Manufacturer: Bates (View all products by Bates)
Model: Caprilli Close Contact, Long Flap (View all Caprilli Close Contact, Long Flap reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle from SmartPakEquine.com for $1359 in October 2012. It seems the price has gone down - most reviews I read were around $1700. I would gladly have paid that much for this saddle.
Likes: I was highly impressed when I took the saddle out of the box; it is beautiful, soft, and well-built. The panels are wide and cushy, and I had been worried about the CAIR being too firm at altitude. They feel great! I have already changed the gullet (I bought M/W and W from Horse.com for $17.99ea.) and found the process to be quite easy, contrary to other reviews. It fits my horse great! She is fairly high-withered and also wide, and the saddle I had sat far too low in the cantle while also crushing her withers. This has loads of wither clearance AND I don't have to use my riser anymore. I LOVE that! I was really convinced when I rode in it. It puts me in a nice position, but doesn't lock me in. The forward flap is perfect in angle and length for a woman who is 5'11". I haven't experienced with the moveable blocks yet - I rode with them off - but I REALLY appreciate having the option of adding blocks to the knee and/or thigh. I can feel the softness of the panels and of the seat as I'm riding. So cushy! Riding in a well-fitting saddle has, even in the first ride, proven to make a huge difference. My horse is freer in the shoulder and spine, and she warmed up at the trot stretching her neck down and bringing her shoulder and back up. If THAT isn't a sign of comfort, I don't now what is! I love knowing that my horse is her most comfortable; it makes me feel more confident as her rider.
Dislikes: My only complaint about the saddle is purely vain: I could be more in love with the color. The brown is nice, I just have a preference for darker, richer color. Of course, it will darken with use! I'm just impatient. I really wish Bates would produce a fuller line of accessories. I wouldn't hesitate to buy Bates leathers in a longer length (so I could take advantage of those beautiful silver keepers), nor would I hesitate on a bridle or girth.
Quality: A+. Although, I must point out that the photos are inaccurate on pretty much all of the websites offering this saddle. A sales associate told me, before I bought the saddle, that the color and hardware are just like those of the Elevation, so I was prepared for the difference when I saw my saddle in person.
Summary: LOVE it, and I know I will have this saddle for a long, long time. With the adjustability, I feel confident in holding on to this one. I know if won't fit EVERY horse perfectly, but I can see this being with me for the long haul.
Author: Caroline M
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
1 reader(s) voted.
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