Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: 500 AP- Flocked (View all All Purpose 500 Flocked reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle in 2010 new for $600. It was the only English saddle I had every ridden in and being new to the English world I liked the thought of the changeable gullet and synthetic nature of the saddle.
Likes: The changeable gullet allowed me to experiment for less money than buying and returning saddles. The gullets seem to have minimal difference in size when compared out of saddle, but you can see the difference once it is in place. I found it easy and quick (about 5 -7 minutes) to change the gullet just needing a screw drive of either type. The synthetic material is great. I have done jumping, dressage and multi 25 mile LD races and you would think I just bought it yesterday. I have yet to clean it other than a wipe down after a rainy or dusty ride. It does fit my Arab mare well and has a nice channel width for her broader back. She has never been sore or had it rub once even with minimal pads underneath.
Dislikes: While it fits my mare well and keeps her happy, I am constantly fighting my saddle for optimal position. It puts you in a forward position and can force a chair seat if you are not consciously keeping your leg back. It can also be difficult to keep your leg on your horse as it seems to want to keep your leg naturally a few inches off the barrel. Also, the changeable gullet can be deceiving since it only changes the gullet width, not the channel. I lucked out in that the channel width seems adequate for her, but putting in a wider gullet still maintains the narrower channel.
Quality: Very good construction for an entry level synthetic saddle. Has held up well to long hours on the trail and in the arena. Rain, humidly, sun etc...no wear is noticeable. It should hold value for reselling due to lack of wear. I have the flocked version and have not had to re-flock it yet.
Summary: Good entry level saddle, however if you can find a better saddle used it may be better to spend your money that way. Seat has no inherent "Stick" to it, so be prepared to build your base of support yourself. It did fit well with some gullet changes, but again it is misleading since the channel width stays the same. Be prepared to fight for your leg position in it since it is more forward. I think it is better used for jumping/cross country than trail riding or dressage.
Usefulness Rating: 2.9 out of 5.
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