For horse owners, shuffling around old saddles and unused equipment is a fact of life.
Even though horse saddles are one of the most expensive pieces of equestrian equipment, it’s not uncommon for riders to own a few. Riders often change saddles due to issues fitting their horse or after realizing that their saddle sores are actually being caused by a saddle that doesn’t fit their body.
For these reasons and many others, saddles are one of the most common pieces of horse tack that are bought and sold used. In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to sell a used saddle and learn tips from a former tack store owner about how to get the highest sale price for your used horse equipment.
How Much Used Horse Saddles Sell For
Thankfully, used horse saddles keep their value better than most sports equipment. Depending on the brand of the used horse saddle, the age, and how well it has been cared for, a used saddle can sell for anywhere from under $100 to several thousand dollars. The sale price of most used English and Western saddles fall somewhere in between these extremes.
Most used saddles that were well made to start with and have been well cared for sell between $250 and $750.
Provide buyers with many angles so they can see the saddle’s details and assess value.
My Experience Selling Used Saddles
As a tack store owner from 2004 to 2015, I sold a lot of saddles. While each saddle, every single saddle seller, and each and every buyer was a little bit different, there were a few standard rules I learned. And after a decade in the industry, I picked up a few tips to maximize the resale value of used horse tack like saddles.
Keep reading to learn my secrets for getting the best price when selling your used saddle.
5 Options for How to Sell a Used Saddle
Before getting into the nuts and bolts of how to get the best price for your used saddle, let’s talk about the ways you can opt to sell your saddle – some high-tech, some old fashion, and others just plain easy.
Sell to a Saddle Dealer
The easiest way to sell a used horse saddle is to take your saddle to a tack store and ask if they’d like to buy it.
While modern big-box tack stores like State Line Tack, Dover, or Tractor Supply don’t have an interest in used saddles, the majority of locally owned small business tack stores are eager to fill their inventory of used saddles. Saddles are in high demand- since every single horse owner needs one- and tack stores often buy used saddles from individuals.
While most tack stores will make an offer on just about any usable saddle, you should be aware that this is the least profitable way to sell a saddle. If you have little time or patience to deal with the complexities of selling a saddle to another individual and you’d rather just have cash in hand, selling your saddle to a tack store can be a great option – you can even leave the same day with cash in hand or a credit towards a new saddle.
Tack stores, however, know what they’re looking at when it comes to used saddles and, like pawnshops, offer low payouts in exchange for the convenience of walking out with cash the same day.
Selling a Saddle on Consignment
If your local tack store is not interested in purchasing your English or Western saddle (some stores are not interested in tying up that much of their cash flow in an inventory of saddles), you may be able to leave your saddle there on consignment.
With a few signatures on a consignment agreement, your saddle can stay in their shop for customers to examine and purchase. If it sells, you’ll split the sale price with the tack store. Ultimately, you’ll probably end up with a little more cash in hand than selling a used saddle directly to a tack store, but you may not receive payment for a few months.
Selling a Saddle on Local Classifieds
Because saddles are so expensive to ship and difficult to pack well, local sales are often preferred.
Reach local buyers through online classifieds (like Craigslist) or through local horse owner groups (such as regional groups for your breed or riding discipline on Facebook).
Often this is the most profitable way to sell a used horse saddle. While, at face value, you may see higher sale prices for a similar used saddle on eBay, most saddle sellers underestimate the time and expense of packing and shipping a horse saddle, and ultimately make less than they expected from the sale when selling online.) Selling a used western saddle or English saddle on online classifieds can be a hassle since the sale involves arranging to meet potential buyers, which can be inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst.
If you plan to meet someone to show them the saddle in person, be sure to meet in a public space and take a friend with you for peace of mind.
Selling your Horse Saddle at a Tack Swap
Local tack swaps are a great thing for the equestrian community. Buyers can purchase affordable used horse tack, and sellers can get a decent price on used saddles and other equipment without dealing with consignment fees or middlemen. Tack swaps are also great for building community among local horseback riders. When riders only meet for competition, it can foster a type of community in the horse world that’s less-than-friendly, so meeting up a few times a year for a tack swap can be a way to make friends and build community with other local riders.
At a tack swap, despite the name, tack and saddles are not usually actually swapped. Instead, a tack swap is like a large garage sale of horse tack – although bartering may be part of the fun for some participants!
