Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bargain Hunting

If you ever want to score some great deals on more expensive horsey items, and know what you're looking for, visit an expo a few hours before close on the very last day. Most vendors are willing to part with their used or extra inventory at bargain basement prices just so they don't have to pack it up and take everything back home.

Two weekends ago when I was in Harrisburg, as we were heading out the door late Sunday afternoon, I spied several used western saddles under a big "Sale" sign. All of them were already marked down and the guy running the booth was starting to pack up for the day. I decided to stop in.

I told him my end-of-expo budget and what I was looking for as I eyed up a small ugly leather and canvas saddle on the top rack. It was used but only lightly; the fleece underneath was in like new condition. And although it was obvious that the saddle had sat in storage for awhile and accumulated some dust and mold, all of the leather and connections seemed strong and intact.
Nothing a little elbow grease can't fix
Like new padding
Marked down to $180 was already a good deal, but still over my budget. We haggled a bit and he said I could have it for $125, I countered with $100, and he said actually said yes!

It may not be much to look at but I don't need anything fancy, just functional. As a Big Horn I knew it would be of decent quality. The leather and canvas combo actually made the saddle nice and light (great for a short person with a 16.3 hand horse), the seat was small enough for me, and it had a nice high gullet; all of which fit the bill for what I had been searching for for Charlie. 

When I got home I tried it out and while it's not a perfect fit I think we can make it work, especially for $100. I've been trying several different pads over the course of a few days and though the ThinLine pad I used today worked the best at eliminating the minor front-back rock, it was almost too thick in the front and accentuated a small pinch at his withers (see below). The saddle didn't pinch that way when I used a thinner pad, but it did rock a little more.

You can see from the hair marks that the saddle fits fairly evenly but pinches in a little in the front (right) with this pad
Next time I'll dig out my front riser and see how that works. I'm thinking that will help with both the pinching and the rock. Charlie seemed happy under saddle today so I don't think it was pinching badly, but I'll try to fix that issue anyway to avoid future problems.

Now I need to get this western boy a one-eared headstall and breastplate!


  1. I love good horsey deals! We were at a tack swap, on a day with crappy weather and for reasons I'm not even sure of, we ended up with a western Impact Gel saddle pad for $10! it was used, but still had plenty of life in it.
    How is your boy under western saddle? The last time I rode my OTTB in a western saddle he was much more relaxed and happy as compared to my english saddle.

    1. Charlie loves the western saddle! He is also much more relaxed a lot of times. I think it has something to do with my position and being more back and upright in the western tack but I'm not positive. Either way, I like it :)

  2. He looks so handsome, and I think he knows it too! Good bargain hunting, my dear :)

  3. great deal and what a fancy western pony ;)

  4. What a cute western horse! ;) Great deal!! So far, I've traded up. I spent like $20 on my first saddle and ended up trading until I got my current dream, a saddle that retails for $1,000+. Don't know how I did it, but I did, haha!!