I was sitting in the parking lot of the CVS in Waltham with $275 in cash waiting for a woman named Linda who told me she was driving a gray van; I felt a bit foolish.
It’s not the first time that I’ve bought a saddle this way but it does feel slightly illicit.
This particular saddle caught my eye on eBay a few weeks ago. I’ve always like the old style Ainsley Chester and you don’t see all that many around any more (I’ve never thought that the newer models are as nice). It’s a great XC saddle for long-legged riders, made that way before you could buy saddles with special, extra forward flaps.
I had bought one for my TB mare, Dezzi, and had sold it with her more than 5 years ago. I’d considered buying another one from time to time, but didn’t need one and didn’t want to spend too much money on one. However, I recently sold two saddles and made money on both of them, so my tack room seemed a bit empty (okay, I still have more saddles than I need, but not as many as I want).
The first time I saw this saddle, I almost bid on it but the seat has some damage and I decided against it. I was tempted because it was located about 15 minutes from my house so there would be no shipping charges.
Then last week, it was back. It turned out to be a different size than the ad stated and the previous buyer had returned it. I bid on it, but didn’t meet the reserve. However, I’d already been in contact with the seller and she and I worked out a cash deal.
The saddle is actually in very nice shape except for the seat and in person, the damage is not as extensive as the photos depicted. The leather is a bit dry, but nothing that some Passier Lederbalsam won’t fix. The saddle had belonged to Linda’s roommate’s father, so they probably were just glad to get it gone; it wasn’t doing them any good.
I took a spin in it yesterday morning and it seems like it may work out okay for me.