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City Ponies
Aug. 4, 2009, 08:47 PM
OK so birthday time is rolling around the corner and good ol' horse show mom said she'd buy me a new saddle for the joyous occassion ;) This after 4 years of not having my own CC saddle, riding in whatever the owners' or barn's saddles were available while catch riding the past coupld of years. Well since Reno - which by the way was my 21st birthday present from her as a weanling - has now turned into quite a cute A/A hunter prospect 4 years later (ok, so we're on x-rails now :lol: ) Dear Mom wants to help Reno and I's future success in our show career at college with his "own" saddle... not really mine.. she just loves the horse more I think :D Oh and we're still schooling in my Wintec western trail saddle that I broke him in! :cool:

She gave me a budget and choice since I used to work at a tack shop I know what fits me, and I have a good idea of which of those will fit him, so I've narrowed it down to two.. but I'd like some experiences from COTH'rs if you don't mind. Oh and we have to buy used, which doesn't bother me, less break in time :)

My 'junior' show saddle was a Rodrigo pony that I fit into until I was 21, loved it, hated selling it, but I knew my butt would grow by the time Reno was of show age.. and I was right. But have always LOFF'D Pessoa's. So my first choice is a Pessoa A/O.

However, he's still a growing boy, being Halter/Foundation-bred QH I still am worried about him widening out in the next 2-3 years. He fits in a medium tree now, and I know older Pessoa's have the spring tree. He will never be wide enough to be a true "wide tree" horse. He's built like a WB or Appendix. So my second choice is Bates Caprilli w/ CAIR. They are awfully comfy to me too!

forestergirl99
Aug. 4, 2009, 09:13 PM
I would go for the Pessoa. I hate the Bates Cair panels, and my trainer hasn't seen them fit a single horse well. My horse is an Appendix, and it bridged horribly on him.

dghunter
Aug. 4, 2009, 09:17 PM
I have a semi-wide warmblood and have the pessoa A/O. I loff it. I would never buy anything else.

ex-racer owner
Aug. 4, 2009, 09:30 PM
I just bought a brand new Bates Caprilli, as my OTTB has outgrown his Stubben Edelweiss, which I just love! I went with the Bates saddle because I really liked the fact that I could adjust the gullet as he continues to grow. It is also super comfy! I will say that you should have a saddle fitter analyze the fit to make sure it is right for your horse. It is my understanding that when the fit is right, *most* horses enjoy being ridden in them, but if the fit isn't right, then they aren't happy. I personally have had to purchase a shim to insert into my saddle so it will balance the saddle on my lopsided horse. Other than my horse's imperfections creating an issue, I really do like the saddle and I think he does too.

Regardless of what saddle you buy, please have an experienced saddle fitter anaylze the fit for your horse. I was told that my "old" saddle was too wide for my horse, by my trainer, and almost bought a more narrow tree saddle for him. The equine chiropractor told me that my old saddle was too narrow for him, as he was showing signs of soreness, so as you can imagine, I wasn't really sure what to do. That's when I brought in an expert and discovered that my horse is a medium, almost a medium wide, and could possibly go as big as a wide as he develops his topline more and more.

spmoonie
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:19 PM
I voted Pessoa only because of the Cair panels on the Bates. Although, if you could get the Bates reflocked with wool, Id go that route.

On the other hand, for around the same price as a new Pessoa/Bates, you could buy a used custom. Thats what I did (I got a used County). In fact, before I got my county, I was trying to decide between the same saddles you are. If it was me, I would go the used custom route. The saddle will be have much better quality, balance, and comfort.

City Ponies
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:16 AM
I voted Pessoa only because of the Cair panels on the Bates. Although, if you could get the Bates reflocked with wool, Id go that route.

On the other hand, for around the same price as a new Pessoa/Bates, you could buy a used custom. Thats what I did (I got a used County). In fact, before I got my county, I was trying to decide between the same saddles you are. If it was me, I would go the used custom route. The saddle will be have much better quality, balance, and comfort.

