TackTrader. The first thing I do when I get up is check in to see what's been newly posted for sale in the last 24 hours. I'd like to say that I'm not simply doing this for kicks, but that I am honestly just trying to fill out my show wardrobe on the cheap. That's a mainly true statement. :)
Anyway, when I bought my mare I decided that I would only invest in quality pieces of tack and equipment. I did things cheaply before and ALWAYS regretted those decisions. Cheap leather and shoddy stitching seems to break before you know it and suddenly you're out a whole bunch more money than you'd be if you'd simply sucked it up in the first place. But I didn't anticipate just how freaking expensive Western tack and show clothing is! My mother and I had the misfortune of discovering this upon our visit to Oklahoma City for the NRHA futurity. Ha! And I thought I was going to score some awesome deals. Yeah, good luck with that. Instead I got sticker shock. I mean, $350 as a starting price for headstalls?! And there's even reins involved! To say I was shocked is actually an understatement.
Undeterred, I decided I would still figure out a way to invest in the best quality for my mare. And yes, I know that bling is not necessarily the thing for reining. But my Gracie is just so pretty -- I think she deserves a little sparkle.
I know people like Ebay, but I think it sucks. It's just a place for tack companies to resell at high prices, and those bridles which are listed at reasonable prices just get caught up in a bidding war in the last few moments. I know that's just the way of Ebay, but I'm totally over that. That's where TackTrader comes in -- it's like a mecca of amazing used show equipment that's in great condition. And mostly reasonable prices. If you act fast enough, you can eventually get what you want. After about a month of searching (and studying what style of headstall would look lovely on my mare's head), I finally scored the headstall pictured above. It's a used Champion Turf with some mileage on it, but kept in superb condition. And the incredible amount of silver fit the bill perfectly. Not to mention that I only paid less than a third of what it originally cost.
Check the site out. If you're serious about competing in the show ring, but are on a limited budget, it'll save you loads. Now I just need to find chaps!