How many saddles is it reasonable to own?


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.

WintecLite D'Lux
Okay, the WintecLite D’Lux doesn’t have a seatbelt, but it has grippy equisuede, which is the next best thing.

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.

Zelda's saddle is too narrow.
Zelda’s saddle wasn’t fitting the way it should. Even though it was custom fitted to her more svelte self, she’s gotten a bit too wide. See how it’s perched on her back? And it’s pommel high? It has to be pinching her! Also, she’s so round that it’s sliding off to the right.




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.

Hermes Birkin
This pre-owned Birkin bag (another word for used) is selling for $13,000+. Seriously, wouldn’t you rather have a couple of saddles?

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!

5 thoughts on “How many saddles is it reasonable to own?

  1. 13K for an ugly pink purse? what chutzpah. What…my god, how many people could be helped by 13K. Talk about a conspicuous display of wealth…
    As for saddles, well, the most I’ve owned at one time was three, and one of those was the ex husband’s Aussie saddle. Sue had two, a western, which looked tough as hell on Raven but…he was a dressage horse, and her Hulsebos. Now she’s leasing a simply ginormous warmblood…his owner won’t admit it, but he’s at least 18 hands, and nothing Sue has fits him. So I’m not certain what she’s going to do, she’s still not sure if she’s going to continue the lease. When a horse is that big, it gets difficult to fit him.
    My little Arab, Jordan, was almost impossible to fit..from front to rear, he was shaped like a bowling pin. Barrel ribbed and mutton withered and his hips narrowed to nothing. There were times when he could almost wriggle his way out of the saddle. arrgg. so you understand why this person, at least, hated the Great Saddle Search. I finally gave up and rode him bareback and we were both happy.
    As for saddles holding their value, yes…if you buy a good one, and care for it, you won’t lose money. I had an Albion that fit my leased Arab, Trooper, perfectly (after reflocking, as I’d bought it used). when I vacated the lease, I sold it to another Arabian rider who had been searching ‘for years’ for a saddle that fit her gelding, and didn’t kick a bit at the price. I made money on it!

  2. Yes, there are some horses that really are hard to fit. I’m lucky that mostly mine are not (except when Zelda expanded).

    I’ve had reasonable luck with treeless saddles, at least as an interim solution, for the big horses that don’t fit my regular saddles. I’m going to write a review soon of a Sensation Western Sport saddle that I picked up. For me, it allows me to ride without any residual pain in my ankle. I still hurt when I ride in my jumping saddle. I’ll need to break out my dressage saddle and see if that has the same benefits. I think Zelda is less thrilled with it, but I might just need to pad it differently.

  3. I totally get it. When my mother came to visit me and I took her out to the barn to meet the horse we went into the tack room and she looked at the saddles (2) and asked me when I was getting the next one. She knows me. Well I did get another one a few years later that she helped me finance because the horse and saddle not longer matched. I gave the saddle to a young friend who had just bought her first horse. That was a LONG time ago and she still has it and still uses it on her old horse.

    I love my Stubben and even though I’ve used other saddles that Stubben is my very first choice. I’ve had Western saddles as well but find the English more comfortable for trail riding.

  4. Heh heh…. I enjoyed that Chronicle thread AND this post! I have ask, what on earth is that saddle in the big photo at top? Never seen anything like it.

    I myself currently own two saddles, despite having never owned a horse. I’ve ridden since I was five, but I never had my own saddle as a kid. It was bad enough not having a pony/horse but the lack of a saddle was really a pain by my teen years (hey, I’m not blaming my folks – I was lucky I got to ride and show at all, I know). I’m of the age where the must-own saddle then was a Prix de Nations, and on my lucky days I could borrow my trainer’s daughter’s. I pined over them for years in the Miller’s catalog, watching the price go up (to a whole 500-something dollars, haha).

    Fast forward to my mid-20s, when I wasn’t even riding at all. I spectated at a show and spotted a hand-written notice pinned up on a bulletin board: “17” Crosby Prix de Nations, $75. All fittings and girth included.” I fell over myself booking it to a pay phone and calling the poster, despite the fact that even $75 did not exist in my budget. Are you kidding? My dream saddle, finally in my hands? I drove an hour to pick it up and then had to stop in a rest area, set it on a log and try it out, I was so incredibly excited.

    The saddle saw just a few lessons worth of use, and then sat for many years in a place of honor in the living room while I got busy having babies/raising children. When I finally went back to riding I discovered that flat saddles were OUT. And for good reason – my now 30-something butt found that PDN awfully hard! I bought a seat-saver and made do for about 9 months, before I selected my new Dream Saddle. Well, at least the nicest one I could afford. 🙂 It’s a Dover Elite from when they used Austrian leather and I’ve gotten many compliments over the years.

    Now I’m a re-rider once again, in a new discipline (QH Hunter Under Saddle) and I’m still using that saddle. It fits the lesson horse I ride okay, though if I owned him I’d need a wider tree. It still looks great and is comfy for me. I have made the mistake of sitting in some yummy French leather “couches” but even a used one is not in the picture… yet!

    That old PDN is in my closet, cleaned and conditioned. I really should sell it… I know there’s a beginner Hunter rider out there (particularly in my new Wenglish world) who would buy it… but I can’t bring myself to do it. It symbolizes the horse dreams I’ve had since I was a child. Oh, and here’s something funny – I’m still using the girth that came with it. God only knows what brand it is, and it dates to at least 1986, but it’s seemingly indestructible leather and absolutely perfect!

    1. The mystery saddle is an old Kieffer xc monoflap saddle called the Zugspritz Springen Spezial. It had been a demo in a tack store so was in pristine condition even though when I bought it, the saddle was probably 40 years old. I don’t own in any more, but it was a neat piece of tack.

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