Used Saddle Market?

What’s the used saddle market like currently? I’ve had a he** of a time selling my very nice used (sometimes even new in original packaging) gear and I’m now circling around to selling my saddles. I’m wondering if I should just donate the saddles and cut my losses.

The one saddle is a very nice older dressage saddle priced right where it should be and dirt cheap but no one’s seriously biting. I got one “offer” that would mean after shipping I’d walk away with maybe $75. That just feels like an insult. The other saddle is basically new and I’m selling it for half its actual worth just to move it fast (it’s not THE trendy brand but it’s still popular) and getting nowhere. I almost wonder if I’ve made people too worried by pricing too low - to good to be true.

The thing I felt like I was seeing with the rest of my gear is that the horse world no longer has much of a middle of the road group finances-wise - folks who maybe don’t want to buy that fancy half pad new for $200, but will take it in like new condition for $100. I got a lot of “would you take $30?” No. No, I would not. It took what felt like ages but I did at least sell the majority of the like-new, fancy-brand stuff for prices I could live with (and dirt cheap at that - folks got serious deals). I donated everything I had left to the local rescue but I’ve still got these darn saddles taking up the corner of my living room.

For high end saddles, the market is pretty good and things move quickly as long as they are priced fairly. For mid-to-low quality end saddles, they will sit on the market forever if they’re not priced at a loss or well below their market value.

If you have an older, common or mid/low quality saddle, it can be a real PITA to see it move. I have a few (brand new/never used) 1990s Stubbens that were gifted to me by someone I worked for. Those saddles were worth something in their heyday, but I’ve practically had to beg people to come and take them from me – and neither are objectively bad or even outlived their usefulness… They’re just not en vogue anymore, and people don’t want to pay fair market price when their money can go so much further with a newer model.

How are you trying to sell them? I think some people are skeptical of buying larger items like saddles from a private seller on Facebook or similar because there are a lot of scammers out there. Putting the newer saddle on consignment won’t get you as much money as selling it yourself, but might help it go faster.

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I agree with the consignment idea. You lose a chunk of change by consigning, but you can get a lot more eyes on it, and personally as a buyer, I’m more comfortable buying big dollar items from a reputable consignment shop than from a stranger on facebook or ebay. Especially since a lot of consignment shops will allow trials with free shipping

It’s all about the brand of saddle and how popular it is. I go the consignment route, takes the work and worry out of it, it costs when you factor the consignment fee but if you shop around there are some tack shops that have lower consignment fees then others. You could advertise your saddles at local feed stores and tack shops that have bulletin boards or contact local riding clubs. If they have a low value donating them might be worth while.

I have no advice. Just want to jump on and say I am having the same problem. :frowning_face:

Have a well used (think some color fading), but nice brand saddle, that can’t find a home. AND and cheaper brand that I’ve priced at basically $200 over shipping but it’s in fantastic shape. Very few bites, let alone real interest.

I’m not one to spend thousands on a saddle, but also don’t want to buy junk. Am I alone in the world? It does feel like there isn’t as much of a middle ground anymore for nice, used horse tack. Which feels sad.

SE Michigan here. NO ONE is buying tack here. My good friend has a BigHorn Show saddle for sale for well under it’s worth and she has gotten no hits at all.

What are your definitions of “nice brand” saddles?

IME anything selling for less than 1k once used, is not considered “nice brand” by most. Which is why they sit on the market forever unless listed at well below their value.

Kincade, Collegiate, Circuit, Pessoa, Toulouse, and even Stubbens do not hold their value at all once used and it can be difficult to move them. Stubbens are nice brand saddles but flood the market.

I don’t think this is really a new problem. People who are looking at used saddles are often looking for really deep discounts from the price of new, and they are risk-averse–they fear that if they buy a saddle with a broken tree or whatever they’ll be out the money.

The latter problem is one reason to sell through consigning to a tack shop: the buyer can be assured that the saddle is as represented, or, if it’s not, they usually have some recourse. But even sending the saddle on consignment is no guarantee of a faster sale.

Anyway, 4 years ago or so I was trying to sell a pretty lightly-used and well taken care of County Eventer. I sent it too a shop on consignment and it took forever to sell, and even then I ended up accepting an offer that was below what the saddle was listed for.

A year or two before that I had a used, but in great condition, Stubben Imperator (I think that’s the model name). It was at one tack shop for a year without selling; I sent it to a different tack shop and it sold within two weeks for more than I’d originally paid for it when I’d bought it used. So, there’s a lot of luck involved as well.

Watching this one, because I’m in the same boat (or will be soon) - need to clear out all my old tack and saddles, as it’s time to admit I’ll never ride again. But the last time I sold tack on eBay (2019) it moved SO slowly, some things got zero bids, and only one saddle sold (of the four I had listed).

I’m like you - my saddles are nice (Frank Baines and County) but older and while they’re still in amazing shape, everyone wants something new and fancy. I think the price I hope to realize, vs. the price I will actually realize, is very very far apart.

