Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
I found that the feelings towards the Isabel are often either love/hate.
Don't base your decisions just on reviews. Each saddle fits each person differently, and offers a different ride on different horses. Some people find some saddles great while others despise them. Reviews are good when discerning the quality of saddles but for something like Bates/Wintec, where you know what you're going to get, its a matter of finding one YOU like an that fits your horse. They certainly don't fit all horses but I do find that they fit a larger range than some other saddles.
If you sit in a saddle and feel comfortable in it take that as good sign, then try riding in it.
Bates is a large company and they certainly would not make a saddle is generally unpopular. I've known many people to have the Isabel and love it a lot.
I personally don't like it, I just have a Dressage 500 model but I find that seat is a lot more shallow.
On a side note... I wouldn't be keen on buying a second-hand Cair saddle, and always check the Wintec tree for cracks.