Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Close Contact with interchangeable gullets and cair (View all Close Contact Saddle with CAIR and Changeable Gullet reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle from EQUUSNOW for $495 including the fittings plus $50 for the gullet set... so a total of $545. (BTW VERY fast, free shipping, excellent communication and nice presentation/wrapping of item-- highly recommend this company)
Likes: Prior to buying this product I read all the reviews and then some. I had ridden in a bates caprilli close contact all winter and loved it-- since I'm not exactly rolling in the doe, I wanted essentially the same saddle for a fraction of the price. So, I purchased the wintec close contact. This saddle is great! Some of the reviews I've read said that it wasn't comfortable or that the gullet set wasn't easy to change... I don't know what they were talking about! I find the saddle to be perfectly comfy-- I mean, I'm not sitting on a couch, but hey... I have a great feel of my horse and feel very secure. Regarding the gullet changing, it really isn't hard as much as it is awkward... The way you have to change it makes it so that you have to put the saddle kinda upside-down and the angel to put the screws back in is kinda odd.. but it didn't take a brute man to help me and it certainly didn't take more than maybe 15-20 mins (for my first time too!) I am pretty lazy and am not one for cleaning my tack regularly, so I love that this saddle requires little to no cleaning-- I was galloping threw the field the other day and when I was finished, my horse slobbered all over my saddle and all it took was a quick swipe of a damp cloth and I was done! The one thing I was really worried about was that it was going to look like a 500 dollar saddle.... it doesn't.. at all... it actually could be mistaken for leather... all in all, I am quite pleased with it!
Dislikes: The ONLY thing I don't like about the saddle is that the girth billets come with the holes kinda far up... however, that is a pretty easy fix-- just punch more holes! Oh, and I guess the other thing I don't like is that the stirrup leathers it comes with are very cheap looking.... I got new ones-- kincade caramel leathers match really well and are the right width for the stirrup bar as well.
Quality: I have only had the saddle for a few weeks, so I can't really comment on how it has held up, but from what I can tell it is made pretty well. Also, because it is by bates/wintec I feel confident that it was well worth the money and plan to have it around for a while!
Summary: For me, this saddle is great-- not only can I custom fit the gullet as to never worry about it not fitting, but with the cair panels I don't ever worry about my horse getting a sore back (yay! one less problem to think about!) Bottom line: If you have ever ridden in a bates caprilli and liked that, you should give this saddle a try. The bates saddles run between 1300-2000+ where as this saddle was literally less than $500... ride in it for 3 months and I feel you have made up your $$. In my opinion you can take this saddle in the show ring and be fine... the only downfall is the wintec logo on the stirrup leather keeper... that's kinda tacky, but whatever! All in all- LOVE IT!
Usefulness Rating: 3 out of 5.
10 reader(s) voted.
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