Horse Tack Review

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Close Contact Saddles

For Sale on eBay

For Sale on Amazon

Manufacturer: Bates (View all products by Bates)

Model: Caprilli (View all Caprilli reviews)

Category: Close Contact Saddles

Purchase: I purchased this saddle off of eBay for a tiny $800. Retail is around $1800. I'd been searching around for this exact saddle for months and was hoping to find one used. It was in great shape but I got an amazing deal on it due to a small hole in the seat. That's no matter because I normally ride with a sheepskin seat saver, and you couldn't see it while in use anyway.

Likes: It's a gorgeous saddle. Fits well, especially because of the Easy Change Gullet System. My old Courbette Alpina became too narrow for my TB mare, who had recently sustained an injury. Due to lay off I knew she was going to lose condition along her top line and wouldn't fit a standard Medium tree for a while. I didn't want to have to buy one saddle to use while re-conditioning her, and another once she was back in shape. The Gullet system was a perfect alternative. The leather is very soft and supple, the stitching is great, and it puts you in a wonderful position.

Dislikes: The leather seems to discolor quite easily. After even short use, I'll find another random splotch or chaff of unknown origin. It does seem to only be on the seat and knee rolls though. Most can be worked over with leather conditioner. Do not use Neatsfoot Oil on the caramel colored saddle! It does not darken very well. I definitely suggest another leather conditioner. Also, the stirrup position seems strange: I can't figure out why, but it seems like your shins are constantly at battle with the stirrup leathers. Lastly, the caramel color is hard to match! M. Toulouse does make a great set of stirrup leathers that match nearly perfectly, but it took some time to find them. Or you could simply buy the Bates brand ones.

Quality: Beautiful, supple leather, perfect stitching. Definitely a lot of thought and time went into the construction of this saddle.

Summary: This is a great saddle and definitely worth the money. However, if you try hard enough and watch eBay auctions frequently enough, you should be able to find a great quality used one at less than half the price.

Rating: 5

Author: Shannon De Buiser

Date: 2006-04-05

Usefulness Rating: 2.83333 out of 5.
12 reader(s) voted.

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