How to buy a new saddle when you’re married to a non-horse person

They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. When you’re trying to convince a non-horse person that it’s time to invest two months’ rent into some leather wrapped around a ‘tree,’ you do a whole lot of squeaking. “Honey, my saddle is older than I am; it’s time to retire it.” “Babe, the saddle doesn’t fit me–it’s time for me to finally get a saddle that doesn’t swallow me whole.” “But, you don’t understand–the saddle must fit me AND the horse!” And so on… At first, I told him I could probably find a used saddle for under $1K, and this seemed reasonable to him. But, after countless hours on eBay, hundreds of ‘used saddle’ Google searches, and many hours poring over tack stores’ used saddle selections, I realized that was not possible. For starters, I’m not an average sized adult. Add that to the fact that I have one of those high-withered, narrow thoroughbreds, and you have a recipe for a custom-made saddle. For an unmarried, without children, rider, that might mean calling up the closest saddle fitter, forking over your credit card, and working extra hours to pay it off. Trying to convince the non-rider husband this wasn’t some ploy to get my hands on a top-of-the-line County custom saddle, though, was a chore. I tried showing him what a good saddle goes for, but his response was something to the effect of, “you’re crazy.” I tried educating him on why saddles are so expensive, but the only response I got were two glazed over eyeballs staring back at me.
Meanwhile, friends at the barn offered helpful suggestions: “You know, I need my saddle reflocked: I’d be happy to set you up an appointment with my County saddle fitter while she’s here.” (Bit my tongue and graciously declined, though it was insanely tempting) “I love my Laser dressage saddle. I bet they have lots of used saddles; why don’t you call them and see what they have?” (I actually checked their website; even their used jumping saddles were way out of my price range)
I was beginning to lose hope. And it was getting pretty bad–I took Johnny out for a hack in my jumping saddle, and yesterday, he was so back-sore he could barely move. So, this morning I threw down the gauntlet: “Babe, am I wasting my time looking for a new saddle?” “I don’t know.” (Oh, good deflection there, Ryan) I explained to him that my saddle had reached a point where it was actually doing harm to my horse, and that I could not jump him until I got a new saddle. I don’t know if the breaking point was all the nagging over the past few weeks, or if he secretly has a soft spot for Johnny, but he finally gave in. “My credit card is in the truck. Is your car unlocked? I’ll put it in your car for you. But, you better call me before you buy anything!” Wait a minute. Did he just…was that…does that mean… I tried to be cool. “Okay, honey. I probably won’t find a saddle today anyway; I’m really just going to sit on a lot of makes and models to see what fits me.”
So, with my criteria (and Ryan’s credit card) in hand, I’m headed to Atlanta today to try and find the perfect saddle. Despite what Ryan probably believes, I have no desire to break-in a brand-new saddle, so I’m hoping I can find a good quality, used, 16.5-17″, adjustable tree, short-flapped jumping saddle for less than $2000. There now. That doesn’t sound so difficult…


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