Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Close Contact with CAIR (View all Close Contact with CAIR reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: This saddle was for sale on Ebay but the title was misspelled. My winning bid was $275 - might have been higher had the make and model been spelled right. I bought this saddle when trying to fit my horse - I knew the gullet system didn't guarantee fit, but I was going to try anyway.
Likes: IT LOOKS LIKE LEATHER! I read it many times but didn't believe until I saw it. Yes, the saddle really looks like caramel colored leather. The construction seems to be quite good and it seems like a very sturdy piece. For a Wintec I was very impressed with the design of the CC - it looks much nicer than the A/P Wintecs IMO. I think it will wear pretty well and the billets are nylon-core so I don't think you will ever have to replace. The saddle is rather high-tech, actually. And I like that you can apply or remove the knee blocks, positioned as you want them.
Dislikes: Gullet changing not suited to frequent use, unless you like spending time and patience on those sorts of things. Also, I DON'T LIKE CAIR. That is my undoing with this saddle. It has extra bounce to it and while I can adjust to that and ride, I find myself very tense after riding. Like I've been internally compensating for this boingy saddle. I think CAIR is great but not for me. Due to the tree shape (flatter back) this saddle did not make a great match for my horse, but the CAIR panels did help alleviate the bridging. Lastly, the twist of this saddle is on the wider side. I didn't know I desperately wanted a narrow twist until I rode in this saddle, and had to adapt to that.
Quality: Without using this saddle a lot, I am guessing (but not positive) that it will have a good life span. The material really doesn't seem to break in or wear down. If you don't mind synthetic then I think it is actually a very good value on a good correct saddle. However when you are girthing up you might find that the flap scratches your knuckles a bit -- leather saddles don't do this.
Summary: A good saddle if the tree fits your horse and you both like the CAIR. I give a 3 of 5, 5 being a higher-price-point leather saddle. But for a first saddle, especially if your horse will fit the tree, this is actually a good buy.
Usefulness Rating: 3.22222 out of 5.
9 reader(s) voted.
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