Horse Tack Review


Dressage Saddles

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Manufacturer: Bates
Model: Isabell
Category: Dressage Saddles

Purchase: I purchased this Bates almost new about four years ago and paid $1395 from a reputable tack dealer in the Portland area. I was training a young three year old stallion and my present saddle did not seem comfortable to him. I wanted to see how the CAIR panels worked on a young horse.

Likes: Using the Isabell Bates was the best thing I could have done for my young three year old in training. The CAIR panels made an immediate difference in the comfort of the horse, an important factor in making my horse's first rides very consistent and painless. Consequently, he had little desire to buck, especially when first teaching him to canter under saddle for the first time...always a sensitive issue. The Bates made my training more successful and continued to be an important factor in helping my horse develop over the next few years. It was comfortable for me, as well, and the buffalo hide gave good grip without gluing me in the saddle.

Dislikes: As my horse has developed, his loin has become very strong and this has resulted in a tendency for the saddle to be a bit "cantle high". But the construction and beauty of the saddle has proven it has good longevity.

Quality: After very regular use and good care, the unit is still in excellent shape. There has been no fading of the black dye and minimal flattening of the buffalo texture where the back of the thigh hits the underlying billet adjustment buckle. The only visible area of wear is some dullness where the stirrup leathers touch on the lower part of the flap.

Summary: I would recommend the Bates to be incorporated into the training regimen as a humane saddle for any horse, especially young ones and those who have any back sensitivities. I don't believe I would have had as much success in my early training as I did without the Isabell.

Rating: 5

Author: Leslie Smith

Date: 2006-08-25

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