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TinaCarroll

Cheap Saddles And Deals Found

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So, through my different experiences and sometimes even the different threads on forums, I have witnessed a lot of horse people purchase new, non-quality saddles from $100-even $500 bucks. I think a lot of it is just not knowing and I think these cheap saddle makers prey on the uninformed and the newbies. Which, really sucks because these saddles can cause injury/pain to your horse, you and in some cases, can be life threatening.

I think if people were to slow down and wait for good deals on good, quality used saddles, that they and their horse would be so much better off. I want to share with you what I have gotten in recently. I buy to resell (except in one case) and I have always made a handsome profit.

When you go to look at a used saddle, you will need to do some research into identifying any major issues with a saddle- but they are relatively easy to spot. And if you feel uncomfortable, you can always have someone who knows saddles go with you, when shopping for a quality used saddle.

These are rules I live by: 1) Really inspect the saddle. Major issues are pretty easy to spot, but you also need to look at the buckles and other hardware that you will need to replace. 2) Do not be afraid of old. The older saddles tend to often be better made and if the saddle has been taken care of, it will show. 3) Do not be afraid to make an offer. The worst they can say is no and the way the economy is right now, a lot of people need the money.

I purchased this Billy Cook, along with a Mclelland, for a total of $500. I got a Billy Cook AND a cutting Mclelland saddle for $250 A PIECE. They are older but both are in excellent shape. I actually plan on keeping the Mclelland for my own personal use if it fits my horse. (pics of Mclelland will follow later)

Billy Cook

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This Crates roping saddle I picked up for $250 as well.

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Now this saddle, I purchased for $60. Unfortunately, the keeper (tag on left) has since fallen off (unable to identify maker) and it has some cosmetic issues, but the leather is quality leather. Nice and thick. You do not usually find buckstitching on lesser-quality saddles.

saddle1-1.jpg

So, in conclusion, do a little research if you are not already familiar with saddles and you really can find some amazing deals- especially right now!

Edited by Blondyb

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I've been doing just what you're talking about for most of my life (I'm 73). I recently took three saddles that I had less than $400.00 in to a monthly tack dealers' auction. A Circle Y barrel racer; a Simco pleasure saddle and a Big Horn saddle. The same bidder bought all three. He has a tack shop near Shipshewana, Indiana. The saddles fetched $835.00. He'll make a profit on them and that's as it should be.

I'm presently working on a Circle Y show saddle; a roughout Simco barrel racer and I have several saddles already finished that will sell in the near future.

I also have a few saddles that are for collectors: A matched pair of 14" Boyt saddles (Made in Des Moines, Iowa), with matching headstalls and breast collars, Date-marked 7-26-48; a Powder River saddle from Denver Dry Goods, probably from the late forties because it has stirrup leathers to lace (with a large Conway buckle replacing the laces), a headstall and breast collar, plus a pair of matching saddlebags. I got that last saddle from the estate of a man In Toledo who was a doctor, a lawyer, a big game hunter, and an accomplished polo player, and he also owned a ranch in Wyoming. He kept the saddle in a cabinet in the garage of his mansion. It's in beautiful condition. When I bought that saddle I drove away grinning like a second-story jewel thief!

I have a pony saddle made by Bona Allen that I found in a 1959 catalog. It has a Cheyenne roll, tapaderos, Little Wonder tree and is called "The Texas Kid." I found another saddle at a yard sale that at first glance looks like a pony saddle, but I'd almost call it a salesman's sample, becasuse it has a rawhide-covered tree, leather-covered stirrups and wide stirrup leathers to lace.

On my second trip to the dealers' auction, I won a saddle in a drawing they have at the end of the auction. It was a "King Series" saddle. I went to a 4H tack swap meet and flea market later on and wholesaled it to a womaan who had a table there for $100.00, so she could sell it at a profit. Profit is not a dirty word. I say money is what makes the mare trot.

