Bates Caprilli Close Contact
Decent for the money
Nice enough saddle for the price. The Cair panels didn't fit my 16.0h Hanoverian though and bridged in the middle. The leather and was okay and the seat was comfortable, but I wasn't a fan of the color - looked like a fake medium brown color. Overall though, a decent saddle for a lower-end price.
April 5, 2013
Excellent Saddle for the money
I purchased my Caprilli in 2010, and have received many compliments on it. I ordered the light colored brown saddle, but it oiled up to almost a Havanna brown. The leather is soft, supple, and the seat is sticky. The one complaint I have is that last year the saddle seat developed some "raised marks" that look like dirt or fungus deposits, but they aren't. No one is able to figure out what they actually are or how to remove them. They haven't had any effect anything other than some of the cosmetic appeal. As others have mentioned, the interchangeable gullet system is excellent - though hard to do the first time, and the saddle moves and conforms nicely to my horse. Now that my saddle is a couple of years old, my concern is with how well it will stand up. So far no issues.
March 7, 2013
LOVE this saddle, it has made a world of difference to me & my horse. The XCHANGE system is super easy after you've done it once or twice. The CAIR panels are cushy and have a lot of surface area, spreading weight around nicely. Since having this saddle, my horse's back has visibly muscled up on top (as her back is no longer pinched!) and she moves much more freely through the shoulder and hips. Though it took a bit of adjusting to (as expected), the saddle feels great to ride in and has a wonderful balance. I like the option of the moveable blocks, but I have been riding without them. My first and only gripes are that Smartpak needs to update its product info; the saddle looks closer to the Bates Elevation than the older-style Caprillis shown here. Also, my saddle arrived in just a box and a thin sheet of foam, and the edges of front flaps are still dented inward from the packaging. Woes of free shipping perhaps?
January 18, 2013
Decent saddle not preferred though
I'd like to start off by saying this saddle is so stiff, the seat has what feels like supple leather but when riding in I find it hard. The leather is hard to break in and is not supple even after 4 different oilings, conditioning riding 1-3 a day and riding every day. I bought this saddle because my beval didn't fit my horse anymore due to her constant weight gain and muscle development and I needed something quick and easy. I just find it hard and I prefer the old leather which was very nice and supple and I personally didn't find it scratched easily if you took care of it.
I do like though how you can change the gullet and panels though its a little tricky to do. I think the only con to this saddle is it just being so darn stiff. Hopefully over time as time goes and I can get better saddle care soaps it will supple up more. I think this saddle is perfect for someone who is leasing and not big into showing or starting off on school horses since it's changeable to every horse.
In my opinion it scratches easily and is awkwardly died under the saddle skirt. But overall its like the title says.... a decent saddle just not my butts delight.
November 30, 2012
NICE Saddle, but did not work out...
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this saddle. As someone before me mentioned, they have changed the leather and it's not as soft and supple as the older models. However, the new leather seems thicker and does not scratch as easily. I would rate the construction of this saddle A+ The CAIR panels have really helped my thoroughbred's shoulder soreness, however.... the tree is so STIFF and so STRAIGHT no matter what gullet I try it bridges in his back. I've noticed the rear panels are fuller and firmer than the front panels, can't imagine that feels good to my horse. Also, I'm constantly fighting the balance of this saddle. Being a Jumper rider I really need a saddle that allows me to obtain a natural, secure position over fences... I find it very, VERY hard to jump anything over 3ft in this saddle. I was jumping in a Devoucoux before and had no problems at all with my position.
I bought this saddle in a 17" (seat sizing is generous) with long flaps (14.5"). Overall the saddle quality is nice and on a flat backed horse (most warmbloods and Quarter horses) this saddle fits very well. Unfortunately it does not work for my horse and I, so I must sell it.
ON A SIDE NOTE: Be aware that when this saddle gets cold, the panels seem to flatten considerably. You will need to add alot of padding if the temp drops below 40 degrees. For those of us who ride when it's snowing outside, this is a big problem.
February 5, 2012
This saddle is a great compromise for someone who can afford something, but not an expensive, high end saddle. It fits a wide range of horses (better on regular to wide horses since the gullet channel is quite wide but can fit narrower horses with the right padding). I find it is also neutrally balanced so it doesn't really put you in a position, but you can add blocks as needed. Breaks in much better than other saddles in this price range. Just sad that the quality of the leather has gone down a bit since the saddle first came out. The newer ones don't break in quite as well as the older ones. I have an older model and everyone who sits in it, loves it. And now that it's broken in, it looks like an expensive custom saddle. Overall, smart purchase if you are looking for an everyday saddle that will hold up and fit a wide variety of horses!
December 10, 2011