Listing a Used Saddle for Sale Online
Sites like eBay and equestrian-specific national online classifieds can be one of the best ways to get top dollar for a used horse saddle you no longer want.
The problem, as previously discussed, is that packing and shipping a used horse saddle is significantly more expensive than most casual sellers anticipate. A box and packaging alone – even before actual shipping costs- can be $30 or more! While it may be tempting to save money on shipping and use lower quality packing, if the saddle arrives damaged or with a broken tree, you could be forced to refund the buyer’s money and have an unusable saddle. ,
If you choose to sell your saddle online and ship it to the buyer, I recommend acquiring a box, packaging, and getting a final weight on the shipment before you ever click to list the item for sale. Having this information ready in advance means that there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to ship the saddle
HINT: just be sure to not permanently seal the box until the buyer has paid. Even if you’ve taken great measurements and many pictures of the western saddle or English saddle, it’s likely that a potential buyer will have questions that will require you to open the box and examine the saddle- especially for specialty saddles like used reining saddles or dressage saddles.
Shipping a saddle from the Midwest, where my tack store was located, to either coast was often in the range of $70- $120 for standard speed shipping!
How to Get the Best Offer for Your Horse Saddle
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If you want to get a top sale price for your used saddle, you’ll have much better luck if your saddle is clean and appears to be well cared for. Giving your saddle a deep cleaning- or just a little extra grooming before listing it for sale can make a high quality saddle look years newer. High-quality materials like full grain leather and genuine sheepskin often restore beautifully with a little work. Here’s how you should clean your used saddle before selling it:
Clean your Saddle’s Leather
Clean the leather of your saddle using standard practices for tack cleaning, then progress through these additional steps to make your saddle really shine.
Polish Metal Saddle Parts
Use a metal cleaner like “Nevr Dull” (get a tin here at Amazon) to remove tarnish from metal and polish it to a shine. This includes D rings, rivets, decorative silver on parade western saddles, and/or buckles on the billets of English saddles including jumping, and dressage saddles.
Comb and De-Matt Fleece Saddle Lining
If your western saddle has fleece or sheepskin lining the underside, it’s probably soiled and matted from use. Good news: it’s super easy to comb out the crud and restore a fluffy soft liner. Follow my instructions for restoring matted fleece. Five minutes spent combing the sheepskin underside with a sheepskin brush (get one here) can remove dirt and debris from the sheepskin and restore a silky soft fluffy pile.
Check for any Loose Threads
Is there any stitching loose on the saddle? Go over the saddle with a close eye and find any loose stitching or threads sticking out. Check closely for any safety hazards (and take the saddle for repair if you find any). Small popped decorative stitches can be tucked back into the punched hole in the leather or trimmed with a tiny pair of scissors such as those used for needlepoint.
Apply a blackening conditioner to even black leather
Black dyed leather is notorious for discoloring through heavy use, but thankfully there are conditioners that can help restore dark leather without having to resort to redying the leather. Redying can often leave leather blotchy and uneven, but blackening polish (like this one) is designed to gently even the tone of black leather without the mess of dye.
If you are selling a dressage saddle or a black western horse saddle, consider blackening leather conditioner as a final treatment before photographing your saddle or dropping it off for consignment.
Final thoughts on selling used saddles
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to sell a used horse saddle, although all of them have advantages and drawbacks.
At the end of the day, the best way to decide how to sell your used saddle is to determine how quickly you need the saddle sold, how much time you are willing to invest in listing it, whether you want to deal with buyers, and if you’re ok with packing and shipping the saddle yourself. With a little bit of care and an accurate listing, you can easily sell a used horse saddle and use the profits to invest in the new saddle or another expense entirely.
Want more insight into selling horse equipment – or other equine-related business practices? Check out these two books. Both written by experienced ranch and stable owners, these two books contain a wealth of helpful equine information.
STOLEN SADDLE ALERT!
On Thursday, July 17 2008 this saddle was stolen, along with a bumper pull horse trailer, from a parking lot of the Kentucky Horse Park. This saddle had immense sentimental value and we believe it may have been a one a kind western saddle.
If you have seen this saddle, please report to KY Horse Park Police at (859)-509-1450 and/or report sightings via email to firstname.lastname@example.org