PHS Review: Bates Caprilli Close Contact Saddle (Updated)

Here’s a honest, updated review of the Bates Caprilli Close Contact saddle. I share my experiences with my saddle after owning it for a few years. All of the good and disappointing aspects that happened along the way to where I am now.

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When Life Gives You Lemons...

  I've been sitting here on my computer with my first red cup from Starbucks of the year in my hand. Still with the high of yesterday's events of the Royal, I've been editing my pictures and writing a blog post about it all. It was a great day. One you can read about today right after this post.

  But because I've been away for quite a while, I thought it would be only right to write an update post first.

  Yes, I am back!

  It's been a while. Life threw me through a few very difficult experiences. So I stopped blogging. I wanted to go away for a bit and regroup. I kept waiting until I was in a better situation emotionally before opening up Blogger and starting to write. And though the more I waited I did start to feel a little better, I never felt 100% myself again. I still don't feel that way. I don't know if I ever will. But time away did help. I was able to clear my thoughts and reevaluate things.

  There's this saying that keeps replaying in my mind; you can be better or you can be bitter. I can let these events tear me down or I can fight and keep going. I can keep doing what I love and keep improving on myself. So, that's what I've chosen.

Pure Horse Sense Blog- Bath-UK with quote

Picture taken by me

  I've thought about writing on this blog many times throughout the months I've been away. I've thought of different topics I could talk about and brainstormed different layouts. I never gave up on it, on you. I knew that, one day, I'd come back. So, here I am.

  Now, let's get away from the sappy life stuff and start talking about this blog.

  First of all, I hope you like the new layout. Though it's not a whole lot different that the last, it is a lot brighter and clean-looking. Of course, I had to keep the teal (my favourite colour), but I got rid of the grey background.

  I also changed the social media icons too. They seem to match the layout nicely while still allowing you to find me on other social media platforms easily.

  I'm sure you also noticed the banner/logo has changed a bit. I added the P.H.S. initials to it because that's what I affectionately call the name of my blog... and it's also a lot shorter to say.

  What I have a feeling you might be wondering about is the posting times. The truth is, I'm still not sure about that yet. I'll try to post at least once a week, but I don't want to make any promises. What I'm focused on right now is just writing. So, when I find a schedule that fits, I'll let you know. Until then, follow me on my other social media platforms and subscribe to the blog. That way you'll be notified whenever I do post something new.

  Thank you for being patient with me. I appreciate every single reader who has clicked on this blog. I look forward to writing many more posts for all of you. I've already got a few more topics ready to go from things I've learnt in previous riding lessons... oh yeah I forgot to mention that I've found a new (and very good) stable to ride at.

  I think things are starting to move in the right direction and I can't wait to share all of my amazing experiences with you.

  So until next time, happy riding!

Finding Your Fit

  These past few weeks, I've hit a fork in the road. I've been faced with making a decision that could impact my riding progress in the future.

  It took me about three weeks, but I think I've made my decision. I'm moving barns.

  Since it's coming up to about two months since I got back in the saddle, I'm surprised to be stuck in this situation already.

  The barn that I had chosen to ride at originally seemed like the perfect fit. I did my research, it was in the perfect location and I got a tour of the place. The people seemed nice and the horses looked like they were well taken care of. When I started to ride there, I was glad to say that my first impressions were right.

  So what went wrong? Well, before I started riding I had let them know that I didn't have my own horse, that I was looking for a place that could challenge me and that I would eventually like to show. I wanted to be upfront with them in hopes that they would be honest with me. Of course, they said that they could accommodate my situation. 

  After my first lesson where we jumped about two feet, I asked the coach if we would ever jump any higher as I was used to jumping around four feet. I didn't ask this to sound like a snob or that I expected to pick up right where I left off. I knew I'd need to work back up to my previous level. That was a given. I was simply curious because they said that they'd have no problem meeting my goals. 

  The coach said that their lesson horses will never jump higher than 2'6. Oh. Immediately warning lights should have been flashing, but I wanted to give them another chance. The coach said that she would talk to the competition trainer to see if they could do anything to help me out.

  So I met with the competition trainer. We talked for a bit about my goals and such. At the end of our short meeting she said that she had a horse in mind that might be a good fit, but that he wasn't available at the moment. Apparently another girl's horse was hurt so she was riding this one while it healed. Okay, fine. I didn't have a problem in riding with the lesson coach until this horse was available to me. 

  A month or so goes by and I still have not heard any news from the competition trainer. So I sent her a text to find out the status of the other horse. She replied saying that the horse she had in mind for me was completely booked and that she couldn't fit me in. What? First you told me that one girl was riding the horse until her horse was healed and now this horse is completely booked? I caught this trainer in her lie. 

  She obviously never planned on taking me on as her student. And that was the last straw. I gave this barn too many chances in the span of less than two months. I have nothing against this barn. I'm more disappointed than anything. 

  Now, I am moving to another barn where the trainer/owner seems to be an open book. She has been honest about everything so far. Though she mentioned that they don't have lesson horses, she did offer me to lease (something the other barn never offered).

  It can sometimes be difficult to find the right barn for you and moving barns can be awkward. What you need to remember is that you're paying for a service. If you're not happy or they're not meeting your needs and goals, there's nothing wrong with looking elsewhere. It's nothing personal. You're just making the decisions that are best for you.

  Have you had any bad barn experiences? How did you find your right fit? Leave it in the comments below!

  Until next time, happy riding!