Here at Horse Saddle Shop we're kind of one-note wonders. The song we're always singing is "We carry high quality products." But you might be wondering what we mean by that. We've recently added two more American saddle manufacturers to our inventory. Here is the inspection process our saddle experts go though to ensure that we're only selling products that are top-of-the-line. If a company fails at any point, we don't carry the product.
1. Verify that all the materials are American
We do not sell imported saddles
, nor do we sell saddles made from imported materials. If a product is made or assembled primarily in America, we can make sure things are done right. If materials are coming from somewhere else, we can't be sure.2. The leather should be genuine cowhide with choice cuts from the hide, not marred and scratched.
All leather is not
created equal. Low quality leather can be scratched and marred the first time you unpack your saddle from the box. Leather can also be made from cows that have been frolicking around thornbushes all their lives, resulting in a hide that is veined. The leather of a saddle should be top-quality that is smooth, yet thick and durable.3. Tree should be a solid tree from a well-known manufacturer, if not a hand made tree.
Not all our manufacturers make their own trees. If they don't, we make sure their tree supplier is well-known, tried & tested.4. Seating and skirting should be straight on tree - not askew.
Enough said.5. Stitching should be inline. No unintentional zig-zags.
A common place where low-quality saddles show their mistakes is in the stitching. It takes skill to make all the stitching straight and to start and end the stitching correctly. We make sure it's not sloppily done.6. Seat should sit tight on tree - no air pockets or bunching up.
Another area it takes skill to do well--the seat. 7. Finished leather should accept the dye. Not look as though it was painted on and can flake off.
Quality leather dyes well, but that too takes skill. Do it incorrectly, and the dye looks like a bad paint job waiting to rub off on your pants.8. Synthetic saddles should be made of Cordura - not vinyl.
Vinyl can rip, tear, peel, and give under pressure. We don't like vinyl. Cordura, on the other hand, is a high quality material suitable for saddles. 9. All hardware should be tight - shouldn't have to worry about saddle falling apart.
There's nothing worse than getting ready to mount your horse and wondering if the rigging is going to hold. The saddle hardware should feel like it's going to take a beating and not budge.10. Company has to stand behind their product.
We know you expect us to stand behind our products. We expect the same of each of our manufacturers. Saddles should be built to last--they're not decorations. And when they're made well, there's no reason not to stand behind them. Most of our manufacturers stand behind their products with warranties. We appreciate that and know you do too.