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Searching for a new saddle this season? Tips for success

Spring is finally upon us: riding season one. If you're on the lookout for a new saddle this year, here are some common questions and answers to help you sift through your options with greater confidence.

1. Should I shop differently if this saddle for my horse of a lifetime, a young horse, or a horse I am part-boarding or leasing whom I may ride for a year or two?

Remember that the a saddle that is fitted to the shape of your horse from the tree out is always the best option. Young horses require well-fitted saddles to ensure that they develop positive experiences under tack.

In all cases, it is wise to consider the resale value of any saddle; you are investing in the longevity of your equine partner(s). In general, the greater the quality, the greater the resale value over time. A saddle with wool flocking and an adjustable tree may allow your new saddle to serve you and your horse as he grows, or to move with you to a new equine partner. However, if the overall shape of the saddle's tree, despite adjustability, does not match your new partner, protecting your initial investment with basic care will go a long way to reinvesting in any saddle in your future riding career.

2. How can I tell if my saddle, or one that I'm trying is 'fitted to my horse from the tree out'?

Your saddle fitter is trained to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your saddle or any saddle that you may be considering for purchase. MACLEAN Equestrian Co. will assess your horse's saddle conformation, the saddle(s) in question, your riding goals, check the safety of the saddle(s) under consideration, and make recommendations accordingly. The investment in this pre-purchase assessment saves you money in the long run by helping you to buy with confidence.

3. I would like to try a saddle that is available online, but are there pitfalls to watch for?

Some of the pitfalls of online saddle shopping are the same as for any online shopping: watch for legitimate sites and sellers, etc. In addition, a trial period and opportunity to have your saddle evaluated for fit and safety by your fitter is important if you choose to shop online. This will allow you to evaluate whether the saddle fits you and provide you with time for the pre-purchase check.

As an certified, independent saddle saddle fitter, MACLEAN Equestrian Co can help you to make an informed decision on the purchase of your next new or used saddle.

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