Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: 500AP (View all All Purpose 500 reviews)
Category: All Purpose Saddles
Purchase: I bought a Wintec 500AP saddle in 2002 as I need a saddle with air panels for my cold backed QHTB, and a saddle that was adjustable for my young Percheron filly. I ordered it from Apple Saddlery, and paid about $1000CDN for the saddle with all the fittings.
Likes: This saddle has far exceeded my expectations; my older mare loved it (as did another TB and warmblood who both had sore backs) as the CAIR panels molded individually to their backs. The channel down the middle is very generous, so it does not put pressure on the horse's spine. The adjustable gullet system is a godsend, it is incredibly easy to change (I can do it in less than 5 minutes by myself... to those who have trouble, you need to make sure you are not cross-threading the screws), and have had only one horse whom it did not fit (the saddle bridged on this horse's back, and the owner eventually had to invest in a treeless saddle). My new TB takes a medium-narrow gullet, while my growing Percheron takes a medium-wide. I found a lot of people are not measuring the gullet sizes correctly, though, and are using too large a gullet for their horse.
Dislikes: After almost 5 years of use, I've only had a few minor issues: I find because my Percheron has a TB wither (go figure), I don't get as much clearance under the pommel as I'd like. Also, for long trail rides, I do get a bit of a sore bum.
Quality: This saddle is good-looking despite being synthetic; the equileather and equisuede look almost like the real thing. After heavy use, the stitching is still sound, no signs of wear on the billets, and there are no marks on the surface despite the heavy use on dense brush trails.
Summary: I would recommend this saddle to anyone who is looking for an affordable saddle that is nice enough for smaller shows, and durable enough to hit the trails with. It is especially good for growing horses, or those recovering from back injuries.
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
3 reader(s) voted.
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