Amateur Hour

10 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Saddle*

You will be told many things when you first embark on purchasing tack. You just won’t be told these things.

1. You will start out riding in whatever saddle and bridle is assigned to the horse.

All will seem well with the world in your state of blissful obliviousness.

2. You will buy your first horse and realize that you now must acquire a saddle and bridle of your own.

You will probably go to the used saddle rack and buy something all-purpose that fits your budget, which will be miniscule. Still, you will have no idea how complicated things will get.

3. One day you will try a saddle.

Maybe one built especially for the discipline you are riding, such as a dressage saddle. You will ride better than you have ever ridden in your life. Your trainer will stop saying “leg back, leg back” or whatever it is your trainer is constantly correcting in your position. You will buy the saddle you just tried on the spot—it’s only money and, in this moment, it feels worth every penny.

4. You will get a different horse.

No one will tell you that the saddle you bought, with your vacation money, is not going to fit the new horse.

5. You will try to sell your saddle.

It will take several months longer than it should and you will get 30 percent less than you ask for, even though it is a “high end name brand saddle that will hold its value.”

6. You will try and buy a used saddle for the new horse.

In doing so, you’ll discover that only a custom saddle will fit because your legs are too long and your horse has odd shaped shoulders.

7. You will spend a year’s board on not one but two custom saddles.

Because now you are an eventer and you are required to have both a dressage saddle and a jumping saddle.

8. You will change horses again, for reasons outside your control, within two years of this purchase.

Your new horse will be unable to use your new custom saddles.

9. You will cry a little.

And start the process all over again.

10. For the rest of your riding life, you will continue to purchase the finest custom tack available.

Because you are an older rider and need every single advantage you can find to stay in the proper position. And because your poor horse that has to work for a living deserves every comfort. Neither of those things will stop you from shedding a tear or two at the register.

*Based on a true story.

(©Nature of Light Photography/Courtesy of the author.)

About the Author

Laura Strassman works in technology marketing and lives in the Boston suburbs. She has a long and checkered history with horses but currently owns a wonderful TB X Percheron named Fezzik. He is 17.2 hands, so aptly fits his name if you know the reference. Laura enjoys taking photos and creating video both for work and in her free time. Her favorite subjects are food, and of course, horses.