Here's a little story for you: About twenty years ago, I stopped to see a trader friend. I spotted a nice-looking pony saddle in his barn and asked how much he wanted. He replied that he'd sell it for $125.00. I sometimes got a call for a pony saddle, so bought it. It had a maker's mark on the frog between the rear skirt jockeys - Texas Tanning & Mfg. Co., Yoakum Texas. That was the forerunner of the company that became TexTan after WWII.

I got it home and set it on a saddle stand in the kitchen and dusted it off a little so I could give it a treatment with Lexol

leather conditioner. As I sat drinking coffee, my eyes kept going to that saddle. It didn't seem to look like the typical pony saddle; more like a shrunken adult saddle. It had all the things an adult saddle would have - Wide stirrup leathers to lace, leather-bound stirrups, rawhide-covered tree, the whole shebang. A light went on in my head. It was a salesman's sample!

I called a collector friend and told him what I had. He told me to bring it over. He asked how much I wanted for it. I told him $250.00. He counted out the money and added an extra twenty-five for calling him first. He in turn took it to a gallery in the Detroit area that specializes in cowboy and Indian art and artifacts. The owner took one look and offered my friend $450.00 for it. That man took it to a big collectors' auction in Cody, Wyoming, where it fetched $725.00.

If a person keeps his eyes open and some money stuck away to deal with, there are some good deals out there.

Edited by Jack Baumgartner

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What nice stories Jack!

I especially love the older saddles- they really are a piece of art. I will have to get some pics up of the Mclelland. I think you will like it. I mean, it isn't beautiful in that it has much tooling or silver, but it is just so incredibly well made. I now see why new, these saddles currently go from $3,500 up to $8k, sometimes more. Because this is an older cutter, it has a large swell in the seat and it sits so nice. I don't really see the large swells on any new cutters anymore. It is a shame too cause I really like the look!

Jack, I have read in a couple of your threads that you have a "reference." Is this a book? If so, where can I get it? I have been looking for saddle reference books and I can't find any!

As far as profits go, yes, some people tend to think negatively about what I do but I don't think it is. This is what I am good at, I do not defraud anyone. Anytime I make an offer, people can refuse. Since I cannot buy and re-sell animals, I buy and resell inanimate objects LOL!

Do you ever sell on Ebay or do you go strictly to the auctions?

Edited by Blondyb

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What nice stories Jack!

I especially love the older saddles- they really are a piece of art. I will have to get some pics up of the Mclelland. I think you will like it. I mean, it isn't beautiful in that it has much tooling or silver, but it is just so incredibly well made. I now see why new, these saddles currently go from $3,500 up to $8k, sometimes more. Because this is an older cutter, it has a large swell in the seat and it sits so nice. I don't really see the large swells on any new cutters anymore. It is a shame too cause I really like the look!

Jack, I have read in a couple of your threads that you have a "reference." Is this a book? If so, where can I get it? I have been looking for saddle reference books and I can't find any!

As far as profits go, yes, some people tend to think negatively about what I do but I don't think it is. This is what I am good at, I do not defraud anyone. Anytime I make an offer, people can refuse. Since I cannot buy and re-sell animals, I buy and resell inanimate objects LOL!

Do you ever sell on Ebay or do you go strictly to the auctions?

Last thing first: No, I've never sold on Ebay. I recently bought a saddle advertised on Craigslist that a board buddy tipped me off to. It was only a little over 200 miles north of me, so I called the guy and dealt over the phone. I picked that board buddy up on the way and she rode along with me. It was a great day, meeting this woman and then meeting some cousins of hers at a restaurant up that way and having lunch with them.

I also believe that if I make an offer and someone turns it down that I can walk. Something I have done in the past is decide what I'm going to offer, then fan out some hundreds and fifties, however much it is, in my hand and keep it moving while I make the offer. The sight of that money seems to do something to them.

Mostly I sold at auctions or by private treaty to collectors. Most of the horse auctions in this

area have shut down and some of the collectors have quit or retired, so perhaps I'll have to find a new way.

