Buying A Used Synergist

Over the years we have found riders who will buy a used Synergist saddle from a third party based only on their seat size and then be surprised that the saddle either caused their horse to get sore or themselves. Our saddles don’t magically fit every horse and rider combination. They were initially created to fit one horse and one rider.

For those planning on buying a used Synergist saddle here are a few things to keep in mind. There are definitely things we can and can’t do once a saddle has been built. Quite a few people have basically wasted their money because we can’t make the adjustments that they are asking for and they end up with a saddle that won’t work either for their horse or themselves.

Fit For The Horse

Horse with EQUImeasureIf you purchase a third party Synergist, more than likely it will need to be refit to your horse. Because we fit a lot of what people call ‘hard to fit’ horses, the bottom of the tree could have had an inch and a half of rock added or could have been built up in the front and back of the tree to accommodate a flatter backed horse.

You could line up five of our saddles that were built on the exact same tree and they would all fit different types of horses depending on what work was originally done to the bottom of the tree. Once again, our saddles don’t magically fit every horse.

Keep in mind we can’t adjust every tree we build on for every horse. We can’t make a tree designed for a narrow backed horse work on a wide horse. And the opposite is also true; we can’t adjust a tree designed for a wide backed horse to work on a narrow horse.

Even though we can adjust the rock and twist of the bottom of the tree it still has to be the correct width and bar spread that the horse needs. If we have the correct width tree for the horse then there won’t be a problem adjusting it.

Fit For The Rider

Seat Size

You can’t buy a used Synergist with only the seat size in mind. Once the saddle has been built we can’t change the fit of the seat of the original rider for the new rider. The new rider needs to be of similar body type to the original rider and of the same sex.

Because we customize the seat width and length to the individual rider’s body measurements and to the differences in male versus female anatomy, the new rider may never get comfortable in a seat designed for someone else.

Difference between man and women's pelvis.Especially apparent is the difference between a seat designed for a man versus a woman. Men are narrower in the pelvic girdle. Women are wider. When a woman sits in a seat designed for a man they don’t have enough support far enough out from the center of the seat.

Instead, the woman’s seat bones (ischial tuberosities) end up contacting the seat where it is falling away to allow the thigh to pass between the cantle and pommel. This often gives the woman rider the feeling of being perched on the saddle instead of sitting in the saddle.

Fender Length

Another problem riders run into when buying a used Synergist is fender length. We have five different standard sizes based on the rider’s inseam. We have also custom cut quite a few fender systems that fell outside of our standard sizing.

If the saddle came with a fender system designed for a 26 to 28 inch inseam and yours is 33 you are probably going to have to have the fenders replaced with the appropriate size or you’re not going to be comfortable.

Call Or Email Before You Buy

It is best to get a hold of us before you buy a used Synergist. With the saddle number and a wither tracing from your horse we can look up what tree the saddle was built on and usually tell if it can be adjusted for your horse.

But even with a wither tracing there is no guarantee that we will be able to refit it. Riders sometimes take the tracing in the wrong place, which we have no control over. Where the tracing is taken is critical and uses the back edge of the horse’s shoulder blades as a reference points.

With some horses it’s obvious exactly where the back edge is. On wider, mutton withered horses finding the back edge can be difficult. Only when we have a 3-D EQUImeasure mold of your horses back can we know for sure whether we can do the adjustment for your horse.

We can also tell you what size fender system has been installed on the saddle and the appropriate rider inseam that it will fit.


The cost of a third party refit is $200 plus the cost of an EQUImeasure Kit which is $145 plus $20 shipping. You also have to consider shipping cost for the saddle back and forth which will run anywhere from $65 to well over $100 each way depending on how far away you live.

If the fender system is not the right size for you, new fenders will run you $250.

Condition Of The Saddle

Another thing to consider is the shape the saddle is in. Depending on how well the original owner took care of the saddle you might be looking at replacing parts of the saddle because of safety concerns.

We have seen some of our saddles over twenty years old that look like they left the shop six months ago. We have also seen some of our saddles that are less than a year old that look like they were over twenty years old!

When leather is not cleaned and conditioned periodically it dries out and becomes brittle causing a safety issue. Rigging might have to be replaced. Sometimes the skirts where the rigging is attached are in such bad shape the need to be replaced. Other times the fender straps need to be replaced.


Before putting any money down on a used Synergist contact us to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Consider the additional cost that are involved in getting the saddle refit for your horse and any repair cost that might be involved.

That great deal you got on ebay might not be such a great deal when you add in the costs of a refit and any repairs that might have to be done.

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