Model: 500 Dressage
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I ride gaited horses, and needed a good all around English saddle that fits both me and my horses. I used to have the previous style 500 dressage, but regretfully sold it. Five years and over a dozen saddles later (including a brand new Stubben that wasn't going to last), I went back to the Wintec 500 dressage. I purchased it from Hitching Post Tack in Kentucky for about $530.00. This included free shipping, CAIR, full gullet kit, gauge, leathers, irons, and girth. By far the best deal anywhere!
Likes: I'm not competing in upper level dressage, so I didn't feel the need to spend over $1,000 (or $2,000 or $3,000 for that matter) for a nice dressage saddle. I wanted something that will survive the trails and daily training without worrying about its exposure to the elements and my lack of time for cleaning and conditioning. I like the look of the saddle. It fits my horses and myself beautifully. The contact is superior to most any saddle I've had before and rivals the Stubbens I've had before. The Equileather is very grippy. The seat on this generation of 500 dressage is softer than the previous, but not too soft. I like the Equisuede knees. This saddle rides beautifully! I have several horses with various body types, and this saddle works on them all. One has a very wide back and I was worried about the gullet fit toward the back of the saddle. It was close, but the horse loved it. All my horses work their best in this saddle. They really move out, respond to cues extremely well, and best of all, seem very happy with this saddle.
Dislikes: I hate that this saddle is not made in the USA. This saddle came with the Slim Line leathers, which are nice. I'm not worried about breakage as some have stated because it has a nylon core. There is no bulk, which is awesome. However, it is very hard to pull the leathers through the bars while you are mounted. If several riders use this saddle, I would suggest using Webbers instead. The other thing is the leather keepers are cheesy looking, and I'm afraid to put my leather ends in them because it looks like they'd break.
Quality: The construction and quality of this saddle and fittings are outstanding, with the exception of the leather keepers. It's amazing how Wintec makes these saddles look and function so similar to their higher priced leather counterparts, when there are a lot of leather saddle makers who can't get it right.
Summary: I've been riding for 30 years and have used all the top brands, leather and non. I still have a few high dollar leather saddles for show, but there's no shame in this one. This saddle clearly gives you more than you pay for when you consider that not only is it a great every day saddle, but you can use this in all the weather conditions that would make you cringe if you used a leather saddle. If you're like me, and don't have the time to maintain a $1,000+ saddle, but want the quality and feel of one, this is the saddle I'd highly recommend!
Usefulness Rating: 3.4375 out of 5.
16 reader(s) voted.
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