When I first started shopping for my first saddle I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to find saddles that were nice and well built for the tiny budget that I had.
Buying my first english saddle:
I was used to riding in top of the line saddles like CWD, Antares, and Pessoa saddles when I took riding lessons, but I only had a couple hundred dollars to spend when buying my first english saddle so those brands were not an option for me. I looked all over town at consignment tack stores for an english saddle that was used and would be cheeper for me. After weeks of searching I was told that HDR (Henri De Rivel) saddles were inexpensive when new. I did some research and found the HDR Memor-X Close Contact Saddle, a brand new saddle for about $500. I ended up receiving the saddle as a birthday present and I couldn't be happier with this saddle!
The saddle looks nice enough to go into the show ring but is also a saddle I never have to worry about damaging- this saddle is tough as nails! I highly recommend this saddle to first time saddle owners, I have now owned it for two years and am more than happy with it!
Buying my first western saddle:
I only had two days to find and buy an inexpensive western saddle to use on a naughty mare that I was riding. I was lucky enough to go to the local consignment tack store and find an older (and well used) saddle that had no makers mark. It looked very used, but it was perfect for what I needed it for. The most important thing when looking at consignment saddles is to make sure that the tree of the saddle is still solid as a broken tree is awful for your horses back and can result in injuries!
Overall I learned a lot through my saddle shopping experience.
The tips I have for people looking to buying a saddle: