Over the winter months, I spent some time searching for a new dressage saddle. Years ago, I had purchased a "synthetic leather" brand that just never felt right. Rather than feeling like I was sitting on a horse, I felt like I was sitting on plastic. So, it became my goal to look for a Stubben saddle.
My budget didn't allow for a new Stubben, but eBay was full of used ones ranging from very worn to gently used condition. The price range varied too, from $400 all the way to $1300. Because I had already measured my horses for the correct size, I was certain that what I was looking for was a Stubben Tristan 17.5" dressage saddle with a 32 cm tree.
After a few minutes of looking, it became clear that photographs made it very difficult to determine the condition of a saddle. By the end of the night, I felt comfortable about one in particular and purchased it. At the exact moment I completed the purchase, I worried that I had taken too great a risk.
But all was well. The saddle arrived at the post office in just a few days, and the fit was just what I had hoped for the horses.
Interestingly enough, I called Stubben with the serial number of this particular saddle in hopes of discovering its age. The Stubben representative quickly contacted me with the news that it was over nineteen years old. The previous owner must have taken great care of it, as it looks like its only a few years old.
I took some time last weekend to clean up all the tack in the barn. With country music on the radio and my favorite leather conditioner in hand, it made for a very nice day.
Don't be too leery of purchasing a used saddle online. As long as you do adequate research on what you need and take measurements of your horse(s), the purchase should be a good one.