I’ve tried to consign them a few times, but had no luck.

Most used saddles I’ve bought and sold have been via personal connections. My current saddle came from someone I know who let me have a trial and even let me make payments (which I didn’t even ask for, but took her up on). I know quite a few saddles have changed hands within my barn.

I’ve had the best luck selling tack online by scrolling through the large Facebook used tack groups, looking for people in search of the items that I have, and responding directly to their post. But that is obviously a lot more time consuming than just posting a sale ad and waiting for bites.

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I’d consign it if you don’t want to hassle with trying to sell it. My local consignment shop was selling used saddles so fast they actually sent out a plea for people to bring in more. The owner told me one week they sold 50 saddles

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:hugs: I’m sorry. You will still participate on COTH, right? I have always enjoyed your posts.

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If I can trial a saddle, I’m likely to spend $$-$$$ to buy because I know it fits. If I’m buying online with no trial, I’m likely to spend $-$$ for the same saddle because I have to include the risk that it won’t fit and I’m stuck having to turn around and resell it myself. Also with free (or low cost) trials, I’ll test ride different brands and models, but without a trial I’m sticking with those kinds that I’ve ridden in and liked. I favor older models with low mileage.

Photos matter. And please, a saddle in a dark grimy utility room does not look appealing!! If you don’t have a nice yard, take pics at a park. I’ve also been struck by how people focus on cosmetic issues: a blemish on the seat, scuffs on the cantle. But they don’t show the panels, underside and front, and that’s the part I want to see when buying used.

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And for Christ’s sake, don’t THROW IT ON THE GROUND! You’d think this would be confined to dirt cheap junk saddles, but no - I’ve seen plenty of ads for $1-3k+ saddles with pics taken of the saddle plopped on the ground, usually gravel/dirt/concrete. If that’s how you treat your tack, I am absolutely not going to buy it.

I think the trend towards using a saddle fitter, and the way most of those businesses are structured - even independent fitters usually rep certain brands, and don’t always have vast knowledge of all saddles, especially older ones - is changing the used saddle market.

ETA: another factor is the huge jump in shipping costs. Between that and the guarantees and trials that many consignment shops offer, private seller purchases are less attractive.

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I don’t think this is a new problem. It’s something I have experienced both as a buyer and as a seller over the years

One problem is that, with lower and mid-range saddles, most people, including myself, just aren’t willing to buy used unless it’s really cheap. For example, I looked at a saddle on consignment at my local tack shop several years ago. They wanted $900 for it. Yes, it was in great shape, but I could have bought the same saddle brand new for $1200-1250. If I can afford $900, I can afford $1200, so why buy used?

I recently sold a practically brand new western saddle of a low-mid-range brand (Dakota) and got about 50% of what I paid for it. When I finally had to admit that my butt was never going to fit in a 16" saddle again, I ended up giving away my Stubben Portos (old style) because the warm fuzzies I got from donating it to a young girl from the 4-H club who could never have afforded a saddle that nice were worth a lot more than the small amount of $ I could have gotten for it.

I also think that people have become more reluctant to buy or sell online in individual-to-individual transactions because of all the stories you hear about deals gone wrong. Going the consignment route gives people an actual business to deal with and lends a greater sense of security.

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Oh, of course! But the horses are all getting older - Izzy and Fox are both 28 and Fox had a bout of EPM this spring (which we all know could reoccur) and Izzy has no teeth left, so a colic is always a bad chew away. And Alex is only 16, but is on again, off again lame due to bad hooves which we can’t seem to figure out (they are literally falling apart, and one has a dead section in it from a massive abscess) . . . it’s just time to walk away, I think. Let them live out their lives here, on the farm, as well as I can do for them, and focus on other things.

I’ve stopped trying to sell on FB. Everyone wants more pictures and try to get it for almost nothing, shipping’s a drag, just done dealing with it. I take everything to a local consignment store and they sell it for me. The consignment fee is very reasonable and for two weeks in a row I had a check for $160 waiting for me so that’s $320 in my pocket with little inconvenience.

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Are you in the PNW by chance? My local consignment shop was saying the same thing, they mostly are looking for jumping saddles because those fly out the door when they come in.

I hadn’t considered a consignment shop! We don’t have any “local,” in that I would have to drive 1.5 to 2 hours to drop it off, but it’s amazing how much more time one has when they’re not at the barn 3 hours a day…

There’s one tiny problem - it’s a Prestige saddle and it’s sized as narrow as they go, which means it’s market is very limited and I’m not going to send it off on trial just to hear “it’s too narrow.” I know, you’re going to have to get the fitter out there. I have price checked myself online, and yes, I’m selling it for cheap, like half off what everyone else is asking, but at the very least consignment will get it out of my living room. I have been struggling to get our local representative to reply to my messages even though she was initially very friendly and interested because she might have buyers. I’ve just reached out to the other “local” Prestige representative that seems to also run consignment and I’m going to see if I can consign with them or at least resize it through them.