No matter what breed of horse you own or what style of riding you prefer, having top quality tack is important. A well-made saddle can last for many decades, while a poorly made saddle can wear out in just a few years and cause back problems for your horse. Learning to identify the maker's marks on saddles can help you spot some real bargains. A Western or English saddle by a top-maker can be worth thousands of dollars, while the value of a no-name saddle is often just a few hundred dollars.
Place the saddle on a saddle stand that gives you full access to all sides of the saddle. Examine the saddle for any obvious maker's marks. Some Western saddles have a stamp or metal decal just behind the swell of the saddle or on top of the saddle horn.
Check the bottom of the stirrup leathers if you have a Western saddle. Many makers, including famous brands like TexTan and Circle Y, stamp their saddles at the bottom of the leather, just above where the stirrup is attached.
Turn the stirrup leather over and look for a serial number stamped on the underside. Many Western saddle manufacturers stamp serial numbers into the leather in this area. Contact the manufacturer of the saddle and give them the serial number to get information on when and where your saddle was made.
Lift the flap at the front of your English saddle to look for a maker's mark. This flap is located just above the small silver rivet at the front of the saddle. Many makers place a metal medallion in this area; this medallion often includes a serial number as well.
Pull up the flap that covers the stirrup leathers on the English saddle and look for a maker's mark stamped into the leather. You may also find a serial number stamped into the leather.