When I need something, I spend time combing the internet for what I want. I like the Facebook groups like English Tack Trader, and I'll always check eBay. But these days, I have a go-to site to look before I bother combing through ETT and its kin: Redwood Tack.
If whatever I want is in stock there, I'm thrilled. And if I can wait a little while for it, I'll let the owner, Leah Matanky, know what I'm after. She can often find it. Leah scours the internet, random barns, consignment shops, anywhere she can find stuff, to bring quality tack and equipment to her shop, which is based in California.
|She and her kid and her gorgeous tack all live in one room!|
Leah is an amateur rider like the rest of us, and she's really done her homework. She can answer a lot of questions about size, quality, and care of tack--and will answer your questions even unrelated to a purchase. I had a question about caring for my calfskin Antares saddle, which I didn't buy from her (I bought if before I knew about her site, sadly, although I do love my saddle), and she was happy to discuss with me.
Leah rides competitively and understands the needs of riders in various disciplines and at different levels. She's out there seeing what other people are using and what's working or not. If you ask for her opinion on a brand, you'll get it.
Even though I didn't buy my saddle from her, I would have, because she allows trials. Most people on ETT and the other FB sites--or eBay--won't allow trials, for understandable reasons. But she knows that saddle fitting can be hard, and so you can send your saddle back after a five day trial if it isn't going to work for you.
One of the things I love about Redwood Tack is how beautiful the photos are. The photography is so appealing. It's hard to take a good picture of a bridle, but she pulls it off.
I've engaged in various forms of transactions with Leah: I've bought stuff outright (like Beval stirrup leathers for $35 today when I discovered that my 20yo Crosby leathers on my dressage saddle were moldy--and not the saddle, JUST the leathers); I've done full and partial trades on items (like Mo's bridle, which I paid very little for once I sent her all the girths he'd outgrown, and which is my favorite thing ever); I've sold her stuff. All of these transactions have been painless and I always feel like I got a good deal. Further, now that I've done many transactions with her, she knows what kinds of stuff I like (I can't bear a laced rein, for instance) and can evaluate products for me based on my personal tastes.
So if you want to jump on the used tack bandwagon, I highly recommend Redwood Tack. With free priority shipping on EVERY order, there's nothing not to love. And instead of giving your money to a corporation that may or may not be looking out for you, you're helping another adult ammy who will always do her best to make sure you're a repeat customer.
Oh, and one other thing: like all of you, she's totally down with the Rainbow side of the Riding Rainbow agenda. Gotta love that too.