Buying used horse riding gear can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a riding career. There are a lot of opportunities to save money while buying used equipment either online or offline in resale shops, but you have to know what to look for in order to truly get great deals. Paying even half price on a piece of inferior equipment that gives out in a few months is no bargain at all; however, the good news is that there are steps to take to optimize the buying experience to build up your cache of equipment to an impressive degree - all while saving lots of money. Here's how to have a successful experience buying second hand horse riding gear online.
Planning Your Approach
While you can buy used horse equipment on a piecemeal, as-needed basis, a more organised way to approach it is by making a comprehensive list of all the items you need now or anticipate needing within the next year. This "wish list" can form the basis of the approach to shopping both online and off for used horse equipment to suit needs and preferences. Brainstorm this list at the kitchen table, or literally look in the tack chest or room and write down all that's missing or wearing out.
While saddles and riding gear are obvious, caring for the horse requires an array of equipment as well. Grooming tools like a set of brushes, mane and tail conditioners and hoof care products are all essential. A fly mask and horse blanket offer protection in various weather conditions. Purchase larger items like a horse trailer at used prices and save hundreds or thousands of dollars. From lightweight aluminium to heavier, sturdier steel horse trailers to a combination of both materials, there's likely an ideal used horse trailer at a discounted price.
Once all of the equipment is written down, organize the list in the order of the most pressing priority items to the least. Consider a separate column for longer-term items or more expensive items such as a saddle you've had your eye on. Take measurements for items like bridles and stirrups. Know the new costs as well as the typical used item cost for the equipment you plan to buy.
This more organised approach can help avoid overspending or "impulse buying" every time you go into a store or look at a website devoted to used horse gear. Set a reasonable monthly budget that will keep you on track with purchases, but won't break the bank. With your completed, prioritized list in hand, it's time to start shopping.
Assessing Used Horse Riding Equipment
Much of the most essential horse riding gear is made of leather, but there are also suede and synthetic alternatives. High quality leather that is well-taken care of can last a very long time - in many cases a lifetime -- so when shopping for used horse tack, leather is a reliable choice. Synthetic saddles and other horse riding equipment are easier to clean and maintain than leather; however, they have a shorter life span. If you are considering synthetic horse riding equipment, take the time to inspect it closely to make sure it's of a good quality. If an online seller has not provided adequate photos of the gear to help in this assessment, ask them to send more photos. Take the steps to ensure that you are buying high-quality equipment from sellers online or off.
Whether you're looking for used Western riding gear, English riding gear or a Dressage saddle, there's likely a high quality used option that can meet your needs and save you lots of money. Specialty saddles like the Hunt seat and racing types as well as the appropriate saddle pad can be found. Quality bridles and stirrups are crucial for a safe, enjoyable experience while riding a horse. While both Western and English riders will wear a helmet while training, Western riders typically favor a cowboy hat during competitions. Leather boots, riding pants, and safety vests are also key riding gear components for the casual or professional rider.
Preparing to Buy
Take the time to examine close-up photos of the material, seams, buckles and other fasteners. If there's an inordinate amount of scuffing or wear, either request a discount or move on to find a piece that's in better condition.
When shopping for used horse riding equipment online, take the time to assess both the equipment quality and the reputation of the seller. Find out what their past customers are saying about them and make sure they have a fair and flexible return policy in case the item does not meet your needs.