Model: Elevation H
Category: Jumping Saddles
Purchase: I purchased my saddle from a ebay retailer for $1700 new without any fittings or the adjustable gullet system. I decided to purchase a saddle with an adjustable gullet system because my horse is 3 years old and is still growing and filling out. Also, I wanted a quality product which would hold up over the long-term and be transferable to other potential mounts.
Likes: I like the overall quality of the leather, the comfortable seat and the ease of adjusting the gullet system to the right size to fit my horse. After reading the instructions for the gullet system and measuring my mare, I learned that my 3 year old was already needing to wear the second widest gullet plate. I never would have though she was already considered "wide." After making the necessary adjustments, the saddle fits her incredibly well and it was easy to change out the gullet plate.
Dislikes: There are two things that I don't like about the saddle. First, the billet straps cracked the first time I used the saddle. I had cleaned the saddle well, but the initial pressure on the straps when pulling up the girth was too much for them. It is superficial, but it makes me wonder how long they will last. Fortunately, you can replace each billet strap without much hassle. They are all individually attached to the saddle with durable nylon. Second, one panel of the saddle (under the billet straps against the horse) is of a much lower quality leather then the rest of the saddle. If you purchase this type of saddle new, inspect every panel of it to make sure they all look the same. I would not have thought about doing that before buying a new saddle, but I will in the future.
Quality: The saddle is very comfortable and has high quality leather. I really like the way it fits my mare and am glad that it will adjust over time to fit her as well as other horses. When the saddle arrived, I wondered if it was really made of leather. The leather looked synthetic and was incredibly stiff. Going against Bates' recommendation, I oiled it and oiled it and oiled it some more. I have had it for a few months now and it is more and more comfortable. I oil it (Effax products) about once a week and try to clean it after every ride.
Summary: The Bates Elevation H is a great saddle. Between the overall quality of the leather, the adjustable gullet system and the comfort level for both horse and rider I would highly recommend it to anyone with a younger horse or someone who has multiple horses to ride and needs flexibility. Make sure you inspect the saddle before buying it to make sure all the parts are high quality.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
3 reader(s) voted.
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