Horse Tack Review


500 with CAIR
Dressage Saddles

For Sale on eBay

Manufacturer: Wintec
Model: 500 with CAIR
Category: Dressage Saddles

Purchase: I purchased the saddle on Ebay for about $435 US. This included fittings - webbers, irons with pads and 2 dressage girths - probably worth at least $150 by themselves.

Likes: I have owned several Wintecs but this was my first dressage saddle. I was particularly interested in this model as we own 10 horses of various 'hard to fit' shapes and sizes, particularly the wide, flat-backed variety with big shoulders. I had tried a Thorogood wide tree AP saddle but it still wasn't wide enough, allowing it to slide back and roll. The CAIR panels also seem like a good idea.

Dislikes: It was sold as a 17 inch seat and turned out to be a 17 1/2. I usually ride in a 16 1/2 seat all purpose or jumping saddle so I find it just a bit big for me but not a big deal as I'm more of a recreational rider anyway. A professional rider might notice the difference but I rode in it several times before I found the sticker that said it was a 17 1/2 seat. The Webbers are great. The Wintec synthetic stirrup 'leathers' which I bought separately are quite thick under your leg and sticky to adjust from the saddle. It's also a bit squeaky but I haven't figured out if it's the saddle, Webbers or my half-chaps that are the problem. Again, for my level of riding this is not a major issue. In dressage competition it might be distracting although I doubt if anyone but the rider even notices it.

Quality: I have had a problem with one of the tree points breaking while changing gullets. I haven't been able to have it repaired yet -the lifetime warranty on the tree does not apply to saddles bought used, so Buyer Beware! I feel this is a design flaw that hopefully has been fixed in the newer models. It broke where the screw that hold the gullet plate goes into the tree point. A new tree will cost $100 plus installation if I can find someone to do it without sending it to New Jersey. The saddle has very clean elegant lines. The knee blocks Velcro on so are very adjustable or removable - I've never bothered to put them on. I find it gives adequate support without them for the type of riding I do. The seat is firm, some may say hard but I don't like a soft, squishy seat. The material is very durable and doesn't mark easily. Apart from the tree problem it seems well-made.

Summary: Overall I like the saddle for appearance, comfort and versatility of fit. The horses seem to like it too. I think the CAIR panels are great and have made a noticeable difference in how my horses move. The broken tree is definitely a major problem with this model, though. I contacted Weatherbeata but they don't seem too interested in my problem so at the moment the saddle is collecting dust in my tack room {on the plus side it is very easy to clean).

Rating: 3

Author: Linda in BC,Canada

Date: 2006-08-24

Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.

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