Manufacturer: Bates (View all products by Bates)
Model: Caprilli (View all Caprilli reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: Lightning G Horseman's Store, LaGrangeville, NY +/- $1200.00 (2001)
Likes: This is a very nice, very correct saddle offered for a reasonable price. Even at $1,700 or so (the current price) it is a good deal. The interchangeable gullet system works well and it is easy to tell which gullet will fit your horse. Be sure to check the screws on the underside of the pommel for tightness from time to time. I find this saddle especially well balanced-- I can find and maintain a two-point position more easily in this saddle than any other I have owned. The regular flap may be too short for many riders. I was happy with a regular flap on a 17 inch saddle, but then I'm 5'3". They make long flaps at no extra charge. The gullet on this saddle is wide-- even back toward the cantle and the panels are generous (thus spreading the rider's weight over the largest possible surface area and easier to carry).
Dislikes: Drawbacks-- the CAIR panels. I found them way too hard, not forgiving and "fluid" as Bates suggests. However, I spent about $200 removing these panels and putting in wool flocking. Between that change and the gullet system, I have a saddle that fits my horse BEAUTIFULLY for less than half of what it would have cost to buy a comparable, good-fitting saddle (Albion or County).
Quality: Good quality for the money.... and if you can make it fit you and your horse, why pay more? A $3000.00 western saddle will literally last a life time; the same $3000.00 spent on an English saddle will last, perhaps, 15 years. I recommend buying your saddle from a tack shop where you can see, tough and sit in the saddle you will actually own. Take time to oil the leather (but not the seat and knee rolls) especially in the beginning, and you will extend the life of your saddle. I find that the smooth leather on the skirts gets "grease jockeys" more often than leather with an embossed grain to it as used to be common in close contact saddles.
Summary: Bates saddles are a good idea, well done and priced affordable, but don't buy they hype about the CAIR panels.
Usefulness Rating: 2.72727 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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