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blue eyed pony 03-30-2012 10:58 AM

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.

crimsonsky 03-30-2012 12:09 PM

personally, i think i'd pick a tekna over a wintec because i find they fit better. but that's just me.

LetAGrlShowU 03-30-2012 12:19 PM

You know i'm still selling my 17.5 passier. If you want to look up shipping costs, it would be coming from zip 28173

It has knee and calf blocks for a good position.

blue eyed pony 03-30-2012 12:22 PM

My horse is a bit of an odd shape... long and straight, but he's got a bit of a wither. Not huge, but enough to consider it. The pre-quikchange Teknas were way too curved, but I've had a look at the latest model and it looks straight enough for him. I haven't found that so much with Wintecs, THEY seem to be getting more curved and the 500 has always been too curved so I'm actually not a fan of them for boofhead's shape... it's just easier to get a wintec than a tekna, and I've been wrong about fit for Monty before, so I'm still thinking about trying the latest model on him to see.

I need to talk to my saddle fitter about bringing out some jumping saddles to try on boofhead. Benefit is, he and my yearling are very similar in shape, so anything I buy for him is likely to fit her pretty easy with maybe a change of gullet plate. Downside is, the only local saddle fitter doesn't stock anything Bates makes (that's wintec, collegiate and bates, perhaps others), so getting her to fit what I get kind of rules out those brands :/

Oh well! I actually really would like a Tekna, have heard that they can be horrid to jump in but everyone likes different things in a saddle, the person I've talked to that hates them also hates my dressage saddle which I absolutely adore, so I guess it's worth a shot anyway.. plus at only $750 brand new, I could potentially have a beautiful saddle almost right away, rather than having to wait ages.

...of course then I'd be tempted to buy matching Tekna mounts etc so would likely end up spending over $1000 anyway but hey, if I get it in black, I already HAVE matching mounts...

blue eyed pony 03-30-2012 12:23 PM

Grl, unfortunately I think your saddle is probably the wrong shape for Monty, and I don't have anything local the same shape to try on him. I don't want to spend that much money on a faint maybe... which is a huge shame because it looks like a lovely saddle. I have the wrong shaped horse!

LetAGrlShowU 03-30-2012 12:33 PM

I'll take some pics of it on my horse (with quite a wither) this sunday. I think the chair I had my saddle on gives it an odd shape.

blue eyed pony 03-30-2012 12:40 PM

I was looking more at gullet width to be honest... Monty's quite wide, for an anglo (have had him measured by a saddle fitter, he is a red in the Wintec range) and your saddle looks a lot narrower than my dressage saddle... looks closer to the ancient wintec jumping saddle that came with boofhead but that's 2-3 gullet sizes too narrow and awful for my position, thus needing a new saddle to jump in. I still don't want to buy from the US if I can't try the same thing on him here in Aus, I probably won't be able to sell it for what I end up paying and then I'd end up back where I started.

It wasn't the money so much that was the problem for me, it's the risk involved in a) buying a saddle I can't see with my own eyes first, and b) not trying it or something like it on my horse before buying. We've bought a saddle from the US that we were certain would fit Mum's QH, but when it arrived, it wasn't even close to a good fit, all the mounts were enormous (talking draft horse enormous and 6'+ rider huge for the fenders) and it made the horse buck like a rodeo bronc. So I will never again buy a saddle without trying it, or the same make and model, on my horse first... especially if I don't think it's going to fit in the first place.

LetAGrlShowU 03-30-2012 12:42 PM

I completely understand. Good luck on finding the right saddle!! :)

blue eyed pony 03-30-2012 12:47 PM

Thank you! Looking like a Tekna is the most likely at the moment, but I have to get the fitter out and ride in one before I know for sure.

jumanji321 03-30-2012 04:05 PM

I haven't had any issues jumping in my Tekna. It is really easy to jump in for me actually.

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