I love saddles. Well, correction, I love vintage saddles. I like just looking at them. I own quite a few. (I could be on the next episode of hoarders. I will be one of those who will part with almost nothing.)
Some people like to use buzz words. But they do so hoping to actually get more money than they have any right to for the saddle they are selling. I have found some terms they use that have different meanings than you might expect.
I have compiled a list.
Vintage = old, possibly a real vintage saddle, but usually just worn out and dirty.
Antique = see above term, with rodent chew marks, a broken tree, moth eaten fleece and no stirrups, possibly no fenders. Also a price tag that makes your butt cheeks clench.
Unique = I actually really like looking at these. It can be hilarious. I was permanently scarred one time though. Found a saddle that the horn was a phallus.
Hand tooled = my cat likes to use it as a scratching post. Or again, no idea who made it, but it has tooling.
Trophy saddle. Marked with someone else’s information, (possibly stolen)they have a well made saddle that actually fits their horse and don’t want this piece of junk with writing all over it.
*( I personally hate trophy saddles. When asked what I want mine stamped with, I beg for nothing. If they insisted on something or already had it marked, I donated every one to the 4-H. Sorry kids)*
Barn find = I think it was a saddle, it is made of leather maybe? Dead cow possibly, maybe some other dried, desiccated, mummified mammal that was locked in the barn and forgotten.
Old, real Cowboy saddle = won’t fit a modern horse, or a modern well fed American ass. Seat is a 13” (no kidding, I have one) needs some reassembly. Well made, plain, but awesome all the same.
Very comfortable = feels good for 10 minute rides, then causes saddle galls on you, the horse, and anyone who trailered in with you.
Custom made = this can either mean,
a) no makers mark, I have no idea when or who made this saddle.
b) made for a deformed obese horse with no shoulder, or my grandpas cow, and will never fit another horse again.
c) hideously ugly.
d) stirrups are not adjustable.
e) trying to sit this saddle will torture your lady bits (female) or make you sing soprano (male), or actually cause spontaneous castration.
f) my cousin made this in summer camp when he was 9.
g) all of the above, so now it is in the 6 digit range.