I've been taking english lessons for about a month now and i've fallen in love with it. I have always been on a western saddle so its quite a change. While I don't have my own horse, i've been riding my aunts horse (Fox) off and on for the past 5 years. I can't do anything advanced on her, but I would love to ride her in english pleasure and just be able to practice my riding. Both me and my aunt think she would be very suited to english. I learn so many things in lessons and I can't work on them. Sooo i'm buying a full tack set for Fox. The timing is right as well because the tack store in my area is going on a blowout sale in a few weeks. I have researched just about everything I can research. My eyes are crossing. Lol. I have been to the stores closer location and have sat in the 18" wintec 500 a/p. I liked the way it felt and looked. Love that I will have a synthetic saddle, and the price is right. I also love the gullet system. Im a bigger girl, so it is still a little tight on me but it still has some room in the cantle. This is not a problem since im in the process of a major lifestlye overhaul and im losing between 5-10lbs a month. (already 70lbs down). So now the concern is how it will fit Fox. Fox is a 10 y/o half paint quarter horse. She is a big girl at about 16hh. She is foundation, but she carries strong thoroughbred blood from down the line. Im not an expert (or anything close) in conformation, but she has a full butt, a straight back, and (in my opinion) nice withers. Not huge, but there. I would trailer her to the store when I buy, but Fox doesnt trailer well and the store is pretty far away. Which is the next part of my problem. I'm pretty sure they won't make the trip to fox for a fit. And if they do it will be expensive and i'm on a budget. They will let you try it out, but you pay for the saddle before hand, and they seem pretty sketchy about the "perfect condition" thing. I'd be scared they wouldnt let me return it. I'm almost positive it will fit fox fine, but I would love to hear from others' experiences with the wintec fit. I will try to add a pic of her.
It’s never easy to tell from photos but it looks to me as if her back profile will suit a Wintec. She does hollow slightly behind the shoulder but hopefully not enough to cause you a problem.
Getting the gullet width right can be an issue but if you have a full set it’s quite easy. The way I do it is this. Get a roll of sticky tape. Put the first three fingers of your left hand on her nearside, about a handsbreadth below the withers, so the third finger rests against the back of her shoulderblade. Then stick a small piece of tape alongside your index finger. This marks the vertical position where the tree point sits when the saddle is fitted to the horse.
Now you can try each gullet on the horse’s back using the tape as a marker. The correct fit is one which sits in contact all the way over with no gap above the spine (that’d make it too narrow) or gaps as it runs down each side (too wide). This might sound complicated but in practice it’s a lot easier. Once you have the correct width put it in the saddle, girth up and run your hand down, between horse and saddle, from the pommel to the bottom of the flap to check for tight spots. Off the cuff I'd say she's Blue (Medium-Wide) or Red (Wide) gullet because of her shoulders. But I could easily be wrong!
Thank you for the input. I was feeling that the wintec would suit her back, but was getting a bit of nervousness about it. But that's just me. Its a big investment and I just want to make sure I get it right. :)
I agree with the above. Wintecs do really well with a horse that has a bit of curve to them. They work really well for high withered horses as well.
Also have to agree with fitting the gullet. I have the whole system and the gauge thing is not the best. With the way my girls withers and back are it doesn't give the correct reading. So I just place each gullet where it would sit when saddled up and see which one has the best fit.
Awesome. Another question now tho. So now im wondering if I should get it with cair or flocked...i am hesitant of cair because of what some people have said. I feel like maybe im not getting whats best for the horse if I don't get it. But then im like, "people have ridden with flocked panels with no problem for how many years?". So yea. Right now im leaning towards flocked. Im going to try and see if they would let me try a saddle. I don't think so tho. Also they may not have the flocked in store which means no gift card(which the store gives with saddle purchase) but I will probably spend the same money buying the cheaper flocked on doverysaddlery. Any advice on that?
I can only speak from a technical point of view. It's a lot easier to adjust the panel of a flocked Wintec than one with Cair. Cair saddles can be adjusted by laying wool over the top of the airbags but because there's less room in the panel it can be awkward, and flocking the rear is more difficult than the front.
Although you hear some horses don't get on with Cair, I've not come across one in real life. I have seen a horse who didn't like the proper airbag system (called 'Flair') because of the slight extra movement you get with those saddles.
I have never ridden in a CAIR saddle but from all reviews it's either a love it or hate it thing. Personally I went with flocked as it is easier to adjust and with a green horse if there was a bit of bounce I wasn't sure how that would go over. It is also cheaper but harder to find unless you buy new.
I bought mine used off ebay for half the price of the exact same used saddle at the tack store. It was very well taken care of and I'm sure it will last as long as I will be able to ride my current horse (hopefully at least 5-10 more years).
I will say the overgirth strap that is ment to hold the flaps down on the dressage saddle was a pain in my butt, it caught in my spurs all the time as I couldn't adjust it tight enough, so I cut it off.
I would look for a used saddle instead of buying new. Plus alot of people will throw in all the gullets they have as well when you buy used, which is a $90 value.
But don't be fooled about it being called easy change lol. It took me a half hour and lots of strong words. You basically pull the saddle in half and need four hands and two tools at once. So I told my girl to not change shape anymore.