Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Isabell with CAIR (View all Isabell Dressage Saddle With CAIR reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: Local tack store in early 2003; paid $857 with fittings and all gullets. Chose the Isabell for its comfort and flexibility since I ride more than one horse but only wanted to buy one saddle.
Likes: Love the Equisuede and appreciate the comfortable seat. It's just as versatile as I'd hoped, also, having fit the following horses: 2 quarterhorses, 4 thoroughbreds, 2 Arabians, and 3 Dutch Warmbloods. I had the wide gullet for all these horses, and I very carefully checked to make sure that even while seated the saddle provided adequate clearance and didn't rock. (I weigh 120 lbs, so I'm not the heaviest rider.) It's also very easy to care for; I ride three to four days a week and I've never had to do more than brush the saddle's nap with a damp cloth in the two and a half years I've owned it. Try THAT with a leather saddle! :-)
Dislikes: My instructor thinks it exaggerates my tendency to pitch forward. I don't feel it happening and don't see it when I glance in the mirror, but eyes on the ground might be seeing something I can't (or won't!). I also would prefer Prestige-like thigh blocks, as the soft and cushy pads act more like knee rolls than a thigh block no matter how I move them around with that very clever velcro system. However, it doesn't hinder my riding, I just want to be strapped into place by my saddle! Lazy, I know...
Quality: Excellent quality, never had a problem. One of the horses I was leasing spooked in the cross-ties and FLIPPED onto my saddle. Yes, the four-legs-in-the-air type of flip. The saddle came out unscathed, as did the horse, but don't do this at home, kids! :-)
Summary: I've ridden in many really nice leather saddles, including two customs (one of them a Lemke with buffalo) and a wonderful Prestige that fit great. I still like the Equisuede better than leather, and this is coming from a complete leather snob. Leather is much more beautiful, I like the ritual of caring for it, and it has that wonderful way of acquiring a patina...but leather doesn't help me hold a position like Equisuede does. Equisuede wins.
Usefulness Rating: 3.25 out of 5.
4 reader(s) voted.
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