Okay, on to the reference: The book is a paperback 8-1/2' X 11 and about 3/4" thick. The title is

OLD COWBOY SADDLES & SPURS, Identifying The Craftsmen Who Made Them, by Dan and Sebie Hutchins, when they owned Ruxton's Trading Post in Manitou Springs, Colorado. It seems to me they ran an ad in Western Horseman many years ago, asking for people to send them names and information on old saddle makers for a book they planned to compile. The copy I have is the sixth annual edition, copyright 1996. Mine was a gift from a saddle collector.

The people who bought Ruxton's Trading Post, Gretchen and Mike Graham, have put out a 7th edition of the book and have it advertised on line for $36.00. Just google that long title and a page will come up with several things about it. Scroll down to the one that's the 7th edition. They have thousands of entries, with little stories about some of them. It's worth the money! Good Luck!

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Thanks for the reference books! I will need to look into them!

As far as Ebay goes, there really are way too many fees, it is ridiculous. It eats into your profit unfortunately- but there is no denying that you reach a ton of people.

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I finally got some pictures uploaded of the Mclelland I purchased. I have been going back and forth about whether or not to sell it, but I think my mind is made up- I am selling it. As I said, it is not beautiful with tooling and silver, but the quality of this saddle is simply unmatched.

Hope you like the pics! I also picked up a Textan Hereford trail saddle yesterday. Will include those pics as well.

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mclelland6.jpg

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And here is the Tex Tan.

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Edited by Blondyb

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I love keeping my eye out for a deal! I got my first western saddle off of ebay - it was a John Lyons reining saddle that had no bids on it, and the seller had no selling history, so no one with any caution WAS going to bid on it...so I bid. Got it for $500 (brand new they are 1300ish) rode in it for 2 years, and sold it for $800

Bought my dressage saddle off of ebay as well - a Stubben Parzival for $300 - have had offers of double that. Keeping it and showing in it still though.

Most recently bought a Price McLaughlin western saddle off of a local classifieds website. I knew nothing about Price McLaughlin, but it looked like a well made saddle worth more than the asking price, so I went ahead and bought it. The day I bought it someone offered double what I paid, and I think I could probably get more than that for it...but I am going to use it for a while and see how it works for my mare and I.

I'd love to make it a full time hobby - buying and selling tack like that! It's FUN!

The John Lyons Reiner saddle

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The Stubben

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and the Price McLaughlin - so far I've only sat in it on the stand, and I must say it's VERY comfortable!!!! My bf is going to make a matching breastcollar for me, it already has a matching back cinch.

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Edited by Serah Rose

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I have bought and sold a few saddles this way, my favorite thing to buy though is bits and spurs. I recenty bought a pair of crockett renald spurs at a swap for $25.00 with the straps ... My favorite saddle find my grandpa found for me, one of his friends was cleaning out his basement and was selling a saddle for $75 I explained to my grandpa what to look for and he picked it up for me. It ended up being a circle y, this is the only pic i have on my computer at work

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Where do yall go to find saddles like this? There aren't any local horse auctions here so I'm always looking on ebay and its hard for me to buy a saddle without seeing it...

I LOVE the John Lyons reiner and the Crates saddle. I'm desperately seeking a roping saddle.

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I guess I can add the saddle I got.. My Mom bought a 2 horse trailer, and it came with a saddle, I got the saddle in exchange for the fuel i used to go get the trailer for her..

Sears saddle with a ralide tree (actually has Sears stamped on the keeper.)

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This talk about bits remined me that I have to try to market a (I think) Renalde mechanical bit. The part that the headstall connects to is hinged on the cheek shafts. It has rein chains about a foot long.

Wanna hear a good saddle story? Several years ago a friend who worked at a Hoity-Toity, nose-in-the-air English "we have always lived in the castle" stable. He kept telling me to come look at a western saddle the woman had that the previous owner gave her when he was transferred out of the country. He gave her two saddles and two Quarter Horses.

She asked my friend to sell the Quarter horses, as she thought that Quarter Horses were for those things called Cowboys (Perish the word!) Anyway I went over to see this saddle. A little background: I had stopped at a moving sale and wound up with a big pair of Oster-Sunbeam horse clippers, in new condition, for $60.00 with all the extras in the tackle box it came in. I had asked my friend what the maker's name for the saddle was. He said all he could remember was that it was made in Texas.

