This post on the Chronicle of the Horse Forums caught my eye yesterday. You see, I have a small problem with saddles. In fact, I’ll have to take the fifth on answering the question because to admit how many saddles I own would require counting them, and I’ve decided I have too much stress in my life already.
My very first post on this blog, “Goldilocks and the 31 saddles.” In it, I admit to a penchant for buying saddles, but point out that I wasn’t always on the prowl for the next perfect saddle. My first saddle I owne for 15 years. In fact, I still own four of the saddles on that original list. Isn’t four enough? You might ask.
As with all things horses, it depends.
It depends on the horse and it’s fitness. The same saddle doesn’t always fit your horse that well (Zelda’s saddle looked a bit like a party hat perched on her back this spring) but you know that it will fit her again once she’s back in work (it does). What can you do? Well, if you have a saddle with an interchangeable gullet (I do), you can make it a bit wider. If you have a treeless saddle (I do), you can ride in that. Or, you can buy another saddle (I did), because you needed one with a seatbelt to hunt in.
It was actually a huge relief to read the Chronicle thread, because I realized there are others out there like me. People who like riding in a variety of saddles, people who stockpile saddles because they might need them “one day” and people who like riding in a saddle for awhile and then try something else.
I’ve never understood why people dread saddle hunting, or find it difficult to find the “right” one. There are so many great saddles out there now, compared to when I bought my first few. There are saddles for almost every type of rider and every shape of horse, most of them available off the rack.
So perhaps the better question is, how many saddle racks are in your tackroom. Oh, and don’t forget your trailer.
It’s important to remember that saddles are an investment. If you are willing to buy used, often times you can ride in a saddle for awhile and then sell it for at least what you have in it, maybe even more. I’ve been able to buy low, sell high several times, thereby funding my next purchase! In fact recently, I sold two saddle and only bought one to replace them. I’m definitely on the right track.
If you need any more justification, consider this. Some people buy expensive handbags, like the Hermes Birkin bag, which has apparantly taken the world by storm. When I see how much they cost, all I can think of is how much value is in a saddle. Look at all the leather, all the handwork, all the functionality. If a used Birkin bag costs $13,000 isn’t a used saddle a bargain? In fact, it gives you the incentive to buy more than one!