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  1. #1
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    Default Bates Isabell

    Has anyone tried this saddle?

    I've been looking at the specs and I would really like to try one. Unfortunately in my area you cannot test try saddles, so I would like to know what you think of it.

    I would be purchasing the new model, which supposedly corrected the issue with throwing the rider's legs too forward.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2006
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    3,505

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    I use the old one and I dont feel it throws it forward. I do feel if I brace it is not straight down, but I dont brace and voila!

    I LOVE this saddle.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  3. #3
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Default

    I have one. I like it for me, personally, although it doesn't quite fit my herd (not the saddle's fault!). It puts me in a much better position than my Passier GG, and I like that I can move the block. I'm relatively short/average from hip to knee, but long from knee to ankle, so a lot of saddles have a flap that is too long/block in the wrong place for my conformation.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  4. #4
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    Default

    Do the old saddles have the flexibloc system?

    Its actually one of the things that attracted me the most. I feel I have a really weird leg, and at least this way I can adjust the placement of the knee blocks.

    NOMIOMI1, what do you mean with brace?



  5. #5
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    Oct. 13, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCMSL View Post
    Do the old saddles have the flexibloc system?

    Its actually one of the things that attracted me the most. I feel I have a really weird leg, and at least this way I can adjust the placement of the knee blocks.

    NOMIOMI1, what do you mean with brace?
    Like standing in my stirrups... But most saddles allow you to put your leg forward if you push against the stirrups incorrectly.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/



  6. #6
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    Oh ok. I don't do that either so there shouldn't be any problems!

    Oh I'm so happy! I've been looking for the right saddle for so long...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
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    Default

    Bates trees have known problems with cracking at the tree points, and many times with very little use. I had one break after 6 years of very infrequent use and indoor storage. Never ridden in before i bought it. It took them a year and much headache for me to get it fixed, and i still had to have the panels put back on myself because they attached them crooked and refused to even look at pics, much less fix their mistake. I will NEVER buy anything from them again.

    Aside from that I hate how the isabell rides. It tips many people forward onto the crotch which can be quite painful. I've also seen several that have not worn well. The leather looks rough even with good care.

    My verdict, save your money. They are overpriced for the quality, even used. You can get a passer, kieffer, stubben, Albion, barnsby or any number of other actual quality brands for the same price, if not less.



  8. #8
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post

    My verdict, save your money. They are overpriced for the quality, even used. You can get a passer, kieffer, stubben, Albion, barnsby or any number of other actual quality brands for the same price, if not less.
    I have a Passier and a Delgrange, currently, and have had Kieffer and Albion previously.

    I like the Bates better, and the quality is more than adequate for the price.

    To each, their own. It's unfortunate that you had such a bad experience.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  9. #9
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    Mar. 15, 2007
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    (throw dart at map) NC!
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    I've ridden in the old Isabell and the new Isabell. I *loved* the old one (yes, it had the flexiblock system) and I enjoyed riding in the new one as well. I like the narrow twist, the low profile on the horse (I feel close to the horse in these saddles, and liked that there wasn't much between my leg and the horse) and where it puts my leg.

    The tree points will break - mine broke - but last I checked there was a lifetime guarantee on the tree and Bates fixed mine for free. They paid for the shipping, too. I rode in a lot of saddles and I still liked my old Isabell.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  10. #10
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    NW Louisiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Lu View Post
    I've ridden in the old Isabell and the new Isabell. I *loved* the old one (yes, it had the flexiblock system) and I enjoyed riding in the new one as well. I like the narrow twist, the low profile on the horse (I feel close to the horse in these saddles, and liked that there wasn't much between my leg and the horse) and where it puts my leg.

    The tree points will break - mine broke - but last I checked there was a lifetime guarantee on the tree and Bates fixed mine for free. They paid for the shipping, too. I rode in a lot of saddles and I still liked my old Isabell.
    They define lifetime as 10 yrs and the warranty only applies if you purchased it new and still have the original receipt. You now have to pay shipping both ways as well.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hampton Bay View Post
    They define lifetime as 10 yrs and the warranty only applies if you purchased it new and still have the original receipt. You now have to pay shipping both ways as well.
    Really? Huh. I didn't purchase mine new, it was a demo model. Who knows where the receipt went. Well this is good to know - thanks! And too bad.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  12. #12
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    I would be buying the saddle new and I don't think I'll be keeping it for 10 years, I'm sure before that I'll find a saddle I prefer.

    The only thing I'm worried about it pushing me too forward, as Hampton bay stated...


    Between the new and the old, which one do you prefer?



  13. #13
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    Nov. 13, 2007
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    If buying new expect to lose bout 2/3 of the value on resale. These don't hold their value well at all as so many end up resold. Either model will tip you forward. They are also pretty specific in the shape of horse they will fit.

    Never ever buy a new saddle you cannot try first. If you hate it you will be out a good chunk of change.

