Bates Saddle Review: Is Bates Hunter Jumper Saddle Any Good?

Bates are a well known manufacturer of high performance saddles. They design and make saddles for dressage, jumping and even have a dedicated wide fit selection. They have a history of producing saddles using innovative technology, which are lightweight and comfortable for both horse and rider. They are the official saddle of the US Eventing Association, which they couldn’t be unless their saddles were exceptionally high quality. What do I think about their saddles? Read my full Bates saddle review.

Bates Saddle Review

Bates Hunter Jumper Saddle 16.5
  • Short triple girth points
  • Medium deep seat
  • Adjustable Flexibloc system
  • CAIR panels
  • Features EASY-CHANGE Gullet System and includes Medium Gullet Plate

The Bates Hunter Jumper Saddle is a serious saddle, for the serious Hunter types. It is made for the rigors of hunting and jumping, and will stand up to any amount of abuse. It is very easy to fit perfectly to your horse, meaning that he will be comfortable and so will perform better.

Bates saddles provide the ultimate in close contact between horse and rider, making it super easy to get that communication between your horse and your leg. Traditionally, jumping saddles have focused on rider position rather than comfort for the horse, but this is actually detrimental to your horse’s performance – you can be in the best position you can be, but if your horse isn’t comfortable then he can’t perform well.

Bates’ saddles make sure that your horse’s comfort is taken into account as well as rider position, making their saddles a great bet for a good partnership between you and your horse.

What Am I Buying?

This is a stunning saddle, there’s no doubt about it. It features a revolutionary cushioning system, along with a gullet that is super easy to change. There is even an adjustable Flexiblock system that allows you to adjust your knee and thigh support – you won’t find this on most saddles!

The CAIR cushioning system allows your horse to be comfortable as it evenly distributes the rider’s weight, so there won’t be any sore spots hampering his performance. The padded knee inserts stabilize your lower leg at the same time as allowing you extra grip, while the innovative Girth Point system increases safety – even on hairy rides there is no danger of this saddle slipping.

How Comfortable Is It?

The French style seat is extremely comfortable; it is generously wide at the seat and narrow at the waist to allow your weight to sit comfortably. It is also incredibly comfortable for your horse, especially with the Easy Change riser system which allows you to adjust the saddle depending on your horse’s current weight and muscle condition. There aren’t many saddles that allow adjustment based on the season, or amount of work your horse is doing!

Most users (the riders, that is – horses can’t type reviews) report that this is a “super, super comfy” saddle – if that’s not a good accolade I don’t know what is! Everyone also loves the fact that you can adjust the saddle really well to suit your horse’s individual shape.

What Comes With It?

All that’s included with this package is the saddle, and its adjustable risers and gullets. But to be honest, what more could you need? Ok, it may be nice to receive a complementary girth or set of stirrups or something – but when you buy a saddle it’s nice to use accessories you are already familiar with.

Bates Saddle Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Ergonomic stirrup bar – Like other features on this saddle, this feature allows closer contact between leg and horse.
  • Easy to adjust for comfort – You can change almost everything about this saddle to suit both yourself and your horse.
  • Supportive seat – When riding, and especially when hunting, you need a saddle that you can stick to like glue.
  • Quality brown leather – No expense is spared with the materials that make up this beautiful saddle.

Cons:

  • Needs careful looking after – This saddle will benefit from being cleaned after every ride, and kept safe from damage, to increase its lifespan.
  • Takes a while to break in – This saddle needs a good few rides before it moulds itself to you and becomes more supple.

Final Words

If you are looking for a good, heavy duty Hunter saddle then this is the one for you. Hunting can be a rocky ride, so you really need a saddle that is as comfortable for your horse as it can possibly be so that he can do his absolute best for you, and this one comes with so much that you can adjust that you can be certain it will fit your horse well, even throughout all the seasons and different body shapes that come with them.

It’s also a really good saddle for sticking to – you shouldn’t find any problem hanging on, even when going over big obstacles that might unseat you if you were in a different saddle. Bates and Collegiate saddles are actually two brands which do that very well.

Having a saddle that allows a really good, close contact between yourself and your horse is what we are all looking for. When you can clearly communicate to your horse with your aids he will be far more likely to do as you ask – and with this Bates model you are getting just about the closest contact you can get, without actually going bareback.

Where To Buy?

Sam Ellis
Sam is a founder and editor of Horses & Foals. In personal life he is a proud father of a boy and twin girls. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of horse riding. Horses make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.


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