Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buying used horse stuff

I think I forgot to mention that I did buy that used jumping saddle that I found a couple weeks ago.  I tried it out for a few days -- the tack store gives you three days to "check out" a saddle in order to try it on your horse -- and it fit both Panama and me.  In fact, I love it -- the knee rolls have squishy padding instead of the thick, hard padding of my all-purpose saddle, and the seat is comfortable too.  I also feel like I can get my lower leg on Panama's sides much more easily (the other saddle's thick flaps put too much of a gap there), which was one of the main things I was looking for in an upgrade.

But there has been an unexpected benefit, too: My riding has improved dramatically.  There is just something different about the saddle that both helps me to ride better.  For one thing, there is a lot less of it than there is of my all-purpose, so I can't ride as sloppy.  I have to work a little harder to keep my legs still so that they stay where they are supposed to, and although the squishy knee rolls and the knee blocks help me to do that, they also force me to do it by leaving less room for sloppy riding.  The other thing I've noticed is that the seat is not as deep, which actually seems to be helping my upper body position -- I think something about the deeper seat and the way it seemed to roll me forward with every stride was actually encouraging me to lean forward.

I also bought the beautiful cob-size bridle, although this was new (and on sale).  Again, since the owner of the tack store knows me pretty well and knows my issues finding bridles that fit Panama's silly little head, she said I could try it on him and return it if it didn't fit.  Luckily, it did, and is now the first cob size bridle that I have not had to alter (usually to make it even smaller) to make it fit.

I had been wanting to find a good used jumping saddle for Panama for quite some time, but originally I was looking on Craigslist, where you can find them a little cheaper than what my local tack store charges for consignment saddles.  What I found, however, was that people either lived too far away, or they didn't know what size tree or seat their saddle had, or they weren't willing to let you try it out before you bought it (because how do you arrange something like that on Craigslist, unless someone is willing to come to your barn and wait while you try it on and ride?).  So I'm glad I found my saddle through an actual business instead of on Craigslist.

I think the same thing goes for a lot of horse stuff, such as buying used farm equipment.  You can get some good deals on Craigslist, but sometimes it's worth it to spend a little extra and get the insurance of buying through a reliable third party.  We know some people who live out in the country southeast of Denver and keep everything from chickens to horses, and they are constantly getting burned buying stuff on Craigslist and then finding it doesn't work.  That's not to say that you should never use Craigslist, but I think you need to be confident that you can spot a bad deal before you get too involved to back out -- and let's be honest, not everyone can do that!



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