I am looking for a western saddle just to use for trail riding. I don’t currently own my own horse but I am allowed to ride various horses at a local barn as long as I use my own tack. So I need a versatile saddle that has a chance of fitting several horses. My budget is $300 which is why I am looking at used saddles. I really like barrels saddles because of the deep seat and lighter weight. Any suggestions/advice on what to look for would be great!
A saddle is only as good as it’s fit for you and for the horse. We can’t really advise that online.
The saddle you are looking at on Ebay has very badly cracked leather, the condition of it is poor. I would pass and not buy it. The Herford brand is a decent enough saddle though, just not that particular saddle.
A $300 budget is not going to get you far unless you have a good eye and find some poor, ignorant bloke who doesn’t realize what the saddle they are selling is worth.
In every other case, you get what you pay for.
It is unfortunate for the horses at your local barn that you cannot ride them in tack that is designated for them and known to fit them. Without more experience under your belt and knowledge regarding how saddles fit, you’re not going to be likely to know what to look for. Saddle fitting is all about shaping and contouring and less about measurements and numbers.
Your best bet in your price point is not likely to be a western saddle but a used Wintec close-contact type that can have the gullets swapped out to create different widths.
On that budget, I would try to find an older saddle (one that is 30+ years old) that is a good quality brand that has been taken care of. Something like a Hereford, TexTan, Long Horn, or Circle Y. They were well made back then and so long as the leather has been taken care of, they should continue to last. Usually, they seem to fit most horses (but of course, not all).
I just bought an old Longhorn roping saddle off a local website in my area for (I think) a steal. I needed something for ranch horse and it’s great.
Of course, realize that you might HURT the horse you are riding if the saddle is a poor fit. Yes, even if you are “just trail riding”. Would you like to go for a walk in shoes that do not fit? So understand that whatever you find may or may not fit the horse you are riding, and it needs to (for the sake of the horse).