Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Close Contact (View all Close Contact reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I ordered this saddle from Dover Saddlery about six months ago (May 2005). I paid about $500, and it came with the full gullet kit. It has the CAIR panels and the adjustable gullet. I got it for my young pony. I wanted a good quality saddle and didn't have a lot of money to spend, and I liked the adjustable gullet feature.
Likes: I really like this saddle. It is very comfortable for me, and I don't usually even like forward seat saddles. It also looks great, if you aren't up close it looks like a real leather saddle. I like that you can change the gullets to help get a better fit and adjust the fit as your horse's back changes. I have recently gone up one size to a wider gullet since my young pony's back has broadened as she has built muscle. It seems to fit reasonable well and be fairly comfortable for the pony. It is very easy to care for, it requires much less cleaning and conditioning than does a leather saddle.
Dislikes: The gullets aren't as "easy change" as they claim. It took about 45 minutes of frustration to change the gullet when I first got it. It is definitely a two person job. It was a bit easier when I changed it again recently (I got a strong man to help). Despite the adjustable gullet and CAIR panels this saddle does not fit every horse. It does not go anywhere near wide enough for my broad backed Morgan. It works ok for my pony for now. She took the wide gullet when I got it last spring, and I recently had to change to the extra-wide gullet. If she grows any more it will no longer fit! And I do not consider her to be a particularly wide horse. It also seems like it puts most of the pressure not far behind the withers, and much less towards the cantle. I guess if I want a custom fit I will eventually have to splurge on getting a saddle fitted for her.
Quality: The construction and quality appear to be very good. I have been riding in it for six months and it looks very nearly brand new. The only marks are on the billet straps and underside of the buckle guard from the girth, and you can't see those anyhow.
Summary: I like this saddle and it is very comfortable for me. Just realize that it does not fit every horse. If your horse is wide this saddle probably will not work for you.
Usefulness Rating: 2.72727 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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