Hey guys, I might have to get a new saddle soon. I currently have an HDR advantage synthetic AP and I absolutly love it. I really like synthetic because I am rather lazy when it comes to cleaning, am on the poorer side when it comes to budget lol, and I like to be able to run around in mud and rain and not worry about ruining the leather. I was looking into a close contact saddle but the only ones I can find out there are the wintec one and a thorowgood one, and I was wondering what you guys think of wintec? My local tack shop used to sell it but they recently stopped... that plus a lot of negative comments I have heard about it are making me think they are crappy? Also, my horse is an appaloosa with a wide back and low wither.. if you have ever used a wintec close contact saddle, do you think that the overall shape of it would fit? Or is it more for slimmer horses with higher withers?
I don't like the look that much, but I had one and I think personally it was fine. I'm strongly against the Western wintec, but from what I know English one is OK. However I also was told they are pretty slippery to ride so if you loose the balance - you loose the balance. Not sure it's true though, because I never noticed that...
It's interesting though - just came to my mind, but I took lessons in several barns and NEVER seen Wintecs as lesson saddles. Not sure why.
Mine is an all purpose, its comfortable, versitile, easy to care for, durable, and just a wonderful saddle. You do need good balance with them, but they are not very slippery. I love my saddle, its probably the best buy I've made. Our entire endurace team (all 7 of us) use a wintec! And we really put our saddles to the test!
When it comes to fitting your horse, wintecs offer a gullet changing system. They all come with a medium gullet, and you can buy either the whole kit (i didnt, it was a bit expensive-seeing as im never going to use ALL of them.) or buy the one you need idividually. You can use a gauge to find out your horses size (my local tack shop let me borrow their's).
Go for it! I have nothing but good things to say for Wintec. :]
I ride, train and compete in my Wintec 500 A/P with Cair and I love it!
It is a very comfortable saddle, easy to maintain and take care of and a great saddle for those like us, on a budget.
Wintecs are made by Bates. They are made on the same production line, same exact designs in the same building in Australia.
My TB is a very difficult fit, being an A symetrical shaped back - high narrow withers with a wide broad back.............I would either have to find a saddle to fit his back and go with a wither relief pad, which in the long run caused negative effects to his back and muscles. Or I'd have to go with a saddle to accomodate his withers and end up breaking my saddle because it couldn't accomodate his back.
The Wintec is the only saddle that could accomodate both, until I get the money to go custom. I do like the Bates in black *because I use only black tack* and considered going to bates, but then I thought why bother because I have the same exact saddle, just synthetic instead of leather.
I have competed at many HT's with my saddle, Dressage Shows and I've Foxhunted in it. I've ridden in the rain, in the snow, in the sun and wind - and the saddle has always been comfortable and sturdy.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my wintec.. It's a Wintec 500... It's perfect because you don't have the responsibility of cleaning it all the time... and they are very comfy.. for me and the horse!! If your on a lower budget I would definitely. Get a wintec.. My trainer loves them too for when your on a lower budget.. because there still a great quaility saddle.. just for lower price.. = )
I love my Wintec...I also have a Bates and I use the wintec on trail/when I ride in crappy weather/when I let other people ride so I can keep the Bates in good condition. I have the VSD all purpose (It has a longer and more cut back flap than the regular all purpose).
The only problem I have is that after long periods it starts to hurt my butt. The material doesn't really "break in" per se, so the flaps are always pretty stiff too, and can be slippery when they get wet. Definitely more slippery than leather, even dry.
Also, the twist is a lot wider than I'm used to, even though that might just be because I'm used to riding in a close contact. I'm pretty sure the Wintec and Bates are made on the same tree though, so the twist should be narrower in the close contact.
I have a draft cross with low withers and a wide back, and the changeable gullet has saved me from having to buy about 4 different new saddles. When I got him he was in the medium, and now he's all the way up to the wide.
Haha it might have seemed that I had a lot of negatives about it, but when I couldn't afford another expensive saddle, I wouldn't have chosen anything other than the Wintec. I'd rather have a few cosmetic things that bother me than have to worry about whether the saddle was going to fall apart underneath me. Mine has gone in the ocean, gotten hung up on trees, been snowed and rained on, left out in the sun for days (forgot it on a fence when I went on a hunt) and it still looks like new, and is in physically great condition.
High quality for a low price! (Rare to impossible to find otherwise without sacrificing A THING!...except leather haha)
Wow, seems like you guys really like these saddles! I would LOVE to get another synthetic... I hate cleaning tack and I would be so afraid of destroying a leather saddle lol. My only concern is fitting it to my horse. She has a very low wither and a wide back, she's almost a rectangle lol. They seem very similar in shape to the one I currently have that doesn't fit well, and I might have to do a bit of driving in order to find a wintec saddle. Has anyone used one on a horse with a similar back to mine?
My guy has a really wide back...it fits him well. They have really wide panels so it distributes the weight nicer of their back. If anything, I'd say it fits a horse with a wider back a little better than one with a narrower back. In any case, I'd still try it on her before you buy it. I attached a picture of my guy...it's kind of a stupid picture...but you can atleast see how WIDE he is.(he's obviously not as wide as it looks because he has a lot of winter fuzzy, but you can see he's pretty flat backed)
I Love my wintec. I would never go back to leather.
Mind you I have the older model aussie saddel but after eight years it is still going strong. It has been through hell and back and still looks brand new. My horse has picked it up and thrown it acroos the ground and it didn't even have a scratch on it.
Also to anwer your question on the saddle fitting. That is the next best thing. They can always be adjusted. They have diffrent gullet sizes if you like the saddle then all you may need to do is just change the gullet.
I agree with what everyone above says. I have multiple Bates and Wintecs and have had great success with all of them. They have the Wintec CC which is more of the synthetic material rather than the equi-sueded synthetic, and the Pro Jump has more of the equi-suede synthetic (that I prefer) than the plain CC. Both are great saddles, wear well, and with the CAIR and changeable gullets, do a wonderful job of fitting most horses of all shapes and sizes, from my low withered wide Arab to my high withered narrow TB and everything in between. If you need a new saddle, I couldn't recommend a better brand!
(Heard not so great things about Thorowgood but have not had personal experience so can not comment further.)