Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Isabell (View all Isabell Dressage Saddle reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I acquired this saddle new about five years ago from a local tack store. I paid around $600.
Likes: The saddle is lightweight. The stirrup bars are set back and removing stirrup leathers is easy, unlike regular saddles which can be a battle. The gullets make the saddle adjustable to numerous horses. I have had two saddlers tell me this saddle is a good choice for your horse's comfort if you can't afford a custom saddle. The stickiness of the equisuede makes this saddle ideal for riding young and or rambunctious horses. As a vegetarian I also like the non-leather aspect. The equisuede does pack down, but contrary to what other posters have said, it does not wear off. You can wash the saddle and scrub it and the equisuede fluffs right back up. I show in mine so it gets cleaned up for shows -- whether it needs it or not ha-ha. This saddle has held up better than expected. I ride every day and I ride multiple horses and it has help up pretty well (see below regarding the tree) for five years. I find the saddle is pretty comfortable and puts you in a decent position. I don't like thigh blocks so its nice you can remove them. I love the convenience of having a saddle that can take some abuse. You don't have to worry if it gets rained on, or if it falls in the dirt. It doesn't get teeth marks like a leather saddle either!
Dislikes: The saddle tree has plastic points where it rests on the horses shoulders and sometimes they break and need to be replaced by the saddler (no charge courtesy of wintec, but I wish they were more durable in the first place). The billets are strangely short compared to other dressage saddles so you have to buy longer than usual girths, but not too long or your girth ends up buckling too close to the saddle pad. The saddle tends to put the rider slightly in a fork seat and sometimes that can be uncomfortable. I found the overgirth to be useless and just an extra step, so I cut it off. Make sure you get the right size saddle - slightly too big is preferable as I found this saddle can be very unforgiving when you don't have the right size (too small and the pommel will hurt you, too big and it can chafe). Riding in full seat breeches can be a bit much as the saddle is very grippy. I appreciate the flexibility of being able to use this saddle on different horses, but of course it does not fit them all equally well. It will rock on some. You can tighten the back billet to help that, but some horses have flat back and some have banana backs. I heard the Cair addresses this but have no experience with it. When these saddles first came out they made it sound like changing gullets is a breeze. Well its definitely easier than buying a new saddle, but its not so easy that you can do it between horses. I usually keep a medium-wide gullet in mine and that works most of the time.
Summary: I love mine and I highly recommend them. I would definitely buy another, but I don't understand why the pricing has gotten so high. They can't be that expensive to make. Whoever designed them deserves a bonus though.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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