Thursday, April 16, 2009

My $75 saddle

I try really hard to keep my prices affordable, but I can still expect to have this conversation at least a couple times every year.

Suzie Creamcheese: “How much do these saddles cost?”
Jennifer: “My huntseat and dressage saddles are two hundred dollars and-“
Suzie: “TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS?! I could buy a real saddle for TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!”

Ok, maybe it’s just me but isn’t this comparing apples to oranges? I really don’t see how a low end riding saddle compares to a high end scale model. Different markets, different purposes… Just plain different!

It is true, though, that you can buy a real saddle for two hundred dollars or less. In most cases, it won’t be a good saddle, but there are exceptions. I should know. Here is a picture of my saddle.
My husband bought this saddle for $75, fittings included.

He found it at a pawn shop shortly after we’d moved to Denver. He called me at work and asked me if I wanted a saddle. I said no, I did not. Seth is not a horse person. He knows the difference between a Western saddle and an English saddle but that's about it. I had zero confidence in his ability to make an informed decision regarding the merits of a pawn shop saddle. We were pretty broke back then, and I was not interested in blowing our entire grocery budget on a too big, no purpose, broken treed saddle from Pakistan.
Fortunately, he didn’t listen to me. When I got home, the saddle was hanging proudly on the railing of our apartment’s balcony. It was a sixteen and a half inch, close contact Courbette in almost new condition. Against all odds, Seth had bought a near perfect $75 saddle.
I’ve been riding in that saddle for ten years now. It’s a little beat up and the hunter snob in me wishes it had a square cantle. Still, it fits both me and the horses I ride well and I wouldn’t trade it for all the expensive model saddles in the world. Not that you can compare the two. Haha!


  1. Cool find, and what a bargain, too! And all the more precious for the hours in the seat. I can't imagine paying $200 for a new saddle to put on my horse - but the detail you put into your models? You create ART.

  2. Love this story!

  3. Great story! Give Seth a pat on the back :-)

  4. Pricing is such a delicate issue, isn't it? I struggle with it all the time, fair (most of the time it's not even close!) compensation for time spent vs. not pricing out the very people whom I need to help me stay competitive, it's a touchy subject to be sure! For what it's worth, I personally think your work is worth more than you charge, your work rocks my socks. :o)

  5. Seth sounds like a real keeper. I am LOVING reading your blog from start to end. I hope you are well, 10+ years on, and I wonder...does Jennifer keep using that saddle? And on to the next post, thanks again for sharing with the future.

    1. Lol. I *am* still using that saddle. I was sure it was a goner after Rev rolled over it (and me) in 2013, but apparently nothing will ever damage it.