Collegiate vs. Bates??
Okay, so I have been window-shopping for saddles while saving up. I've finally got some money stowed away, and while I will need to wait until after Christmas to have everything, I've brought my selections down to just a few things.
Okay, so when I tried saddles out at a tack store, the Collegiates fit me best out of Corbette, HDR, and Stubben. They didn't have a Bates for me to try. Out of the Collegiates, the Parfaire was best. I have found it in different places for $600-800 dollars. But, I have also heard that Bates are nice, and when I do get the chance to sit in them, I never want to get off. They are so comfortable. I have seen a few Bates Caprili CC that I would get that fall within the same range listed above.
So really what I am asking is for personal experiences. Doesn't have to be with the same model as listed above, of course, I was just wondering how people felt about Collegiate, and how people felt about Bates. How is the quality? Do they ride well? How do they hold up? Just your overall review of the two brands.
Also, I have a 17" right now. This is me sitting in it -
Do you think I could fit in a 17.5" okay? Other people I've asked said yes, I'd be good in a 17.5, but wanted more input.
Thank you all in advance!! :)
I debated between these same two brands this past summer, and I ended up getting a Bates Elevation because I heard they tended to have straighter trees, and Finn is VERY straight-backed.
Overall, I do like my saddle and it's very comfortable for me to ride in, but it's not the perfect one. Will you be using this saddle on Cowboy? If so, are his withers pretty standard TB withers? Finn has those typical giant withers, and there just is not enough clearance on my saddle for my peace of mind. Now, it's not horrible, otherwise I wouldn't be using it, but it's definitely not perfect. I plan on eventually selling this saddle and getting one that is better-suited to my horse.
So that's my experience with Bates! I will say--have you looked at Marcel Toulouse at all? I was in Dover Saddlery about a month ago and was comparing a Bates saddle to a Toulouse for a friend who was looking at both brands. They were comparably priced, but the Toulouse really impressed me. I've never ridden in one before, but I would really love to try!
A slightly larger saddle is a good idea as you get older your hips will change and may expand a little. I noticed you are not down in the deepest part of the saddle. Be sure when you sit in saddles that your pelvis is in the deepest part. In the pic you could slide forward a couple of inches which would place your pelvis over your heels.
Ascertain whether or not the Bates ccs run 1/2" larger than stated size. The Wintec ccs do. The Collegiate Convertibles didn't as of 2 years ago.
I love my Collegiate. I hate the newer ones, to be honest. The leather doesn't impress me nearly as much as my older one. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit my horse.
I've heard mixed reviews with Bates. Some people hate the CAIR panels, some say they're stiff, etc, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Look into M. Toulouse. I bought a used Celine this summer that I'm very happy with. .
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Thank you to everyone that posted :)
HeyMckate - The saddle will be mainly used on Cowboy, yes :) He actually doesn't have quite as much wither as I've seen in other TBs, to be honest. He has a pretty straight back, but he goes in a medium tree just fine. I have a medium-wide right now and it's just a little bit on the wide side, but have tried him in med. and med. narrow, both with success. Thank you for your input!! I actually hadn't even thought of M. Toulouse - haven't tried them or anything. I will definitely check them out! :)
Saddlebag - Alright, that makes me feel better. Not to make excuses, not my intention, but I believe I am posting in this picture, not actually sitting, which would be why I wasn't sitting as forward. This is just the best picture of my saddle I have. Thank you, though!
Equiniphile - Thanks for the opinion!! Much appreciated :)
You need to try them on your horse. Bates and the adjustable collegiates are on the same tree, which is very flat. Won't work on my horses. The fixed tree collegiates are on a different tree, which is more curved--works on my horses. Put me in the camp that hates the CAIR panels.
ponysized - thanks for your comment! Yes, I agree, trying the saddle out is a must. I will likely not take a saddle I can't try out - I know the tack shop I'd like to buy from actually has a full 30 day trial, which would be really nice. After I pick something to try, I'll likely be posting pictures to ask about the fit :)
I own a Bates Caprillie Dressage saddle, it is so comiatable and I do everything in it on my stock horse. It fits him well and I dont need to use pads or nummnahs to make it fit well, it already does.!
He was girthy until I put it on him and now he just stands their.
overal their good looking, well made, well padded, strong, long lasting, good saddles. I find they are good for anything and at any level.!!
Personally, Collegiate is my favorite. I've heard that Bates trees tend to twist easily (I've just heard about it, so I'm not positive), but I own a 1999 Collegiate Regency close contact that I absolutely love. I haven't sat in any newer Collegiates, but mine is extremely comfortable, of good quality, and has kept up great through years of constant wear and tear (I rode it almost every day for years). Good luck purchasing a saddle!
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