He told me he'd have the saddle in the back of his truck, under the camper shell, so it would be easy to spot a parking spot. I got there and placed the box with the clippers on my tailgate, then found my friend. He introduced me to her highess and I was complimenting her on the new indoor arena. She cut me off with "Let's get down to brass tacks. I'm trying to get prepared for a schooling show tomorrow!"

On the way to the trucks, as an aside, I asked her if she needed some clippers. She replied, "I already have a pair." I told her they must get a workout on show day. When we got my friend's truck. He pulled out a nice team roper from Ryon's of Fort Worth. I asked her how much she wanted for it. She replied, I was asking $400, but Nick here said I should drop the price and it would sell faster, so I'll take $300. I know a few things about saddles and knew that Ryon's farms out their saddle work to master saddle makers.

I whipped out my billfold and began counting money. She interrupted with, "How will you trade for those clippers?" I replied, "Do you know how much these cost?" She said, "About $225, in the catalog. How will you trade?" I told her I'd trade and give $125 to boot. "Done!" she replied. I pulled out of there grinnng like a second-story man!

When I got home I looked for a maker's mark. It was hidden below where the stirrup bolt goes. It said TROY WEST maker, Center, Texas, Handtooling by Jaye Lynn Gore , Greenville Texas. I subscribe to LeatherCrafters& Saddlers Journal, and have seen saddles by these two guys who have won Best Of Show at Saddlemakers get-togethers.

So, I called Ryon's an had them send me a catalog. I found the saddle in there. It was priced at $3499.00. I showed the catalog to a friend I've done saddle work for. I told her about getting the saddle. She asked how much I planned to ask for it. I told her $1500, but if she wanted it I'd price it to her for $1200, but first I had to clean it up. She bought it this spring and her daughter's mare placed in the Top Ten at some ranch horse competition. Her daughters have beautiful show saddles, but this competition is for ranch horses and bling is not allowed. She told her daughter she could use the saddle she got from Jack!

Edited by Jack Baumgartner

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I'm loving the stories! I've bought and sold several used saddles and always end up doing pretty good. I don't have pics, but I bought a barrel saddle off eBay several years back. The pics the seller had weren't very good, but it was going cheap. After I bid, I realized I had got mixed up and they didn't even have a seat size or a maker listed :duh:. Well, I won it for fairly cheap (I don't remember how much, but less than $200 including shipping). When I received it, it was a 17" Ozark Saddle King. I needed a 14" or 15" seat. It was in really nice shape and surprisingly good quality. So I took good pictures and I sold it on eBay for a lot more than I paid for it. The lady who bought it raved about what a good deal she got.

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I'm loving the stories! I've bought and sold several used saddles and always end up doing pretty good. I don't have pics, but I bought a barrel saddle off eBay several years back. The pics the seller had weren't very good, but it was going cheap. After I bid, I realized I had got mixed up and they didn't even have a seat size or a maker listed :duh:. Well, I won it for fairly cheap (I don't remember how much, but less than $200 including shipping). When I received it, it was a 17" Ozark Saddle King. I needed a 14" or 15" seat. It was in really nice shape and surprisingly good quality. So I took good pictures and I sold it on eBay for a lot more than I paid for it. The lady who bought it raved about what a good deal she got.

I've had a few Saddle King of Texas saddles made by Ozark Leather in Waco, Texas. They made good rigs. I don't think I ever lost money on one. In fact, I sold my last one to a board buddy from Horse City who came to our place and bought it.

