever.


I have a very simple formula- Do I know you? then yes, you can have a trial. Are you a stranger? then no, you can buy it outright and resell if it doesn’t work for you

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This is definitely how I had wanted to approach it. Now I’m worried I’m cutting my nose off despite my face!

I would not ship, and I would only do a trial to someone I knew. Even then I’d want to hold a check for the full price

It’s to spite your face not despite you face, I believe. :grinning:

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As a private seller I would never allow a trial.

The companies I’ve seen that offer trials are more along the lines of, buy the saddle and then you have 7-14 days to return it for a refund if you aren’t satisfied with it.


I have both sold and purchased a saddle through private sales just recently with trials on both. Both went incredibly smooth with no issues whatsoever. The one I sold was clear across the country to someone in California. The one I purchased was just a couple states away in Texas. Both transactions occurred back to back. Did I get lucky? Perhaps, but if you spent any time on social media and talking to strangers, you can kinda get a feel for people. I advertise on FB marketplace where I can check out their profiles. The horse world is kinda small so I even found a mutual friend/trusted trainer between us.

Both myself and the other seller offered a 7 day trial with full payment including shipping up front through PayPal only. The buyer I sold to asked to speak on the phone, and I was totally open for that. She explained the horse she was buying for and I was as honest and upfront as possible. Saddles are expensive and finding a good deal locally on exactly what you need is not the easiest thing. She sent the money plus shipping. I mailed the saddle the next morning and provided tracking info. PayPal holds the money until you enter tracking info and they can confirm that it has been delivered. 24hrs after delivery, they released the funds, but I didn’t touch them till I knew the sale was for sure. She contacted me 5 days into the trial, let me know she was keeping it, and thanked me for an easy transaction. Once she confirmed, I PayPal’d the seller of the saddle I wanted and we did the exact same process. 4 days in, I let her know I was keeping it.

This was my first time doing the trials, but I got the advice from a friend who’d done the same and sold 2 saddles offering trials.