Thanks and I'd love one, but we're talking used Pessoa or Bates, not new. Mom loves me and Reno.. just not that much!

superpony123
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:21 AM
I really wouldn't get either of them. If i HAD to choose, I'd go for the pessoa, only because their only con is that they won't last more than a good year or two if you ride consistently even if you take care of your tack in the best ways. but at least they don't have a bad rep for fitting the horse, unlike the bates, which i've heard a number of stories about. Heard the leather is like cardboard and the fit is not exactly preferable to most horses.

What i suggest is spending the same amount of money you'd pay for a new bates or pessoa, and spend it on a used high-end saddle (hermes, butet, devoucoux, antares, beval, etc). You will get MUCH more out of your money. about 2 1/2 yrs ago i bought a used devoucoux at a show. It is 9 yrs old and I can't even tell. It's extremely comfortable, super durable, and overall beautiful. (and I've been less than kind to this saddle on days where I left my brain at home. like forgetting to take my saddle off my pony when my friends and i decide to take our ponies for a swim in the river, a few summers ago. yeah, great idea. well, my saddle doesnt show any evidence of this sinful swimming). If you ride your horse everyday, You're going to find that you'll need to replace your pessoa within 2 yrs. And at that rate, you'll be spending quite a bit more money than originally planned, I'd think.

dghunter
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:26 AM
I really wouldn't get either of them. If i HAD to choose, I'd go for the pessoa, only because their only con is that they won't last more than a good year or two if you ride consistently even if you take care of your tack in the best ways

Completely 100% disagree with this statement. I ride 5 days a week, only one horse now but I used to ride multiple horses a day, 6 days a week. I've had it about 6 years now (I think-maybe only 5?) and it's in great shape. I also did not always take the best care of it (I was really neglectful of tack as a young teen :lol:)

City Ponies
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:43 AM
I really wouldn't get either of them. If i HAD to choose, I'd go for the pessoa, only because their only con is that they won't last more than a good year or two if you ride consistently even if you take care of your tack in the best ways. but at least they don't have a bad rep for fitting the horse, unlike the bates, which i've heard a number of stories about. Heard the leather is like cardboard and the fit is not exactly preferable to most horses.

What i suggest is spending the same amount of money you'd pay for a new bates or pessoa, and spend it on a used high-end saddle (hermes, butet, devoucoux, antares, beval, etc)..

I disagree as well. Bought my old Pessoa when it was 3 years old, and I used it for another 11, riding up to 5 horses a day, 6 days a week for 2-3 or those years.

And again.. NOT buying these new... have to find used ones. Otherwise, yes I would buy a used Tad Coffin :lol:

Across Sicily
Aug. 5, 2009, 01:50 AM
From what I have heard, the older Pessoas (like City's and dghunter's) were of much better quality than the brand-spanking-new ones. I bought a barely used GenX about two years ago, and promptly re-sold it (something about the Pessoa seats does not mix with my conformation, and it really tips my pelvis forward and swings my legs back... and they all do this. It's frankly quite irritating as I used to have my saddle "crush" on the A/O). I probably rode in it 20 or 30 times. Someone in my barn bought it and might ride in in once every 3-4 months. (Yeah... she's out a lot...) The saddle was nearly new when I bought it. Even if I loved Pessoas, I don't think I would buy this particular saddle. Even after such little use, it looks very USED. There is cracking on the panels, and the seat and flaps both look quite worn. Hopefully it is just cosmetic... but I'd watch out.

If I were you I'd take superpony's advice and go for a higher end USED saddle. The A/O is around $1800-2k depending on where you shop and you can certainly find a VERY nice used, even a demo! saddle in that price range. You will get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck and a saddle that will last for a ridiculously long time (if you take care of it, of course! :) ) Antares, Amerigo Vega, County, Devoucoux, TC, Beval etc. Try fine-used-saddles.com and http://www.allthebestusedsaddles.com/ <-- Beval's website for used saddles.

I mean, if you have your heart set on the A/O, nothing anyone says will deter you, but you should really consider alternatives.

mvp
Aug. 5, 2009, 08:21 AM
In your position, I'd cast my net wider than these two saddles. The quality in both Bates and Pessoa saddles is uneven. The fit of the trees and panels is also very different. That's also true within the Pessoa line, IME.

