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 through 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. American made materials
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. Genuine Cowhide Leather
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. Solid 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. Straight seating & skirting
We have selected manufacturers with the most gifted saddle makers in the country. Precision, accuracy, and detail are areas they strive to be perfect in. If your saddle isn't receiving this care and attention then you may have a low-quality piece of leather.
5. Inline Stitching
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 by inspecting every saddle that comes in and out of our shipping room. We will catch any errors.
6. Seat should sit tight on tree
An important factor in the building of a saddle is a secure seat. If you are experiencing a wobbling or sliding feel, stop riding. Check the saddle for loose stitching or dried glue that is allowing the saddle seat to peel off of the tree. Double-checking the seat is standard.
7. Finished Leather should accept the dye
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, nobody wants that.
8. Cordura for synthetic saddles
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. Not only a quality material but extremely lightweight and easy to clean!
9. All hardware should be tight
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. Check for loose screws and bolts.
10. Company stands 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.