Buying a second-hand saddle can be a cheaper option, but as the saying goes ‘buyer beware’ and to ensure you really are bagging a bargain that’s safe for your horse, run through our list of things to check.
1. How does it look
Assess the overall appearance of the saddle, if it’s been well looked after the leather should feel soft and supple.
2. Is it worn?
Check for areas of wear. Girth straps are the most likely place to find cracked or worn leather/material.
3. What’s the damage?
Look for any scuffs, scratches or damage to the pommel and cantle. These could indicate the saddle has been dropped or damaged.
4. Check the tree
Check the tree isn’t broken by holding the saddle lengthwise with the pommel against your thigh. Grip the cantle and gently pull it towards you. A sound tree will flex a little, but if there’s an excessive amount of give, it may mean the tree’s damaged and shouldn’t be used.
5. Has the saddle had work done?
If you see signs of repair, ask the seller why and when this was done.
6. Look out for rot
Make sure to check for signs of loose or rotting stitching on your girth straps and d-rings.