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I absolutely LOVE these saddle stories! :D

I've always had a strong affinity for quality tack, though I've had some crap saddles in my life. Years ago, when I first started out breaking horses on my own, I bought a couple of cheap saddles new off of ebay to use. The close contact saddle I got for $90 was just crap and looked it - the leather must have been made of dog hide it was so thin, and the tree was shaped for a llama, not a horse. I used it a few months and then sold it as an 'equestrian decor item' at a garage sale for $40. The other one was a no-name synthetic western saddle that ended up having a catastrophic fail while I was evaluating a horse. A plastic piece on the stirrup broke free while I was loping the mare and poked her in the side. She took off like a freight train and bucked like a rodeo bronc, and while she ended up unharmed, she ended up slamming me into a pipe rail fence. I learned my lesson - even for test rides/evals and colt starting - don't try to "save" your good tack by buying junk. Just get an old saddle that actually fits and is well made, the saddle can take a little rough treatment and live.

I will say that I'm now doing a little saddle and tack dealing as a hobby. It started out with me just selling off saddles that I wasn't using, then became me buying dusty gems at tack swaps and craigslist, and then to selling saddles for friends. Probably my best "flip" was the Crump saddle I bought for $25 from a local consignment shop - it was in perfect condition, just really dusty. A bit of saddle soap and a lot of elbow grease later, I sold it to a gal on ebay for $300, and she left great feedback about what a deal it was. :)

I'm currently selling a beautifully tooled late 50s/early 60s vintage Tex Tan trail saddle for my grandfather. He bought it used in 1969, and rode in it for years. But he's not riding any more, and it doesn't fit any of my horses, so he finally decided to let it go. It had a few professional repairs, and has been cleaned up and oiled, and I recently started putting it up on CL for $375. I've gotten a few nibbles so far, but I'm a bit excited to see what it will sell for, seeing as he bought it for $200 back in the day.

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I recently bought a saddle off CL from a guy 200 miles north of me. We dealt over the phone and I drove up the next day with a board buddy who tipped me off about it. It has a pocket carved into the back of the swell on the left side. It's a rectangle and is covered by a piece of tooled leather.

There's no maker's mark on the saddle, although the tooling is well done and it has a rawhide-covered tree. The pocket could hold a camera or a cell phone, or perhaps other things. A strap goes over the leather cover to hold it in place. Wish I had a camera and knew how to post pictures.

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Count me in as another fan of used saddles. So many of the older saddles are soooo much higher quality than most of today's production saddles. And, since I like a little patina on my saddle, I don't get bothered by a blemish or stain on a used saddle. I think of them as a sign of a life well-lived. I actually prefer a saddle that's been broken in with someone else's hind end.

I've bought and sold quite a few used western saddles on ebay. If you know what you're looking for you can find some great saddles and some great buys. I bought a fab used McCall Lady Wade off ebay a few years ago that I plan on being buried with!

Edited by WSG

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I went to the Horsemen's tack swap, flea market, commercial dealers and general horsemen's hoo-hah at Bowling Green, Ohio last Sunday. Saw so many people I hadn't seen in ages it was like old home week! In the big building I saw a nicely tooled Silver Royal show saddle. I asked the woman how much she was asking. She said, "Make me an offer." I hefted it by the horn and cantleboard. The cantle was loose. I told her I'd give $45.00. She said, "Okay." I've fixed those before.

As the crowd dwindled and people began to pack up their stock, I went over to the smaller building and saw a woman I know (she trains her own Arabian horses for parades, and is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan). As I spoke with her a woman in the next space asked me if I needed a couple of saddles. She had a (obvious to me) Mexican-made saddle and a like-new Cordura saddle. Both had tags asking $125.00. I told her I'd give her $45.00 apiece for them. She looked like I'd kicked her in the guts!

Then I told her I'd up my offer to $50.00 each. I took out a $100 bill and held it between my thumb and forefinger while I visited with folks in that general area. It wasn't long before she told me she'd take the money. I'll take the latter two to the monthly dealers' tack auction next week and perhaps make a little money on them. Just keeping a horse in the race is what's important to me. The Silver Royal saddle will go there later on, when it's 100% again. That's the one that will make some money.

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I've had a few Saddle King of Texas saddles made by Ozark Leather in Waco, Texas. They made good rigs. I don't think I ever lost money on one. In fact, I sold my last one to a board buddy from Horse City who came to our place and bought it.

That would be ME !!

KingSeriesSaddle003.jpg

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