So when you are ready to buy, go get the actual saddles that seem a good fit for you and your horse (aka, your mama's most beloved equine grandbaby) and try 'em on.

You might just be please with plan C: Find the Bates model you dig and can afford. All their Elevation Hs, "Next Generation" and whatnot are confusing to me, but have a more conventional (and Pessoa like) balance than the Caprilli. If the tree works (especially front to back, 'cause you can change the gullets), and *if the shape of the panels work for your horse*, then you might buy one of these and have it reflocked with wool for a couple hundred bucks. An adjustable, well-balanced wool-flocked saddle is as mighty fine idea, and the one I'd buy.

Einstein
Aug. 5, 2009, 08:33 AM
From what I have heard, the older Pessoas (like City's and dghunter's) were of much better quality than the brand-spanking-new ones. I bought a barely used GenX about two years ago, and promptly re-sold it (something about the Pessoa seats does not mix with my conformation, and it really tips my pelvis forward and swings my legs back... and they all do this. It's frankly quite irritating as I used to have my saddle "crush" on the A/O). I probably rode in it 20 or 30 times. Someone in my barn bought it and might ride in in once every 3-4 months. (Yeah... she's out a lot...) The saddle was nearly new when I bought it. Even if I loved Pessoas, I don't think I would buy this particular saddle. Even after such little use, it looks very USED. There is cracking on the panels, and the seat and flaps both look quite worn. Hopefully it is just cosmetic... but I'd watch out.

If I were you I'd take superpony's advice and go for a higher end USED saddle. The A/O is around $1800-2k depending on where you shop and you can certainly find a VERY nice used, even a demo! saddle in that price range. You will get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck and a saddle that will last for a ridiculously long time (if you take care of it, of course! :) ) Antares, Amerigo Vega, County, Devoucoux, TC, Beval etc. Try fine-used-saddles.com and http://www.allthebestusedsaddles.com/ <-- Beval's website for used saddles.

I mean, if you have your heart set on the A/O, nothing anyone says will deter you, but you should really consider alternatives.

I agree, the newer Pessoas fall apart. You're better off buying a higher quality saddle. It will save you money in the long run.:D:D

MDPONYMOM
Aug. 5, 2009, 10:13 AM
Just my $.02 worth - DD just finished a fairly long and exhaustive saddle search. We felt like goldilocks and the three bears - too big, too small, too wide, too narrow, too flat, too curved... you get the idea. She tried two different Antares, two different County's, a CWD, a Prestige, a DelGrange, a HDR and a Pessoa A/O Jr. Pony and DD loooved the Pessoa the most. Go figure.... OP, if the Pessoa fits you and your horse best, go with it. FWIW though, she ended up going with the Pessoa Legacy XL Pony. Same seat and flap and panel shape as the A/O Jr, but really nice leather and slightly updated style. It is a gorgeous saddle for the price point. OP, take a look at the Pessoa Legacy XL or Legacy XP3 - those are the adult versions of what she got.

beesknees
Aug. 5, 2009, 10:38 AM
Has anyone ever heard of someone successfully removing the CAIR panels in the Bates and replacing it with flocking? I'm actually getting a little frustrated with my Bates' panels...the saddle itself is lovely! The leather is wonderful and its comfy...it is great quality--plus I like having the ability to change the gullets. I'm finding that it is bridging on my old OTTB and I think it's because the panels are too flat.

ponyxjd
Aug. 5, 2009, 11:02 AM
That's funny that you're between these two saddles, when I had a buyer lined up to buy my saddle, (which fell through :() I started doing some searching/research, and I was attracted to these two also.

What I found was that, like everyone's said, the older Pessoas are much better quality than the newer ones. There was a year that I found for when Pessoa went from Europe to South America about 10 years ago... (and this could all be wrong, I don't remember where I found this info) but I think most people agree that they're rather have a European made saddle than one from the Americas. Can't say anything about Aussie made saddles, but many reviewers did seem to have trouble with the Bates' fit. Are you planning on trialing saddles?