    Demo saddles will also still carry the factory warranty. A decent tack shop will keep records of saddle purchases. The one that sold mine did not and wouldn't really go to bat for me after the first time they returned my saddle without fixing it.



  14. #14
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    Thats the thing, we cannot test try saddles in my area.

    My questions was more about the new and the old models. Either way I'll have to buy it new, nobody really uses bates saddles in my area!



  15. #15
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    I'm going to disagree with some of these posts.

    The Isabell saddles do NOT tip people forward as a rule. Properly fitting the gullet plate ensures that this doesn't happen. I rode in the old Isabell for YEARS, had GP level clinicians ride in it, had it looked at in terms of fit for my horse by an Albion and a County rep, and never had a problem.

    SCMSL, PM me and I'll send you a link to a couple of rides. You can decide if I'm tipping forward or not.

    I prefer the older model because you can move the knee rolls around or take them out all together. Some riders really LIKE the less-is-better knee roll. The newer model sort of held my leg in place better, which was nice in the larger moving horse I was riding - I will admit.

    SCMSL, places like dressage extensions WILL mail demo models. If yo ulike it, you keep it. If not, you mail it back. I suggest checking them out.

    Good luck!
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  16. #16
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    I prefer the older model because you can move the knee rolls around or take them out all together.
    I think the new model has the flexibloc system as well. So I didn't really understand what you meant...


    SCMSL, places like dressage extensions WILL mail demo models.
    Yep, but I really doubt they would send a saddle to Europe!

    I'll have to buy one to see how I feel in it. In the paper it sounds really nice because it's so adaptable... actually, thats the main thing attracting me to this specific saddle.



  17. #17
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    Hey,

    You are RIGHT, I was thinking of the Innova. I'm sorry! That was the newer saddle I rode in.

    Try calling Dover or Dressage Extensions and asking them about demo models being sent to Europe. THey may charge you a bit more but if you don't need the saddle TOMORROW they might be willing to work with you regarding a decent shipping price. It can't hurt to ask.

    Good luck!
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation



  18. #18
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    I can't comment on the newest Isabelle model, but I rode in the "older" model for several years, and found it a very well balanced seat and a well made saddle for the money. I got the "smooth leather" option, which was a nicer quality leather. Never had any problem with the points - and I used it on different horses. I finally sold it because the panels were just too long for my very short coupled horse. I also had an old Caprilli AP saddle that we started a ton of youngsters in - also never had any problems with the tree points. That saddle must have been 10 or more years old.

    I think the Isabelle is a very well balanced saddle if it fits your horse right - but like ANY saddle, it won't fit all horses or all riders. The seat is pretty deep - so if you don't like a deep seat you won't like the saddle.

    I loved the Innova seat - less deep, nicely balanced, but I hated those fixed Flexiblocks - if you don't like your leg locked in place, you probably won't like that saddle. I liked the seat enough to ask a regional saddle maker if he could take off the Flexiblocks and put in "regular" knee rolls - he said it would cost almost as much as buying another saddle.

    I still have a Wintec version of the Isabelle - it is no longer in full use (I rode in it before getting the leather one), but I keepit around because it is a nice saddle that fits a lot of horses well.

    I think, for ANY saddle you look at, some will love it, some will hate it. There isn't a saddle out there that doesn't have some bad PR. Reality is, saddle fit is very personal - and the saddle has to fit both YOU and your horse for it to work!

    As for losing value - ANY time you buy a new saddle, it loses substantial value when you take it out of the store (kind of like a new car) - so if you suspect you'll be re-selling, buy used to start with.



  19. #19
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    Jun. 16, 2012
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    I'm siding with Bates on this one. I don't have the Isabell(Hoping to try it, and if I like it, I'll buy it) but I have the Elevation DS Long Flap, and the leather quality TOP NOTCH. Perfect leather!! I have cleaned it, conditioned it, and saddle creamed it religiously, and it looks almost Brand New! I've had it for a year, its broken in immediately, and fits me awesome!! Love the leather on this saddle, and thats why I'd like an Isabell if it works. Just saying that if I could- I'd buy Everything I have Leather in the Bates Leather!! Its heavenly soft, and supple, geez! It works great for me, and the Cair panels, Every horse I have put it on Loves them, one suddenly grew Flying Lead Changes with them!! haha!! Wasn't my horse, I was taking a clinic with Lellie Ward, and the mare I borrowed threw a crow hop, and started doing flying lead changes!!! her owner start apologizing afterwards, saying she didn't know what got into her, and that she didn't normally have changes, and I laughed, she was a blast!!
    ~Buy an OTTB, Save a Life, Gain a Forever Bond.~
    Let's say NO to Kill Buyers



  20. #20
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    Jun. 16, 2012
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    Oh, and I got my saddle on MEGA sale, I could actually MAKE money by selling it now, haha!! Never happening, just sayin! I love my saddle!! I'll use it until the billets fall out, and then I'll replace them!!
    ~Buy an OTTB, Save a Life, Gain a Forever Bond.~
    Let's say NO to Kill Buyers



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