I am looking to buy a new horse and see in some adverts horses are sold with a saddle and bridle, do you think that is a benefit or should it be avoided?
The Society of Master Saddlers replies:
Although at first glance it can appear like a ‘bargain’ to buy a horse with tack it may not always be a positive. Obviously the most important aspect to find out is, if you like the horse enough to want to buy it, does the tack really fit as well as it should. Don’t automatically assume that the saddle fits – although there is no excuse today for using ill-fitting tack, the seller may not have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to correct saddle fitting and they could simply be using a saddle they already had when they bought the horse in the first place.
Unfortunately a buyer caught in this type of situation often tends to be fairly novice and may simply assume the deal they are getting is a good one! There may be situations where the seller blatantly takes advantage of a first-time buyer and in these cases The Society of Master Saddlers would encourage those new to horse ownership to take a more experienced person with them.
As well as making sure the saddle and bridle fit correctly, also take the time to make sure the tack is in good condition.
Over the years there have been many instances where a Society of Master Saddlers, Qualified Saddle Fitter has been to check the saddle for owners of a new horse or pony and come away very disillusioned. It can often be the case that the new owner was thrilled to bits when the seller informed them they were providing the tack as well to help them out.But in many instances the tack can be scratched and very well worn, with even some of the stitching loose and the girth being used too long. Similar instances include stirrup leathers not being a pair and saddle flocking that has become flat, hard and lumpy. Such cases definitely put a different perspective to the saying ’never look a gift horse in the mouth’!
The stories often involve dishonesty and a certain stretching of the truth but problems can also occur even when a seller’s intentions are totally honest. In an ideal situation it is sensible to have all tack, and the fitting, checked by a Society of Master Saddlers’ qualified fitter – but they will obviously expect to charge a fee.
What happens if the saddle and/or the bridle don’t fit – or need substantial repairs? These are extra costs that won’t have been expected, and therefore considered, at the time of the purchase!
Buying a horse or pony ‘complete with tack’ often represents good value and can be hassle-free – but it is a purchase that should never be entered into on the assumption that everything will be alright.
Information about the Society of Master Saddlers can be found on the website: www.mastersaddlers.co.uk or telephone 01449 711642.