I agree that it'd be smart to expand your search a little. If you know what you're looking for, you can probably find a great deal with a little bit of patience. Personally, when I'm ready to buy, I'd like to try out some high end saddles, and then browse ebay when I know exactly what I want. I always drool over the Tad Coffins and Hermes I see on there. (Hermes Oxer is one I really want to try! There's one on ebay now... hmmmm...)

mvp
Aug. 5, 2009, 11:04 AM
I did it with Smith Worthington. Of course, I took the horse to them and that worked out best.

In fact, I bought the Caprilli (long ago) when it seemed just about impossible to find a wide-enough CC saddle with the intention of ripping out the CAIR POSs. The gussets in the panels allow you to do this.

Until my horse's back began to change in his mid-teen years, this bionic saddle was an excellent solution. I'm keeping it because I know it can be made to fit many horses.

chawley
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:49 PM
I disagree as well. Bought my old Pessoa when it was 3 years old, and I used it for another 11, riding up to 5 horses a day, 6 days a week for 2-3 or those years.

And again.. NOT buying these new... have to find used ones. Otherwise, yes I would buy a used Tad Coffin :lol:

I also disagree. I had a used Pessoa ( 2001 model made in SA) that I bought in 2003 that was used heavily until I sold it this year. That saddle was amazing....it not only held up well, but looked as though it was barely used. The leather was so soft and nice, and all the stitching, etc. was like new. I'm not sure about the new-new ones, but just because one wasn't made in England doesn't mean it won't be a good saddle.

beesknees
Aug. 5, 2009, 12:53 PM
I did it with Smith Worthington. Of course, I took the horse to them and that worked out best.

In fact, I bought the Caprilli (long ago) when it seemed just about impossible to find a wide-enough CC saddle with the intention of ripping out the CAIR POSs. The gussets in the panels allow you to do this.

Until my horse's back began to change in his mid-teen years, this bionic saddle was an excellent solution. I'm keeping it because I know it can be made to fit many horses.

Thanks for the info! I happened to have found a saddle fitter that's less than 20 minutes from my horse so I might think of doing this if I can find some money :lol: (common student loans! :winkgrin:)

FolsomBlues
Aug. 5, 2009, 03:43 PM
Get a saddle fitter and see which saddle fits your horse/pony. No point in spending any money on a saddle if it doesn't fit and only makes your horse uncomfortable. Get a saddle fitter that knows their stuff, 99% of trainers out there don't know a good saddle fit from a hole in the ground.

IsolaBella09
Aug. 5, 2009, 10:00 PM
I really wouldn't get either of them. If i HAD to choose, I'd go for the pessoa, only because their only con is that they won't last more than a good year or two if you ride consistently even if you take care of your tack in the best ways. but at least they don't have a bad rep for fitting the horse, unlike the bates, which i've heard a number of stories about. Heard the leather is like cardboard and the fit is not exactly preferable to most horses.

What i suggest is spending the same amount of money you'd pay for a new bates or pessoa, and spend it on a used high-end saddle (hermes, butet, devoucoux, antares, beval, etc). You will get MUCH more out of your money. about 2 1/2 yrs ago i bought a used devoucoux at a show. It is 9 yrs old and I can't even tell. It's extremely comfortable, super durable, and overall beautiful. (and I've been less than kind to this saddle on days where I left my brain at home. like forgetting to take my saddle off my pony when my friends and i decide to take our ponies for a swim in the river, a few summers ago. yeah, great idea. well, my saddle doesnt show any evidence of this sinful swimming). If you ride your horse everyday, You're going to find that you'll need to replace your pessoa within 2 yrs. And at that rate, you'll be spending quite a bit more money than originally planned, I'd think.

Totally disagree as well. I've ridden in Pessoas and know people whom have had Pessoas for years and they have not complained at all and their saddles look lovely. My friend had an A/O that he adored. He said it was super comforatble and a nice ride and was very adjustable to many different horses.