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!|