Wintec Dressage Saddles... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 09-21-2009, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wintec Dressage Saddles...

Anyone ever use one? Comments?

Never used one? Speculation on quality, suitability, etc?

I have another thread in the Tack and Equipment Forum, with more info on my personal position.
Researching Dressage Saddles

In short, I'm thinking about investing in a dressage saddle. I don't have a lot of money at my disposal, especially since this is one of those "it would be nice to have..." items, but I have all winter (plus however long after that it takes) to save and shop. A leather saddle would be nice, but to get a name brand that I am familiar with and would trust the quality would be a couple of figures out of my price range. Used leather dressage tack, functional or otherwise, is almost nonexistent in my area. So, I'm looking at Wintecs, specifically the Wintec 500 Dressage.
I have ridden in western and hunt-seat Wintecs, and been pleased with the comfort for myself, and the saddles did fit the horses who wore them. My sister has a wintec western saddle that looks new after years of daily riding.

My main concern is the CAIR panel system. Yeah, it sounds like it would be comfy for the horse, but it also sounds like it would deaden the subtlety of any use the seat aids. Do the pros outweigh the cons here? CAIR panels are optional out of every catalog I have looked at.

Also, I see, with all brands, that some models have great, beasty, massive thigh blocks and padding, and others simply have a "normal" amount of padding on a fairly straight flap. Is the giant thigh block actually a "good" thing, or just a gimmick?

I plan on taking a road trip at some point before I get too committed to anything to my "local" tack store. They usually have a decent selection of used tack, including some dressage equipment.

Thank you for reading another rambling novel!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #2 of 34 Old 09-21-2009, 08:05 PM
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I ride in this Wintec | Dressage and this Wintec | Dressage at the stables I volunteer at. I like both of them equally. I like the equisuede on the Pro as it really gives me a nice "sticky" seat when I tuck my bum in. I can sit the bounciest pony trots :) The 500 is nice too, very comfy and pretty much the same cut I believe as the Pro.

I personally don't care much for the CAIR system. Only had one experience with it and it didn't work out.
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post #3 of 34 Old 09-21-2009, 08:35 PM
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I have a Wintec 500 Dressage Cair.

I like it a fair bit, but I guess it depends on what you want. I like the seat way better than the Isabel (I think its called) but I know people who prefer the other.

Its been a good saddle for me, never had back problems with my previous horses and I get backs checked out regularly - I figure paddock life has its wear and tear but there are never saddle related problems although I have heard of people having trouble with the Cair.

Its sturdy, light, comfy, all in all good. I sold basically all my horse stuff when I moved over here but I kept my saddle in storage because I like it, and I think its good to have for the future.

Of course there are better saddles out there, but as I don't compete in dressage and only ever really used it for training, i've never wanted a 'better' one. I'd recommend it.
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post #4 of 34 Old 09-21-2009, 08:49 PM
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I have the Wintec Pro dressage. The seat is a little hard and you're on your own for sitting properly since there's no huge thigh rolls on it to keep your legs back like there is on the Isabell Werth version. It's a decent saddle for the price I guess. For dressage I'd much rather have leather, but those are big $$.
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post #5 of 34 Old 09-22-2009, 02:22 AM
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I have a wintec all purpose and a wintec dressage saddle.. and I love them both. They are great.. and pretty easy to fit too.

Nothing lasts forever, so live it up, drink it down and laugh it up..

DanMan&&DanceHabit <3 <-- my boys, :) R.I.P. Banff ):
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post #6 of 34 Old 09-22-2009, 03:34 PM
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I have the wintec isabell that I really do enjoy, can't say enough about the quality of wintec saddles! I took mine to equestrian school, ride in it every day for five years and it looks brand new. :)

I also just got my first show saddle that is a bates elevation CC, and it has the cair system. Now for me, the CAIR has given me a whole new horse with a soft, elastic back. He's building topline and muscle like he never has before and lifting and using his back in awesome ways :)! He also is no longer back sore (as he was getting with the wintec), and I could NOT be happier with the system. He's actually MORE sensitive to my seat cues, imagine that?

However with that being said, I have heard of plenty of horses not liking it as many as the ones that do. It's like sneakers... I like New Balances, you might like Nikes. :)

Good luck!

