So I know we're all stoked for Rolex (TOMORROW!!!) and the endless saddle threads are exhausting for all of you gurus, so I do so apologize.
I have never considered getting another saddle, since having mine for 12 or 13 years and I think I need to just come to terms wit hand realize that I have outgrown it, I grew a bit more and filled out a bit more beyond the age of 12 or 13 and my knee is threatening to go beyond the flap and I'm rather chair like. I'm planning to have DH take pictures this weekend to do a final evaluation to be super extra sure.
I have a 17" Bates Caprilli and I've really liked it, so soft and comfy and would like something equal to it or better, and would like to spend what I could get out of my Bates....possibly 1-200 more...if that makes sense. I know nothing of saddles in this range.
I looked on all of the used sites that I've pinned for safekeeping earlier today and got mildly excited about a Collegiate "Convertible" Diploma because it also has the gullet changing system and I read it had a flex-tree and it looks brand new but then I read horrible reviews for it on Dover and thought maybe that's why it looked brand new. There's the same thing as my Bates on eBay just larger and DARKER like omg so dark, you can see some of the original coloring in a couple spots, which I wouldn't be opposed to if that was thought be wise, the darkness was just so shocking lol.
Anyway, I am sorry for the novel, I am so appreciative of any and all advice!!
And if you like that old-style Bates Caprilli ride--which was great, closer to a PJ Delgrange deep-seated ride than the newer Bates Caprilli which is much more shallow--then yeah, the Collegiate Convertible is a good choice. It's basically cut from that same cloth as the old-style Bates CC, owned by the same company, built on a very similar tree but with wool flocking instead of CAIR panels.
My strong suspicion is that the three very negative dover reviews, all of which sound EXACTLY alike, are written by the same dissatisfied customer who just can't get enough of her own drama. If the saddle were as bad as she described, you should see equally crappy reviews on Smartpak. http://www.smartpakequine.com/colleg...x?cm_vc=Search
I personally think it's a decent saddle for the money and have recommended it to plenty of budget shoppers. Sure, it can't compete with a $2000 saddle, but I'd say it's right on par with many of its price companions at $1200: the Smith Worthington Mystic, some of the HDR Devrel series, etc. I think the Thornhill Paris II bests the whole lot of 'em in that price range, but that's a whole different beast: foam panelled, French style, fixed tree whereas the CC Diploma is wool flocked with an adjustable gullet. It's apples and oranges.
I know of a CC Diploma for sale privately, a 17.5", in very good condition. I think she's asking $750? I can't quite remember. No, it's not mine. PM COTHer FlashGordon.
I don't necessarily need the gullet changing....I have one horse and it was just nice when after a hiatus, the same saddle I had for my round QH could be used on my new TB, just a different gullet. I have her in the medium gullet. And I'm just panicking a bit because this was my first and only saddle that I grew up with.
I've not heard of Thornhill...Middleburg has a 17.5 Thornhill "Pro Trainer" in a med tree...says it's "modified?" Not sure what that would mean, listed at $195.
Would a 17.5" be enough of a difference? I've mostly just been jumping to 18" listings. I wish I didn't live in the boonies....I meant to put that in my original post.
I had a Collegiate convertible diploma for a year and sold it. After riding in older style collegiates forever I thought I'd like it. I hated it. The leather never broke in and was always slippery. It also tilted me forward and I never felt centered in it. I know a lot of people love them, but it just didn't work for us! After I sold it I bought a collegiate nobility and LOVE it. I feel super centered, balanced, and secure. Leather is sticky and broke in beautifully. Leather was a bit orangey when I got it, but I was able to darken in to almost Havana.