Manufacturer: Bates Australia
Model: Kimberley Comfort Seat with Cair
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle new from Horseland in Maddington, Western Australia. I paid the RRP which was somewhere in the vicinity of A$2200 unmounted. This is an Australian stock saddle but 'Trail Saddle' is the closest category on this website.
Likes: This is a really secure saddle. I bought it after my horse bucked me off while riding in my all purpose saddle. I learnt to ride in a stock saddle and decided to get another one to increase my chances of staying on during mare-ish hissy fits from my horse. As I wondered whether my all purpose saddle (an old flocked wintec) was contributing to the problem by poor fit, I found the Cair panels and adjustable gullet a great feature of the saddle.
Dislikes: I personally love this saddle. I feel really safe and secure and as yet have managed to stay put during bucking fits (which greatly reduced after the change of saddle - so maybe fit was an issue). A couple of people who have borrowed it have commented that it is difficult to rise to the trot in as the thigh pads are quite low. As this contributes to the security aspect I am happy to adjust my rising to work around the low pads.
Quality: The saddle is very well made. The leather is very soft and responds well to leather dressing. The softness of the leather does mean it marks easily. This is not great in a stock saddle as they are used for riding through scrub and prone to getting scratched by branches. I bought the Bates Leather Webbers which are leather on top and hard plastic material on the back and unfortunately these have marked the leather due to its softness.
Summary: I would highly recommend this saddle to anyone wanting a secure, deep saddle. The built in surcingle is a great idea as is the easy change gullet. I am convinced that the Cair panels contribute greatly to the comfort of my horse. I feel it rides more comfortably for the same reason. Bates call it the most comfortable stock saddle in the world and I would have to agree with them, having spent many hours in much less comfortable saddles!
Usefulness Rating: 2.28571 out of 5.
7 reader(s) voted.
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