Dressage in Jeans - My blog with dressage tips for happy, relaxed horses, specifically for those who ride dressage in western saddles, no saddles, cowboy boots, or jeans. ;) Also now with cute pygmy goat pictures! :P
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post #7 of 34 Old 09-22-2009, 10:12 PM
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I have a wintec Isabelle and love it! It is super comfy and puts you in the right position without feeling locked. I really like the Cair, I feel that my horse moves alot better in it. I too would prefer leather but I really like the syntetic. Good luck, hope it works out gor you!
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post #8 of 34 Old 09-22-2009, 11:53 PM
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I've ridden in both good/bad quality leather saddles, and have had alot of hours in Wintec dressage saddles.
I would say a Wintec 500 is a good buy if you don't have huge bucks to spend on a good quality leather saddle, as IMO a wintec is better than a bad quality leather. In saying that, you ARE left a little on your own in them, you'll want to have a good solid position, rather than some saddle which put you in a good position.
My coach rides and competes in a Wintec 500 dressage on her WB, this is a rider on the state squad, competing PSG/Iner 1 and training Inter 2/GP. She had a Jessica Trainers before and HATED it, her horse goes far better in the Wintec and her own back problems has resolved themselves after riding in the wintec rather than the Jessica.
I HATE Isabells though, each to their own, but I am of the short legged variety too, and found that the Isabell forces me into a position with my legs too far back, and makes me tip forward. Can't stand them, also found that it locked me in a position that felt so fake and forced, I couldn't move in it at all. For a rider just learning the ropes of dressage and getting their position going, it might be ok, but as a more established rider I like to be able to move in the saddle to change my position in order to influence my horse in different ways.

As for the Cair system, I wouldn't bother. It's extra money that could be spent elsewhere. Of the 11 people I know who leapt on the chance to gat a Bates/Wintec dressage saddle with the Cair system, 9 of them either returned the saddle or got it swapped to flocking because their horses were too sore from Cair. As you move in the saddle, the pressure changes on their back with Cair, and can make them sore, but with a well fitting flock saddle, the pressure is evenly distributed.

I also wouldn't buy a Wintec new, you are better off to buy a second hand one IMO, you can pick the up for next to nothing. I would ask your saddlery though if you would be able to try a few different Wintecs on your horse before you commit to buying anything, as some saddles just do not fit some horses, no matter how much adjusting you do.
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post #9 of 34 Old 09-23-2009, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the great feedback!

I've just come from a quick search on eBay and it looks like there are some great deals on almost all the Wintec dressage models. I'm thinking I'll go to a tack store and sit in one before I go ordering anything, and research the sizes and adjustment options more. My pony isn't too hard to fit (I've been very fortunate in having easy-to-fit horses and relatively non-specific size tack), but I don't want to screw up and order/eBay the wrong size for either of us.

Thanks so much, everyone!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #10 of 34 Old 09-23-2009, 06:53 PM
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I have ridden in the Wintec Pro and used to own the Wintec Isabelle. Neither with air.
I found the Wintec pro to be like riding on a nice slab of concrete that puts you in a chair seat. It did fit my horse fairly well, but after a week of use I actually had bruises on my butt from it.
I sold my Isabell the second I smartened up and realized that in order to "do dressage" you need a real dressage saddle, were it not for the high cantle, the huge thigh blocks and the fact I rode a horse with very little movement in it I would have been bouncing severely and in a chair seat. Although much softer in the seat than the Pro, the same basic construction issues exist, it tucks your pelvis in or lets it hang out (you can't sit straight up and down) and as a result you are put in either a chair seat or some weird straight legged position.
There are a few riders who ride in wintecs around here and those are the only two positions I see them in, no one can ride with a correct, soft, supple position in these saddles.
As far as the air, no matter the kind (CAIR, flare, DK, etc..) it basically acts like a springy cushion, which is awesome if you have a horse that feels like a jackhammer to ride. But otherwise if you have a horse with big loftly, flowing strides it just skyrockets you out of the saddle. Even if you have a horse with "normal" gaits you can't sit very well. And on most horses it never "fits" quite right because unlike wool, you can't minorly shape and adjust the flocking. This results in the saddle bouncing. 90% of air saddles I see on horses bounce, no matter tha manafacturer or how well it has been fitted.

Personally, were I looking for a cheap dressage saddle, I would look at used tack stores and find something that fits your horse ok, fits you well and re-flock it. I have a gorgeous, but ancient Passier for sale right now that fits a 10, doesn't have all that padding and crap for $450 or something stupid and no one will buy it. It's not even the cheapest dressage saddle at the store either.

Good luck!
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