As a horse gal, the sight of tack makes my heart light up, I just want it all! Everything is so pretty and shiny these days, I just can’t stop looking and probably drooling at all the beautiful tack just begging me to take off its shelves.
Then there’s my responsible side that comes in and says “ya hello, you don’t need 4 saddles” and “that breast collar is SO beautiful, but you only wear one at a time anyway, so how many do you want just laying around? Ugh fine, darn sensible side trying to make me stay reasonable with my horse related purchases!
We all know we’ve been guilty of giving in to some of these temptations though. As you purchase the 30th bit off Facebook or add another colourful set to the pile of dirty leg wraps. Oh, we all have been there. Am.I.Right?!
I personally have found tack shopping to be the absolute best and worst thing in my life. I love looking at all the new saddles, new brands and experimenting to figure out exactly what I like and what I don’t like. I’ve been let down too many times with saddles once I’ve bought them. Probably my sensible, responsible side was not loud enough and I made some impulse purchases that I later regretted. Let me tell you, buying a “new” saddle and selling it shortly after is not a smart financial move and I speak purely from experience.
Now, I am happy to say I am a 100% used saddle owner! My reasons are if I don’t like it, you likely won’t have that much invested and I might not lose a lot… Might. But on the contrary, you don’t have to tell me twice that you only get what you pay for. Just put up the money now and get something of quality. You can apply that to a lot of things and I think saddles are definitely one of them. Of course, you pick and choose when and where to cut corners and just go with the cheaper option if it makes sense.
So due to my experience of going through a bunch of saddles and try to figure out what I like, I’m gonna share it with you.
We all know everyone has a preference and I respect whatever you like. This is just what I like and if you don’t agree with me you, well, you’re wrong.. ah, just kidding.
So I started with a circle Y, just some old junk that used that I bought for I think $400 or maybe $700? Either way, nice and cheap and that saddle treated me well for about five years. Then, NBHA Open Worlds happened. The glorious saddle booths everywhere taunting me with there new, show price saddles, it was hard to resist. Lucky for me, I fell in top of the 2D sweepstakes and won a small lump sum of US money, cha-ching. I had full intention of being responsible and saving it. Which probably would have turned into spending it all solely on food and throughout time, would have nothing to show for it.
My mom, the influencer that she is, told me I should probably put that money towards a new saddle! We were in the best place for it! They have tons of saddle options and you’re able to ride them around, fit your horse and figure out what you like. Well, this was just the beginning of my weird saddle trying addiction.
I came across a double J (shout out to Double J, sponsor me please) It was a Lynn McKenzie with the wide tree. It had some fancy shoulder relief and spine relief which was perfect. I was thinking about my horse lot because she literally is built like a tabletop and it’s really hard to find a saddle that is Percheron wide. Me on the other hand, the saddle was debatably half an inch too big but I didn’t know any better and I bought that thing right up. I had it for two years and just recently traded it in.. For a newer, smaller Lynn, look at me go.
I realized as I’m saying this, this story could go on for a while.
I also went through another circle Y with the flex tree and this whole ordeal was my bad. I ordered this bad boy brand new and was told: “oh the flex tree will fit your mare because it’s a flex tree and blah blah blah.” I bought it with confidence, tried it out and slowly my optimism of the saddle started going down the drain. I wasn’t convinced it fit any of my horses, especially not my narrow four-year-old that looks like a two-year-old. So I promptly tried to sell it. Ouch, what a loss. The lesson was learned, don’t buy new unless you really really know it will work for you.
I sold that Circle y while on my USA endeavours. As a Canadian, I was pumped to at least get some American dollars but I was now out of a saddle. I’ve tried many different saddles while working for these trainers and there was one that stuck with me, was a Jeff Smith. Not the obnoxious high cantle and high swell one(just my opinion), it was a Tami Semas and I really was liking it! So when I got the circle y out of my life I proceeded to find a “deal” online for a used Tami. I found one and now I am down to two lovely saddles that I rather enjoy and am content with.. for now of course.
Saddle pads, bits, blankets, the list goes on.. and so does the stories. But don’t worry, if you need to feel justified for making any purchase, I stand behind it all!
Thank you for reading.