Manufacturer: Wintec (View all products by Wintec)
Model: Caramel Close Contact w/ equi leather (View all Close Contact w/ equi leather Caramel reviews)
Category: Close Contact Saddles
Purchase: While scoping out the consignment rack on saddles during a sale at my tack store, I had found some lovely bargains including a Jaguar in good shape for about 700 dollar that regrettably didn't fit my horse. After unsuccessfully scavenging for a saddle that wouldn't completely break the bank I moved to the rack of new saddles. My friend pointed out an attractive close contact that looked more promising. I immediately recognized the colorful wintec tags attached sporting "EASY CHANGE GULLET" in huge migraine inducing letters and fell in love. I was surprised and a little "iffy" about a synthetic saddle, but by the end of the day it was on the counter at the front desk ready to be taken home for a trial.
Likes: As someone with obnoxiously long legs that tend to inhibit one's position in straighter flapped saddles, I loved the forwardness of the flap, it accommodated my leg beautifully. The saddle design puts me where it needs to be and my leg is as still as a rock on the flat and over fences-which, you know, tends to go over well with the judges ;). It fit my horse like a glove, and looks way more expensive than it was(which is always a plus when people are complimenting you on it). For those of you that aren't familiar with the Northeast there's not much variety. Mud. It rains a lot here, and although I'm now thankful to be at a boarding stable that has an indoor I was at the time boarding my horse at a place with no indoor arena. It was a lovely place..until it rained. Luckily for me, my saddle still looks brand new after trekking out in the mud to get that schooling session in. It's built to last, the medium gullet fits my 16.2 jumper and my friends 14.2 built-like-a-tank-and-I'm-not-talking-fat pony. OH! Did I mention that I got it brand new for roughly 300 dollars? My tack store was having a huge sale including a fifty percent discount on all new saddles. As someone who lives up to that typical cheap, bargain searching horse-owner, this made my day. The saddle itself retails for 599 brand new if you don't get lucky, still and excellent price for the quality.
Dislikes: With every good thing comes a bad, although we all saw this coming. This saddle is synthetic and a very attractive one, it's not as buttery soft as a lot of the high quality leather saddles-but I haven't had an issue with comfort at all. Although the equi-suede is far more grippy, and if you're looking for unsurpassed security then go with some very grippy leather or suede, I assure you though that my getting thrown to the base of an oxer was more so attributed to my getting ahead than the saddles material. I do not recommend the stirrup leathers however as they are stiff and absolutely awful to shorten or lengthen. I have yet to change the gullet as I haven't needed to, however I have been warned by others to either get new screws or purchase lock-tite if you are going to change it, as it can potential harm the horses back if the screws come undone later on.
Quality: Excellent balance, wears excellently-you can hose it off. Don't bother oiling or cleaning it with saddle soap. The color is great, and overall it doesn't look like a synthetic saddle.
Summary: An excellent, excellent saddle for the money. Great if you need something durable and long lasting, however I'd wouldn't and I'm not going to use this saddle for 3'6+ jumps, especially if you're going cross country or on a fast jumper course, either get the suede pro-jump or invest it good quality leather. If you're looking for something cheaper or to use as a schooling saddle, I'd recommend this without a doubt.
Usefulness Rating: 2 out of 5.
11 reader(s) voted.
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