Saddles Guide Part 3 - A Guide to Buying Second Hand Saddles Online
Buying a top-quality new English leather saddle can represent a very significant expense.
However, it is important to remember the second hand option. A handmade English leather saddle will, quite happily,
last a lifetime if it is properly looked after and so a good quality second hand saddle that has been properly
maintained will offer outstanding value for money.
Buying second hand saddles online is a perfectly sensible option although you will need to be
very aware of what to look for in the photographs of the saddle and, if needs be, ask the seller further questions.
It is also vital always to ensure that you purchase from a seller offering PayPal Protection to cover you if a
dispute arises. Having said that, disputes in these circumstances are very rare and more often than not it is
possible to get a very good idea of the condition of a saddle from the photographs.
Close inspection of the saddle tree will not be possible, of course, and it is important
therefore to seek specific confirmation from the seller that the tree is not broken. When the saddle arrives, it is
important to check the tree and this can be done by placing the saddle nose down and pressing down hard on the
cantle. The tree is intended to be the solid internal skeleton of the saddle and so any movement will indicate that
the tree is broken. In those circumstances, the saddle will need to be returned to the seller.
The leather itself is, obviously, most important and you will be looking to ensure that the
saddle is constructed from top quality English leather rather than a cheap foreign imported leather. Look for thick
leather that it is soft and supple and look out also for cracking stop this is a sign of either cheap thin leather
or leather that has been has not been properly cared for. In addition, curling of the leather is not a good sign.
It will be indicative of poor quality leather or poor care, or perhaps both!
Check the stitching too. This can, of course, be easily repaired although it is indicative of a
second hand saddle's condition.
It is important also to look at the underside of the saddle and if the seller has not provided
photographs then it would be sensible to ask him or her to do so. Here you are looking for signs of an even or
excessive wear or grime that has become ingrained into the leather. Again, this is a sign of a second hand saddle
that has not been looked after. If possible, you will need to ensure that the flocking has not contacted and whilst
it is not always easy to tell this from a photograph, it might be possible to gain some idea of the condition of
the flocking. Equally, flocking can, of course, be replaced by a master Saddler.
Other obvious points to look out for when considering a second hand saddle are, of course,
missing parts. Look out also for and you scratching or scuffing on the surface of the saddle because, again, this
is always indicative of a saddle that has not been properly looked after.
Buying a saddle online offers the opportunity to purchase a top-quality English
leather at a fraction of the retail price, although you may need to get it properly fitted by a Master Saddler once
it has arrived. Certainly, this is a sensible precaution, given that the saddle will have been used on an entirely
In Part 4 of our free guide we will look at saddle fitting.
(c) Second Hand Saddles UK 2012