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Buying A Secondhand Saddle Online - 5 'Must Know' Tips For A Safe Purchase

Buying a secondhand saddle online can be a scary process if it is your first time. You may be wondering...

  • How do I buy online safely?
  • How do I know if it will fit my horse?
  • What if the saddle is damaged?
  • What if the person is a scammer and takes my money and doesn’t send me the saddle?
  • Where do I stand when things go wrong?

With The Saddle Bank’s 5 'must know' tips for buying safely online, you can safeguard yourself and your hard earned money from being lost on a broken saddle, or one that doesn't even exist! Let’s get started...

Tip Number 1 – Ask for clear photographs

Ask the seller for clear photographs of the saddle from all angles. This is really important as poor-quality photos can hide an arrange of marks, damage, and poor flocking. Ask the seller for photos from all sides, including the underside, so that you can see not only the exterior aesthetics, but also the most important part which will make contact with your horse's back; the panels!

Ask for photos of:

  • Front
  • Left side
  • Right side
  • Back
  • Panels underneath
  • Girth straps both sides
  • Seat
  • Close up on any wear/tear/marks/damage
  • Photo of the serial number if it has one

Tip Number 2 – Ask why they are selling it

Make enquiries to the seller as to why they are selling the saddle in question. From time to time people upgrade their saddles and therefore want to sell their old ones, which is great as it means you can obtain a nice secondhand saddle at a great price. However, some people will be selling faulty saddles due to their horse having had an accident in it, such as a fall, or if the saddle fitter has deemed it unfit for purpose. Therefore, it is important to establish why they are selling it.

Find out how long they have had it and confirm what is included in the sale. Does it come with a girth, stirrup leathers, stirrups or is it just the saddle?

Tip Number 3 – Beware of scammers

With the rise of online social media sites such as Facebook there has been a rise in people getting scammed. They use fake names, fake accounts and will send you photos of a saddle they do not own. You put yourself at greater risk of being scammed when posting a ‘wanted’ ad. A scammer will then go and find photos of exactly what you are looking for online and reply to your message. Scammers often price things at a ridiculously low price. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Here is our scammer checklist for checking a Facebook profile:

  • When was their Facebook profile set up? If it was set up this week, it is likely a scam. Most people have been on Facebook now since 2008-2011!
  • How many friends does the profile have? A scammer will have few friends, and will have no genuine interactions on their posts on their wall.
  • How many photos are visible on their profile? Of course people can block all of this off now if you are not friends with them, but a scammer's account can usually be seen a mile off!
  • Ask them to take additional photos of the saddle from different angles. If they are unable to deliver on the photos they probably don’t have the saddle You should also notice if the background is the same on all their photos or if it changes. If it changes, they are probably using photos of numerous saddles.
  • Ask them to take a photograph with your name and date on a piece of paper next to the saddle. This just helps verify that they do have the saddle.
  • Scammers are usually persistent and pushy. If they message you constantly and try and get you to buy then avoid them.
  • Scammers also ask for payment by Bank transfer. This is a huge red flag! Its PayPal Goods and Services or nothing!

Tip Number 4 – Payment

When buying a saddle online from an individual you should always pay by PayPal Goods and Services only. The only exception to this is if you are going to collect the items in person and pay cash upon inspection.

  • Never pay by PayPal Friends and Family. People will often request you do so, but they are not your friends or your family. Therefore, for your protection, you must pay via Goods and Services.
  • Sellers are charged 3.4% plus a 20p transaction fee when you pay by PayPal Goods and Services. This is part of selling online and something the individual seller should accept.
  • By paying using PayPal Goods and Services, you enable yourself some protection if you do find a fault with the saddle or if it is not delivered as described.
  • When paying cash on collection, you have little come back later if you find there is a fault with the saddle that you did not notice upon collection.

Inspecting a saddle in front of the seller can be intense and you may miss things. Therefore, even if you are collecting an item, paying by PayPal Goods and Services gives you a bit more protection.

Tip Number 5 – If still cautious, buy from a reputable company

Finally, if you are still cautious about buying online then you should buy from a reputable company such as The Saddle Bank. There are many companies throughout the UK who offer delivery on saddles which is super convenient. The Saddle Bank also offer 5-day UK trials to enable you to try the saddle on your horse to assess the fit. When buying from a private individual you are taking the risk of it not fitting your horse and being stuck with your money tied up in a saddle you cannot use. This may not be a problem if you can afford to purchase a replacement without having to wait for the non-fitting saddle to sell. However, if funds are tight, it makes much more sense to buy from a company who offer a trial period so you can return the saddle if it doesn’t fit.

Choose a company that offer fast delivery, ideally next working day, as you don’t want to be left waiting for long. You should also look for a company with good reviews as you can trust in your fellow riders. Also investigate the company’s return policy. Will they offer to buy back the saddle if your horse changes shape in 6 months’ time or can they help you resell it?

When buying from The Saddle Bank you get:

  • Saddle inspection report so you know your saddle has been checked and inspected.
  • 6 month warranty on all second hand saddles
  • Manufacturers warranty on all new saddles
  • Guaranteed buy back price within 9 months
  • 5 Day UK Trial
  • FREE UK mainland returns
  • FREE ‘Secrets of Selling your Saddle’ eBook to help you sell your old saddles
  • FAST delivery worldwide
  • 1 hour delivery timeslot for UK mainland clients
  • Tracking information provided for overseas clients
  • Option to accessorise your saddle
  • Friendly customer support team to help you answer any questions and queries

Buying from a company such as The Saddle Bank may cost you a little more than buying from an individual, but the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.

FREE Saddle Fitting Guide

If you would like access to The Saddle Bank’s FREE Saddle Fitting guide and get access to our unmissable step by step checklist to ensure your saddle fits your horse click here.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about how to recognise the signs your saddle does not fit then join the many happy riders in The Saddle Bank academy.

Get instant access to online courses all about horses from the comfort of your home. Learn about saddle fitting, anatomy, conformation plus much more.

Find out more here.

The Saddle Bank
New & Used Saddle Retailer
Published on 12-02-2021
The Saddle Bank is the UK's fastest growing and most trusted online saddle shop. The Saddle Bank provides quality used and new saddles available for trials across the UK. Jade, Director of The Saddle Bank, is passionate about horses and business. Jade loves to provide customers the information and advice they need in order to make the best decisions for their horses' welfare, including lots of information and advice about saddle fit and recognising saddle fit issues. The Saddle Bank also runs an Online Academy to help horse riders and owners learn more about horses, anatomy, conformation, saddle fit and horse management, from the comfort of their homes. More information can be found on The Saddle Bank website.