Manufacturer: Bates (View all products by Bates)
Model: Caprilli Close Contact (View all Caprilli Close Contact Saddle reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I purchased this saddle about 8 years ago on ebay for $1475, directly from Australia. Back then they were retailing for about $2500-$2700 depending on instore/online. I looked at several different saddles but my trainer at the time had a Bates that was several years old, and holding up beautifully.
Likes: Wonderful leather. It does scratch relatively easily, but I have to say that after eight years of ownership it still looks just as perfect today as it did upon purchase, if not better. However I typically clean it after each ride. It takes oil perfectly, and only seems to improve with use. It puts me in a wonderful, balanced position for eq or jumping and I feel very secure. I do not and have not ever used the flexiblocks that come with it. I have never had a need for them.
Dislikes: I HATE the CAIR panels. I am actually looking into investing to have the panels removed. They don't do anything they claim and actually don't fit many horses well. Havent really messed with the easy change gullet because I haven't needed to. I've heard though that its not THAT easy to just change out.
Quality: Overall a beautiful saddle and wonderfully made, at least back then. They are cheap now and I worry about the quality. Even with the CAIR problems I still love my saddle and get compliments regularly. People are routinely asking how long I've had it since it still looks so good. Most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden in, and feel EXTREMELY secure. Im more secure in my BATES than in my western Eq saddle. I just wish they would have had the Flocking as an option when I made my purchase.
Summary: Overall PERFECT saddle. Today though I cannot speak about the quality, however eight years ago they were beautifully made so look for an older model if you want a TRUE bates. Get the model with Flocked panels though, or pay the bucks to convert it. CAIR is awful, the rest of the saddle however, is perfect in my mind.
Usefulness Rating: 3.2 out of 5.
15 reader(s) voted.
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