PHS Review: Bates Caprilli Close Contact Saddle

  Tack is a personal thing. You will spend many hours using it. It's got to look good and fit your horse right. 

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  Though leather can stand the test of time if you take care of it, you want to make sure you're buying something of good quality without draining your bank account...

    I bought a saddle! After getting back into the riding world, I'm quickly realizing the importance of having your own things. From brushes, to helmets, to boots, to tack; having your own is so much better than borrowing from someone else. 

  As you move up the ranks, it becomes more and more apparent that riding the barn's school horses are soon going to be out of the question. While saving up to get my own horse, I figured that I might as well buy a few things over time to help with the initial expense. 

  Of course bridles and girths are a little bit difficult to buy when you don't know the size of your future horse. But you can get your own saddle.

  A saddle is something that is special to each individual rider. It needs to be comfortable for both you and your horse because you'll be spending many hours in it. 

  I spent my time online searching about the saddle brands that I'd be able to buy at my local tack shops. I read reviews and learned as much as I could about them. Keeping in mind that saddles can come in many different price ranges, I knew I wanted something of good quality for the money. I wanted something that would also last without breaking the bank. 

  I'll be honest, I've always been intrigued by the Bates saddles. They have a beautiful look that stands out while also being quite classic. For riders who don't have their own horse or those who ride more than one, their easy change system is a great feature. It allows the saddle to adapt and grow with you throughout your riding years to come.

  I didn't want to buy a Bates on those two aspects alone. I wanted to make sure that this saddle was truly worth its money. I shopped around and looked at other saddles in that price range. After looking at other saddles that just didn't seem to compare, I waited for a sale and bought my very first Bates saddle.

  I got the classic close contact Bates Caprilli in Havana brown as well as their stirrup leathers. Can I also add how much I love this darker brown compared to the brown of past models? It gives it more of a classic look that's also easier to match up with your other tack.

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  If you're going to buy a Bates, I'd suggest you read up a little bit about how to care for them. They recommend that you wash your saddle with glycerine soap and then condition it with a balsam. They also don't advise that you oil your Bates' leather.

  So, when I got home, I washed it with my Stubben glycerine soap and a tack sponge. Then, I applied quite a lot of the Bates balsam conditioner that comes free with your saddle (no need to go out and buy any!). I let my saddle sit coated in a thick layer of the conditioner for about 24 hours to allow the leather to soften even more before buffing the excess away. To my surprise, barely any of the leather's colour had been lost throughout this whole process.

  On my first ride, the saddle was a bit slippery (as expected). But again, none of the colour rubbed off on my pants and I was completely amazed. The more I ride with it, the more comfortable it gets and the more I love it.  

  I will say that I wished that the saddle flap and billets were a softer leather than they actually were, but they are softening quite easily through time. 

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  Before anyone asks, I haven't tried changing the gullet to see how difficult it might be. I haven't needed to change it yet, but I'll keep you posted it I ever do need to.

  So that's it! There's my honest opinion of the Bates Caprilli saddle. I've been quite impressed with it and ended up loving it much more than I thought I would. For anyone looking for a good saddle that won't break the bank, I'd recommend checking this one out.

  I'd love to know what saddles you guys own. Do you like it? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

  Until next time, happy riding!

  This post was not sponsored by Bates in any way. Their product simply inspired the topic of this post.

Customise Your Saddle

  As I mentioned earlier this week, this blog post will be about saddles. In fact, it will be all about the easy solution to better fit your saddle to your horse that only Bates and Wintec can offer you. Though I'm sure you have heard about being able to change the tree size on your saddle without buying a new one. Wintec and Bates have a unique system that takes it to the next level.

  Bates and Wintec saddles are now equipped with CAIR Cushion System and the Easy Change Fit Solution to allow the best comfort and fit for you and your horse without having to buy more than one saddle.

  Just like some saddles offer you the option to have the knee roll padded with air, the CAIR Cushion System means that the panels underneath the saddle are cushioned with air. This will make not only your ride more comfortable, but make it more comfortable for your horse too. The air cushions will allow the saddle to move with the horse's muscles to allow him to move more freely while also evenly distributing your weight on his back.

  Though it doesn't seem too likely to occur, a punctured panel can easily be replaced by a saddler. The panels shouldn't leak as they are encased with a PVC coating and the CAIR Cushion System has a warranty of two years in case there had been any faults when it was made. To learn more about the CAIR Cushion System, you can click here

  In addition to the CAIR Cushion System, Bates and Wintec saddles also have the Easy Change Fit Solution installed in their saddles. This means that you can change not only the size of the tree, but the riser systems within the saddle all by yourself. You are given different tree sizes, that are colour coded to make it easier, that allow you to change the width of your saddle to better fit your horse's withers. The riser system allows you to make sure the saddle is balanced. There are six riser pads in the saddle; two in the front, two in the middle and two in the back. There are four different sizes for the front and back panels and two sizes for the middle panel. This means that there are many possibilities to adjust the saddle by rising some panels and lowering others for the best fit. To learn more about the Easy Change Fit Solution, click here.

  We all know that horses have different conformations and that they come in different sizes. Not to mention that a horse may change its shape as it gets older, builds muscle and increases or decreases his weight. To have a saddle that can be modified to follow all of these changes is great news to hear as a rider. Let's face it, saddles can be pretty expensive and it gets discouraging to keep buying a new saddle or adding additional tack to your horse to compensate. To be able to invest in a good quality saddle that is comfortable and adaptable is definitely worth the investment in my mind.

  So I hope this was helpful and taught you a little bit more about the different options that are available with saddles nowadays. Thank you for reading, I hope you are all doing well and I wish you all the best with your saddle fittings.

  Until next time, happy riding!

This post was not sponsored by Bates or Wintec in any way. Their products simply inspired the topic of this post.