Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: 500 All Purpose Saddle (View all All Purpose 500 reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle at Middleburg Tack Exchange, in Middleburg, VA for $250. It included synthetic leathers, irons, and two gullets.
Likes: This has become my favorite saddle. I've tried high and mid-level leather saddles, and several different Wintec models, but I keep coming back to the 500 AP. It's easy to maintain, of course, but that's not really why I love it. (I enjoy the smell of leather saddles, so taking care of them isn't a big sacrifice.) The comfort and correctness of the seat are unparalleled, in my opinion. I've struggled with "chair seat" for years, and the 500 is the only saddle in which I do not have to fight to keep my legs where they belong. It's also extremely comfortable, even for a middle-aged rider like myself. The Wintec 2000 AP is also nice (especially the equisuede seat), but the seat is much more forward than the 500 (much more suitable for jumping only), and I found that after long rides, my hips ached. The 500 gives me a nice, balanced seat from which I can do dressage, ride hunt seat, or hack. It truly is an all purpose saddle.
Dislikes: Once in a while, I miss having a leather saddle, but not enough to hurt after every ride! :)
Quality: I have had absolutely no complaints about the quality of this saddle. It's seen a lot of work, cleans up well, and is comfortable ride after ride.
Summary: For anyone who wonders how a synthetic saddle stacks up against the leather versions, check out Horse Journal's article on synthetic saddles from several years ago. They found that synthetics measure up in every way to the traditional leather saddles, and in many ways surpass them (especially in care and comfort). What was really eye-opening was that the synthetic saddles conformed better to the horses in the test than custom leather ones. I used to be a "saddle snob," and considered that "real saddles" were leather ones, but after riding in saddles by County, Albion, Stubben, Crosby, Passier, etc..., Wintec has won me over.
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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