Guide to Purchasing a Used Imus 4-Beat® Gaited Saddle
We are often contacted by those who are looking to purchase a used Imus 4-Beat® Gaited Saddle. Generally we’re asked about the tree and seat size and also by whom it was made. The 4-Beat Saddles have been hand-made since 2003 by a few different individuals and companies, which we’ll outline below.
We are not able to authenticate any 4-Beat saddle prior to the ones we have built, since we have come across a few counterfeits over the years, but chances are the used 4-Beat you are looking at is authentic. Below, we’ll provide as much information as we can to help you make an informed decision.
No matter the year or by whom it was made you can expect many years of use out of any 4-Beat Saddle. The overall quality has varied over the years, but never fell below ‘very good’. There are just a few things to keep an eye out for during your hunt.
Any horse that is comfortably fit in our saddle, new or used, is a win in our book. Please keep in mind if you purchase new, you will benefit from our pre and post-sale fitting support and troubleshooting, and our no-strings-attached 14 DayTrial. We wish you the best in finding the perfect saddle for you and your horse!
Amish Made Imus 4-Beat®: 2003-2007—Original Cost $1299--Hand built by a few different Amish craftsmen. The quality was excellent on most of these saddles. The front of the seat was not secured as tightly as later 4-Beat Saddle and you can lift the front with your fingers. This did not negatively affect the seat or the longevity of the saddle. Stamp indicating tree and seat size is located under the rider’s left seat jockey, right by the front rigging ring. The 3 digit number does not indicate sizing. The number below that 3 digit number should be either 15, 16, or 17, indicating seat size. If there is a “W” stamped, that indicates it is a wide tree. Sometimes they stamped an “S” for the standard tree 4-Beats, but usually not. No letter after the seat size should designate the saddle as a standard tree. Block type stamps were used. Standard cantle only was available (no Pencil or Cheyenne Roll Option)
Circle Y Made Imus 4-Beat®: 2007—Original Cost $1595--Probably what we consider to be the lesser quality of all the 4-Beat Saddles, the leather used was full grain but not the top quality of the Wickett and Craig leather always used in the saddle. Stitching was not as tight and pulled together in some areas around the seat. The seats in these saddles had a higher rise than any other, aside from the very early Amish-made 4-Beats. One thing you want to make sure of is that the saddle has a leather suspended ground seat. You can look on the underside of the saddle, along the open channel and should be able to see and feel leather as the supporting structure of the rider’s seat. This helps distribute the rider’s weight and allows the tree to flex evenly. Some Circle Y 4-Beat Saddles were made without this important feature. Stamped with a number, usually under the rider’s left seat jockey and beginning with a 2007. We do not have any records and their numbering system gives no indication of seat or tree size. These saddles all had the Pencil roll on the cantle with white thread used to sew it.
Big Horn Made Imus 4-Beat®: 2009--Original Cost $1599--When National Bridle Shop first began solely distributing the Imus line of products, they contracted Big Horn to make the 4-Beat Saddles. Big Horn went out of business shortly thereafter, and did not make too many saddles (although the number is unknown). Quality of these saddles was very good. The only stamping we’ve been able to find is on the latigo keeper and is a 4 digit number beginning with a 4 but there is no indication of seat or tree size that we can help determine. Supracor was always built under the bars of the tree but was optional in the seat. Supracor has a crinkly feel to it, so you can tell if it has Supracor in it as opposed to a smooth foam type padding. Pencil Roll option was available.
CCi (Colorado Correctional Industries) Made Imus 4-Beat® for National Bridle Shop: 2010-2011— Original Cost $1599--National Bridle Shop contracted with CCi to make the 4-Beat Saddle. CCi has an award-winning inmate trade program where the inmates learn a trade while making at least state minimum wage that goes to support their families. Theirs are the only ones we have seen that have been up to par with or surpass the Amish saddles. Although the NBS 4-Beat Saddles were great, there were inconsistencies with quality. Mostly, we believe, due to the saddle shop learning to build a new type of saddle where there was a learning curve. There is one serial number stamped in one of three places: under the pommel, under the rider’s left seat jockey, or sometimes underneath the saddle in back, below the crupper ring. The number is a 5 digit number beginning with a 2. We can help determine the year and specs of these saddles. Sometimes there was a seat and tree size stamped below the serial number. Supracor was always built under the bars of the tree but was optional in the seat. Supracor has a crinkly feel to it, so you can tell if it has Supracor in it as opposed to a smooth foam type padding. Pencil Roll option was available, including silver conchos and additional tooling around the pommel.
CCi (Colorado Correctional Industries) Made Imus 4-Beat® for Phoenix Rising Saddles: 2013-Present— Original Cost $1595--Finest quality 4-Beat Saddle to date regarding both craftsmanship and material. When we first launched Phoenix Rising Saddles, we put into place a quality control system of checks to keep the product consistently great every time. The quality control process we put into place ensures consistently well-crafted and balanced saddles. Our saddles have 2 serial numbers on them—one we assign the saddle and one our saddle shop assigns it. The 5 digit number begins with a 2 or a 3. These can be found in one of three places: under the pommel, under the rider’s left seat jockey, or sometimes underneath the saddle in back, below the crupper ring. We can help determine the year and specs of these saddles. Pencil Roll option was available, including silver conchos and additional tooling around the pommel along with the Cheyenne Roll option. Rough-out seat option became available along with the CA Twist (pre-turned stirrups) option.