First thing was first. I needed to know what size saddle I needed. At 17″ my western saddle was a bit snug, so I figured I’d need at least an 18″, maybe an 18.5″ if I could find one. Lauren took me to Dover Saddlery, a big tack store in Plaistow, New Hampshire to sit in a few different saddles so we could figure out exactly how big of a seat I needed and what style worked best for me. Out of maybe 80 saddles that Dover had in stock, 5 of them had an 18″ seat, and I sat in all of them. The close contact model that I sat in gave me the most room, but it was still small. We asked if they had a larger seat for me to try, and the biggest they carried was an 18″. “A few companies make a 19″ saddle. We can special order it for you, but it will be final sale” said the clerk. “Our website carries more saddles, and you can return orders for a small restocking fee” he continued. We left empty handed, I was thoroughly embarrassed that the biggest saddle in the store was too small for me, but we knew I needed a 19″ seat. It was a rough start but a start non-the-less.
When I got home I immediately went on Dover’s website, and the store clerk was right. They did have a larger selection of saddles online and there were a few that came in my size…They were nice saddles, but there was one major problem. The prices started at $895.00. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of extra cash laying around, and I was not prepared to charge my life away on a credit card just to buy a saddle. So I was again faced with my major saddle buying issue. I have a big butt and a small budget, and these 2 things are a lethal combination.
I needed a big saddle on a small budget…what was I going to do? My motto in life is, when in doubt, GOOGLE! I quickly found a truck load of online resources to help me on my search. Craigslist* ‘farm and garden’ section had saddle listings, so did websites like ‘horseclicks’*, ‘equinehits’*, ‘equinenow’*, and even Ebay* and Amazon* sell saddles. I called every local tack store in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and even many in Connecticut and New Hampshire. I had ALOT of leads. There are alot of large saddles out there you just have to find them. Despite the fact that I found a lot in my size none were really what I was looking for. I found black leather, synthetic, all purpose, saddle seat, and dressage saddles, ones that were cheaply made, ones that were way over my budget, and everything in between. I had my heart set on something brown leather, close contact, and a decent quality brand name (yes, I have champagne taste despite my small budget). I didn’t care how long I had to look, I was going to find my perfect saddle.
*more information and links to these sites can be found on my ‘Resources’ page