How to Sell Your Used Saddle in 7 Simple Steps

How to Sell Your Used Saddle in 7 Simple Steps

Buyers want to see the details of what they’re considering purchasing, so take lots of photos.

Photo: Photos.com

Selling a used saddle is a lot like online dating: You put yourself out there, hope it’s the right time, and with any luck you and the right person will cross paths. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

And that’s where this analogy ends, because we really don’t have any advice to help with online dating.

We can, however, offer some tips to help with your saddle-selling endeavor. So without further ado, here are seven simple steps to selling a used saddle (if only online dating was that easy!):

  1. Gather your facts: Are you pretty sure that old western saddle is a ladies’ reiner rather than a regular reiner? Do you recall that your dressage saddle is either a 17.5 or 18 inch? Buyers expect accurate information, so find out for sure before you list it for sale. A saddle’s serial number can usually offer specific information, such as the manufacture year, style, and seat and gullet size. Try a Google search of the serial number and brand (some saddle companies keep entire serial number keys on their websites) or contact the company directly.
     
  2. Clean it up: If you’re selling a saddle, give it a deep clean—the kind you’d do before a championship show. Doing so will help your saddle command a higher price and stand out from similar listings. Get out the cotton swabs and clean out the grime from all those creases and stitching, condition the leather, and then polish until it’s spotless. Note any nicks or cracks, and consider repairing and damage before listing. Doing so probably won’t help you fetch a much higher price, but it might make the difference between a successful transaction and a no-sale.
     
  3. Take lots of photos: Buyers want to see the details of what they’re considering purchasing. Take photos of each side, the front and back, and the underside. Also consider photographing the seat and gullet with a ruler or measuring tape to show the accurate seat and gullet size. Include the good stuff, but also photograph any wear or scratches on the saddle. You’d rather have a buyer know what they’re getting up front than return your saddle because they didn’t expect damage you could’ve disclosed. Make sure your photos are well lit and in focus. And try to fill the frame with your photo to eliminate distractions in the image. (If you’re selling via consignment, skip to step 6).
     
  4. Price it fairly: Used-saddle shoppers are usually seeking deals, so be realistic about the price you set for your saddle. Check to see what a new version of your saddle will sell for and use that as a starting point, then take age and wear and tear into consideration. Also check online sales sites to compare similar listings (just keep in mind that those are listing prices, not actual sales prices). In general, used-saddle buyers will seek out well-known brand names over more obscure ones, so you might be able to fetch a higher price from the brands you frequently see advertised and in catalogs. Also keep in mind that different saddle brands vary widely in price and quality. For example, a French-made jumping saddle is going to command a higher price (and probably has held up better) than one mass produced in Asia. But also remember that a high-end saddle, like a luxury car, might have depreciated more quickly than you anticipated. On English saddles, don’t expect to get much more for a saddle sold with fittings, such as stirrup irons and leathers. (If you’re selling on consignment, skip to step 6.)
     
  5. Advertise in the right places: You have several advertising options for a used saddle. The most simple is posting a flyer with saddle photos and your phone number at your local feed store. Also check to see if any of your membership organizations, such as 4-H or Back Country Horsemen, run classified in their newsletters or websites. Craigslist and local horse-related Facebook groups (if they allow sales postings) are another option to reach a target audience. When selling local, buyers might want to trial the saddle for fit. To avoid theft, consider delivering the saddle in person and sticking around for fitting, ask for a copy of the buyer’s drivers’ license, or get payment in full for the saddle with the acknowledgment that you’ll offer a return if the saddle doesn’t fit. Using an online auction site, such as eBay, offers a more secure way to buy and sell and could help avoid payment and trial issues. Just keep in mind that auction sites and online payment services do charge fees. Also remember that if your buyer is out of town, your transaction will involve shipping costs.
     
  6. Make sure your timing is right: Saddles, like horses, sell better at certain times of the year. You might find more success listing your saddle in spring or early summer, when riding and show seasons are gearing up or in full swing. The Holiday-giving season is another good time to sell, because who doesn’t want to find a saddle under the Christmas tree?
     
  7. Consider consignment: If you want to skip the hassle of posting ads, taking photos, and dealing with trials, consignment might offer the easiest solution for selling your saddle. Consignment is a good option for higher-end saddles, because these stores often have good reputations, strong online marketing, and can often demand higher prices (buyers like the convenience of shopping at stores with good inventory and selection). Just keep in mind you’ll pay the shop anywhere from 20-40% for the service.

Take-Home Message

Selling a used saddle takes preparation, honesty, timing, patience, and a little luck. And maybe that’s pretty good advice for online dating, too.

About the Author

Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor

Michelle Anderson serves as The Horse's digital managing editor. In her role, she produces content for our web site and hosts our live events, including Ask the Vet Live. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She's a Washington State University graduate (Go Cougs!) and holds a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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