Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: Purchased new saddle in a saddlery in Australia in about 1987. It was very cheap, definitely under $500au. I was riding in the All Purpose Wintec (may have been Equitec in those days)in my profession for beach work, and decided that I needed one for personal use on my pure Arab whom I had started taking to the beach. Work had about 5, with med and narrow gullet. The narrows were like riding on a pole! Mediums were OK.
Likes: Now 20 years later: Saddle had signs of wear under the leg & I thought 'time to upgrade'. Tried numerous saddles but none are anywere near as good, so I have just arranged for this saddle to be returned! (the new owner of one of my horses wanted the matching tack). Used on various horses (with gel pad) incl TB, Lipizzaner Warmblood, Arab. ALWAYS puts me in great position with Excellent balance. I never touched my high quality leather saddle again, as the FEEL of the horse through this Wintec is amazing - (like having a wetsuit between you and the horse). I used it with great success for all official dressage competitions and trained piaffe etc. beautifully. Fantastic. I also like the normal OLD STYLE girth system! (too many horses have bucked under the new 'Y' girth system). The synthetic material gives PERFECT 'grip' to the riders seat whilst the smooth under-leg inserts allow the legs to slip over into various positions easily.
Dislikes: The panels bridge (tend to have a slight gap at the centre, and slight pressure points at front and rear on horse (as shown by sweat on horses backs). I ALWAYS use a gel pad under the saddle, combined with a saddle cloth containing thin felt or padding which is at least 0.5cm deep. Countless horses with no back problems attest to this working OK. One horse trained for years using this saddle only, to standard of piaffe etc.
Quality: Synthetic. Wet-suit type material all over, with smooth inserts under the legs(in the Bates Wintec website the manufacturer actually says it is wetsuit material). Considering the bargain price: Very Good quality which has had frequent use (at least 5x/week for about 16 years)
Summary: Amazing saddle gives the rider natural balance and dressage position. Wish they still made them, maybe with improved panels. I'd buy another in an instant. BEATS any other saddle I've ever ridden in (wins over Stubben Tristan -one of which was lovely but hard seat!; Peter Horobin: All Purpose, Pirouette & Grande; Kieffer: Grand Prix & Wein & Ulla Salzgeber & Genf; Jessica Trainer; Bates 500, Isabell Werth.) Isabells old trainer used this exact model - that's how they came to develop the 'Isabell'!
Usefulness Rating: 3.2 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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