I’ll preface this by saying that I loathe saddle shopping. I long for a big-box high-end saddle store, somewhere you could go to sit your butt in all shapes and sizes and brands, and figure out what you actually like before spending half your saddle budget on fittings and shipping costs. Unfortunately, no one’s invented that yet, so here I am.
I need to replace my Antares Spooner, as it’s too wide for my current horse, and a hair too small for me. I bought it nearly-new online, and it’s been great the last few years, until I got a new horse. Although I’ve ridden for over 20 years, I have somehow managed to NEVER work with saddle reps/order custom, so I’m totally clueless as to how that all works. (I did have a County fitting once, but it was very informal and only because the rep rode at my barn lol.) Ideally, I’d like to buy something lightly used, as opposed to ordering brand new. The problem is that I’ve never sat in a CWD. I’ve never sat in a Voltaire. I know I like Devoucoux, but never had one on my horse. And I know I like Antares, but need to explore more tree/flap sizes. So for someone who isn’t quite sure exactly what they’re looking for, where do you begin?
The way I see it, I have two options. One is to schedule fittings with reps from the major brands. But are they still willing to do that if you’re not wanting to order brand new, and just want to buy used? How much do they charge for that? I’m willing to pay obviously, and certainly don’t want to waste any rep’s time. I also don’t want to lock myself into any particular brand at this point, either. Ideally, I would be able to sit in a bunch of different brands and sizes in order to see what works for us, and go from there. Or, I could start buying saddles on trial, but that seems silly considering I really don’t know what we like, and want to try several. Where to begin? Sincerely, Overwhelmed Saddle Shopper