Model: Innova Standard Block
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this product from allsaddles.com. He allows you to try different saddles for up to 1 month before purchase. He did not offer the Bates but after trying the Bates on 2 occasions through another saddle shop, I knew it was the saddle for me. I must have tried 25 saddles before settling on the Bates Innova. It is the only saddle that I could get my quarter horse mare to concisely stretch forward and lift her back. Her topline has significantly improved and she no longer gets stiff at the sit trot. I paid $2695.
Likes: I like the fact that this saddle puts me in a great position. I have found other saddles either sit my leg too far forward or "trap" me in the seat. I have a lot of room to move it his saddle. I thought the Cair panels would make my horse's back less sensitive but actually found that I can apply less seat aids and have a greater response. This saddle is super comfortable and have taken out on several trails as well. During dressage training I will often set up small cross rails and find that the saddle is just awesome in keeping me stable but not restricted. The easy change gullets allow for flexibility on other horses though I have not had the need to change them out. This fits my quarter horse mare and thoroughbred gelding great. Wide gullet allows the saddle plenty of spine clearance.
Dislikes: I find it difficult at times during training to move my leg forward to emphasize my horse getting her shoulder out of the way in various movements. The thigh block prevents you from over exaggerating leg movements which is fine in the show ring but not so great in training.
Quality: Great quality leather. I have had no problems with leather or stitching. Suede like material on the block and back of cantle give it a classy look. Cleans well.
Summary: I highly recommend this saddle. I tried many before settling on this purchase. I spoke with an equine chiropractor before the purchase and she had said the CAIR panels, in her experience, did not do well with horse's backs. I have not found this to be the case at all. After trying it on several horses, I have gotten very consistent results. I judge the saddle comfort by how my horse acts and this saddle clearly had the best results over the Pessoa, Passier, Kieffer etc.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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