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I hear Bates Saddle trees crack easily.

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  • I hear Bates Saddle trees crack easily.

    I am possibly buying a Bates Dressage saddle which is similar to the Bates Caprilli. I heard that the trees crack easily. Has anyone had experience with Bates saddles being ok or having a cracked tree?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Haleye5197 View Post
    I am possibly buying a Bates Dressage saddle which is similar to the Bates Caprilli. I heard that the trees crack easily. Has anyone had experience with Bates saddles being ok or having a cracked tree?
    Not mine, 13 years old and still in use.


    • #3
      Never heard that one before, nor seen it happen with a Bates over the last 20 of more years.
      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


      • #4
        I've owned a few over the years and never had any problems - one was sold to a friend who is still using it - must be at least 10 years old now!


        • #5
          Both of mine are completely fine. The jump saddle is about 6 years old, and the dressage is about 4.


          • #6
            I hope not!! I have a Bate Caprilli dressage saddle. I bought it used about 4 years ago and I have had no problems with it.
            I also love it


            • #7
              I got one off ebay that was probably more than ten years old. Never had problem with the tree. The screws attaching the gullet come loose from time to time though.


              • #8
                Me neither. Somebody must have dropped theirs, or otherwise abused it to start that rumour.
                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                • #9
                  Mine is good as well - it is 12 years old and even had my 17.2h Irish Draught fall on it and land right on his back. Mine is in great shape and my dressage instructor keeps telling me to keep using it rather than buy a fancy dressage saddle. It fits my guy well and fit him as he changed shape and grew.


                  • #10
                    The only issue with the integrity of the saddle that my coach had with hers was 1) the gullet plate on her adjustable saddle would gradually flatten over time/use and 2) the leather was too soft and with her slightly downhill/"horizontal pear shaped" mare, her leg was being sucked into a too-forward position, which then caused the leather to wear in the wrong spot, sucking her leg forward even more. She ended up selling it and I think she has a Collegiate Convertible now? The stiffer leather is way better for her and her oddly built little mare. Another friend of mine has that old Bates now, and it's still in beautiful shape and gets used almost daily. She just uses a Beval pad at the moment while her gelding puts weight back on/builds a topline again because the panels are a bit close together on him.
                    Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
                    Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe


                    • #11
                      I think the "Bates trees break" rumor is exactly that..it is just like such and such a saddle has the stirrups set too far back, such and such has the stirrups set too far forward, the sweet spot is too close to the withers, the sweet spot is too close to the cantle, the panels are too narrow, too wide, stuffed with fake wool which is better, stuck with real wool which is better, the flaps are too straight, the flaps are too forward, the treeless saddles will kill you, the treeless saddles are the best, the saddle is too close contact, the saddle is not close contact enough...Oh, and one of the best saddles in the world "always" puts "everyone" in a chair seat....so, go buy "fill in the blank" brand for 5,000 with blocks up the yin yang and all the bells and whistles...blah, blah, blah.. Just my humble opinion.

                      The Bates is a very well made saddle.


                      • #12
                        Nope. Not a rumor. My bates dressage saddle had a cracked tree. I only found out about it when I went to have the billets replaced. I bought the saddle new about 5 years prior and i never dropped it or had any horse accidents with it. Weatherbeeta (who makes bates) is notoriously hard to deal with, they refused to talk directly with me, the tack store called for me while i was standing there bates/weatherbeeta said that they've had to replace too many saddles due to cracked trees and are no longer honoring any tree warrenties. The owner of the tack store told me that it wasn't the first time they've had this issue with this company and they are so fed up with weatherbeeta that they stopped carrying any of their products.

                        This is just my experiance but i would tred very carefully with any bates/wintec/collegiate saddle. I loved both my bates dressage saddle and jump saddle but have since moved on to other brands.


                        • Original Poster

                          It's good to hear all the good things about them, but the few stories with the trees are pushing me away from the Bates saddles. I'm not sure which saddle to get!


                          • #14
                            Has Weatherbeeta always owned the Bates brand? It sounds like issues arose with the newer Bates - the ones with adjustable trees.

                            Or maybe I got lucky - my two Haute Ecoles are ancient - bought used in the early 90s - and are clockin' along just fine.
                            Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


                            • #15
                              I had a student with an adjustable gullet Bates and it cracked near one of the screw holes where the gullet plate screwed into. It was about five years old. Nothing weird or traumatic ever happened to the saddle aside from 2-3 times a year gullet changing.


                              • #16
                                There have been some issues with the trees, but mostly around the screw holes in the gullet area. It's common to either crack the area around the screw holes or snap the tree points off; most often happens when you're flexing the gullet area to accept a wider or narrower plate. And my dealings with Weatherbeeta re: repairs and warranty issues on the Wintec/Bates saddles haven't been the smoothest, sadly.
                                Kitt Hazelton
                                Saddle Fitter


                                • #17
                                  Well, the trees breaking due to gullet changing does make sense now that you put it that way.