close contact saddles - comparing a few brands
I'm finally starting to make some progress on saving for a new jumping saddle and I have a few possibilities on the list. What I'm specifically looking for is a close contact saddle with front and rear blocks for lower leg support, with a fairly forward cut flap to accommodate my long legs as due to a slender build I don't need a huge saddle. I don't need a "pretty" saddle because I don't ride hunters (we don't actually have hunters here in aus, not in the same sense as the US), and I have my dressage saddle for any flat showing I might do.
I really like synthetic saddles, I'm so bad at looking after what little leather gear I do have that I feel like synthetic would probably last longer in my hands - of course I am looking at a few leather saddles as well, with Bates Caprilli being one of the models on the top of my list, but synthetic is more likely to be feasible.
I need a saddle that will help me out, not hinder me, because I am currently jumping up to 3'6" verticals and 3' high, 3'4" wide spreads and looking to go higher in the relatively near future... my lower leg and position are fairly strong in my crappy unsupportive all purpose saddle, but it's always nice, going into those larger fences, to have a saddle that you know will help you if you need it.
I don't want a deep seat. I struggle to get out of them and into the correct position. I want a relatively flat saddle, and it needs to be relatively flat in tree shape for the HORSE as well, due to Monty having a straight back. I would prefer something with an easy-change gullet of some description.
With all that in mind, what are the pros and cons of the Wintec close contact (500 and pro are both on the list)? Tekna A4 (I think?) and Thorowgood T8?
And then the leather ones... Bates Momentum? Caprilli? What about Riviera Nice? Or Pessoa XP3 (not in this lifetime but still, worth dreaming)? What about Collegiates? Do any of you know about the Trainers Master CC?
Older style saddles DO NOT FIT my horse. Nothing under 15 years old even comes close, believe me I've tried! Unfortunately, here, it's almost impossible to get anything wider than about a medium gullet if it's older than 15-20 years, and Monty takes a wide. I won't touch air panels, have never had a horse they sat nicely on whereas the same saddle with wool flocking was perfect.
Oh, by the way, I'm strictly looking second hand, unless I buy from overseas... there's a website in the UK where I can get a wintec 500 or Pro CC, brand new, latest model, for the same price as a used version of the previous model sells for locally - so if I get a Wintec it will be coming from there, but otherwise it's second hand.
A CLEAN SLATE FOR THE FUTURE