Spring is just around the corner and to get ready, three saddles were cleaned and polished. This one is a used one that we got 7 years ago when we first got the horses. If bought new, it would likely be in the neighbourhood of $2500. We got it for $400 and it has a good many years life left in it. We got one saddle new when we got Biz and it is the most comfortable one we own ( at least for me). It came from EBay all the way from India for a grand total of $250, or about 10% of what the saddle would cost if bought in North America. It was amazing to receive a western saddle from India of all places.
The saddle above was made by Rocky Mountain Saddlery right here in Alberta, and is at least three steps above the one made in India as far as quality goes. Cost was the major issue in buying off shore. Would I do it again?
When I look at what is available, used, but not abused, I probably would not. There are several reasons for this.
First is the issue of whatever you pick up, chances are it's made offshore at pennies on the dollar. This is a concern to me as we seem to be battling high unemployment when a lot of this stuff could ( and was) at one time, be made in Canada, or the United States. The big corporations, being mainly driven by greed, and the attempt to show generous dividends, will get it made where it's cheapest to do so. If this isn't a wake-up call to Unions and Governments, I don't know what it will take to reverse it. Perhaps having Iran cut off oil to Britain and France will set the example of what can happen if an offshore supplier decides they don't like you much any more.
Second is the issue of quality. I remember when Made in Japan meant cheap and shoddy. Then made in China meant the same thing. It continues on through Korea, India, Bangladesh and the rest of Asia. They caught up and surpassed North America very quickly in quality. It seems that we can't compete in cost or quality on a global basis anymore.
I own an Indian saddle, and own a Korean car, but in future, I will be looking at how to get quality at a reasonable price, with a Made in Canada, or Made in U.S.A. label on it.
I expect that one of these days, our governments are going to equalize the playing field and we will find our dollars worth 60 percent of today's value. Then we can put people back to work in North America.