How to Buy a Saddle on eBay

I frequent the saddle listings on eBay, looking for those great deals on saddles that I’ve always wanted to try. If yo wait long enough, you can almost guarantee that the saddle you are looking for will show up on eBay, and often at a great price. But not everyone feels comfortable buying on eBay. Here are some tips to help ensure you get one of those great deals.

The biggest issue that you have buying on eBay is that most sales are “final” — this means you need to buy the saddle without trying it.

I bought this Schleese eventing saddle for 1/3 of its original price on eBay.
I bought this Schleese eventing saddle for 1/3 of its original price on eBay.

Buying a saddle from a photo requires a leap of faith and an educated eye. EBay is not the place to buy indiscriminately because there are so many variables involved with buying a saddle that fits you and your horse.


  1. Only buy from sellers with positive feedback. When you are buying a saddle that you’ve seen only in a photo, you need to trust that it’s being accurately presented. I generally buy only from sellers with 100% positive feedback as these are the ones who have a vested interest in keeping their ratings high.
  2. Learn what kinds of saddles suit you and your horse. Does your horse do better with a flat panel or one with a curve? Do you need extra forward flaps? Do you prefer a deep seat or a flat one? Figure this out before you start bidding.
  3. Ride in a the exact same size and model to make sure it’s the right saddle for you and your horse. Often you can borrow a saddle from friends or get one from a consignment shop.
  4. Make sure the photos are of the actual item being sold and that you see enough photos to assess its condition. I like to see photos of the panels (to make sure they are even), the gullet (to make sure it’s wide enough and doesn’t narrow toward the back of the saddle) and the seat.
  5. Ask the seller for measurements. I’ve seen saddles that just didn’t look like the size that was being advertised. Sure enough, when I asked to see a photo of the seat being measured, it was smaller than presented.
  6. Ask if there have been any repairs to the saddle. I once bought a saddle that came with patches on the flaps. They weren’t obvious in the photos and the seller “neglected” to mention them.
  7. Ask specifically if the tree is sound. A saddle with a cracked or broken tree cannot be used and often cannot be fixed.
  8. Pay for insurance if it’s not included. Boxes do go missing. I once returned a saddle to a tack shop and it never arrived. I was mighty glad to have insurance on it.
  9. If you buy a saddle that you aren’t sure is going to work, make sure you don’t over pay. You can often resell on eBay and get your money back on a used saddle, something that is difficult to do if you buy new.

Not everyone feels comfortable buying a saddle from a stranger that they cannot return. I’ve bought and sold close to 15 saddles on eBay and only once did I receive a saddle that was truly misrepresented. I was also able get some lovely saddlels that I would not have been able to afford had I bought them new.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Don’t buy from sellers with negative feedback.
  2. Don’t buy from sellers who don’t show photos of the actual saddle.
  3. Avoid sellers who ask you to pay by Western Union. In fact, eBay now specifies that payment should be made only through Paypal.
  4. Check to see if sellers have a history of selling equestrian equipment or horse related items. If they haven’t ask enough questions to make sure they have the item and that it’s accurately represented.

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