So you're beginning (or maybe have been at it for a while) your quest to find the perfect saddle fit for you and your horse. It can be frustrating, and so many end up even more confused after doing some research than when they first began.
One of the things I find myself advising potential customers to do is to research, but try not to let it overwhelm them. With so much of the information (and misinformation) that can be found with a few keystrokes it is completely understandable how some people log off their computers after a few hours of researching and feel more confused and overwhelmed than when they first logged on.
Many worry so much about the opinions of others, be it their trainer, a friend or fellow boarder that they miss the part about thinking for themselves about what makes sense and resonates with them personally. What you are reading about or hearing from a company representative should make sense to you, and if it doesn't, you should ask until your concerns are assuaged or move on to the next company.
Once you receive the saddle you should absolutely feel free to ask the opinions of others, but don’t forget to focus on your horse and how they are moving and reacting with their new saddle. Some focus on the logistics of the fitting they forget to pay attention to what their horse is trying to tell them.
So what makes a great saddle company/retailer?
- You should have a main contact or two to work with pre-sale that can assist with fitting, and answering as many questions as you have. Phoenix Rising Saddles welcomes questions and find that the most informed buyers are the happiest. If something doesn't make sense, ask more questions. It's important to be an active participant in the buying process and you should feel comfortable with asking questions and expect the company to spend a lot of time with you on the phone and email with you. If they don't seem knowledgeable or willing to really dig in and be specific with answers to your questions in detail in the pre-sale process, you'll probably be disappointed if you should need some help once you receive your saddle.
- You should also never feel rushed. It is a process and the company should expect it to take some time to make an informed decision.
- The company should make themselves available throughout the entire process, including post-sale support and trouble-shooting. The company should be the experts on their products and should have enough experience and familiarity with them to ensure they can assist with trouble-shooting if something is off.
- We've spoken with people who have tried several saddles and been stuck with them. Working with a company that offers a sort of trial or demo is absolutely best. Even with fit forms, measurements, etc. no saddle will fit every horse and you should not have to take an expensive risk on every saddle.
We wish you many happy--and smooth--trails!
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