Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Close Contact (View all Close Contact reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I paid about $450 for this saddle from Dover Saddlery two years ago.
Likes: This saddle is virtually indestructible. After showing in very muddy conditions, all I've had to do is hang it up on a rack and hose it off. The fake leather on this saddle is very real-looking; I've had people at my barn compliment the saddle and not believe me when I tell them it's not leather. The color is nice, and once you get used to the feel of the flat seat, it's quite comfortable. I ADORE the gullet system; it's not difficult to change gullets at all once you've had some practice; it now only takes me about five minutes and it's a nice feature that makes the saddle fit lots of different horses.
Dislikes: I recommend lots and lots of Sadl-Tite or something similar for this saddle, because the fake leather is extremely slippery (and doesn't break in to become less slippery, like leather does). <- This does help your riding, though - when riding a friend's horse in her leather saddle, my position was ridiculously solid after lots of no-stirrups lessons in my slippery Wintec. The adjustable knee blocks are pointless; they just add bulk under your leg since there are already permanent knee rolls. I don't like the fact that there are no thigh blocks, since this saddle makes your lower leg slip back a bit. If you buy the matching Wintec stirrup leathers, it's nearly impossible to adjust them while on the horse since they're so stiff. One more thing: It's just a cosmetic issue, but I find the "Wintec" logo on the stirrup keeper to be ugly...I heard that it's removable with a razor blade and I tried that, but it leaves an even uglier gluey residue so it's better to leave the logos on.
Quality: Construction is awesome...as I've mentioned, the saddle's pretty much indestructible and doesn't scratch easily. It's very nice to have if you don't have a lot of time to care for tack, because all you have to do is wash it with soap and water. Billets and stirrup leathers are quite stiff, though.
Summary: Very nice saddle with a few minor issues. It's pretty slippery, so I wouldn't feel comfortable jumping over 3' in it, but for light riding and jumping, it's awesome.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
8 reader(s) voted.
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