excited - finally looking seriously at jumping saddles!
I have one saddle lined up to try out on my gelding and I'm so excited, I actually cannot wait to have a half decent jumping saddle. I've emailed about 6 people asking if they are interested in selling and I'm going to be talking to the saddle fitter/owner of my local tack store about buying a saddle on finance from them if this second hand one doesn't fit.
The second hand saddle I'm looking at is the latest model Wintec 500 close contact and I've been offered it fully mounted WITH a free matching bridle thrown in, on a payment plan so I can ride and show in it from Wednesday if it fits even though I won't have the full purchase price for a couple of months yet.
On the other hand if I buy new I'm going to get a Trainers Master CC saddle, they are $1500 brand new but Trainers saddles have a reputation for being well built and nice saddles for the price.
This is the horse:
This is the second hand saddle:
And this is the Trainers that I'm looking at:
I do have a question, and that is, which of these do you think looks like it would be the best fit for my boy? Bearing in mind I can have either one fitted to him if need be, though the Wintec I'm looking at is Cair so that would need to be removed and replaced if it didn't fit off the rack. Adding a good $200 to the total price.
They look pretty good. The Trainers has a slightly deeper seat - so that might fit a low-croup shape better - but both panels look similar in profile. With your horse having a straight-ish shoulder I'd just make sure the saddle's not placed too far forward when you try it on.
Oh, and Cair can be flocked over the top of the panels if needs be (though it's a bit of a pain to do) rather than taking it out completely :)
Be careful with CAIR saddles too. Not sure if things have changed at all, but it used to be that if you somehow managed to pop one of those panels it was game over, throw the saddle away and start looking for a new one. Although I'm sure it doesn't happen often, it does happen.
The trainer's are decent saddles. When I was saddle hunting I had the trainer's master dressage brought out to try on my TB and it was a decent fit straight off the rack. He is quite high withered, but wide through the shoulders. I do prefer the higher quality range from trainer's over the Masters range.
Whatever you do make sure you have the saddle fitter give it a good going over!
Howclever - you're thinking of 'Flair'. Cair is only foam - you can't 'pop' the panels :)
Nope, definitely thinking of CAIR.
From the website...
"The revolutionary CAIR® Cushion System replaces the traditional fillings in your saddle panel with air. There are two independently sealed Air Cushions within each Saddle Panel. The concept of air, as the ultimate in cushioning for the horse is simple.
Air being a fluid medium will constantly adapt to the horse’s working muscles. This means that your weight will be distributed evenly across the entire length of the cushion, virtually eliminating pressure points. This extraordinary comfort results in freer movement, better carriage and a happier horse. For such a simple concept the dramatic difference the CAIR® Cushion System makes to a horse’s comfort and performance is profound."
ETA: Just reading further on their website and apparently a popped CAIR panel can be replaced by a good saddlery now.
A Cair panel is a piece of foam sealed in plastic, not 'air' in the true sense. Actually each panel is in two sections which overlap, the front pad simply taped to the rear in the belief pressure on the front will partially transfer to the back. Which it does, sort-of, from what I can tell, though I don't have the 'Pliance' pressure testing gear to prove or disprove it.
I would think 'popping' a panel would be a pretty uncommon event - I've cut into Cair saddle panels with a Stanley knife to make a slot for flocking adjustment and never punctured a pad. Sounds more like the old garage mechanic's tale of 'Oh, and you need a new xxx...' to me.
Now I've always assumed that they used closed-cell foam, which wouldn't deflate anyway (a bit like the better quality adjustment pads - the foam will never thin to zero however much pressure you apply) but maybe I'm wrong on that, or they've changed it. In fact maybe that's why they're now offering replacements: they never used to. In any case, it's still not really air.
Just sayin' :D
Reading further on their website they are very vague. Although I did find where they said they use an open cell foam.
"Air is captured at atmospheric pressure in an open-celled foam and sealed in the Air Cushion. Once the air cushion is welded the open-celled foam becomes irrelevant, as it is the air trapped in the cushion, which is doing the work"
And is definitely capable of being punctured, and if so must be replaced.
"5. What happens if the CAIR® Panels are punctured?
If the CAIR® Panels are punctured then they have to be replaced. A saddler can perform the simple procedure of replacing a CAIR® Panel for you."
All the debate aside, simply put, I don't trust the system all that much and prefer a well flocked and fitted saddle.
I'm pretty good at telling if a saddle is the right shape and gullet size, so if it's right, it's right and there won't be any issues. I will get a fitter out if it's close but not perfect. I won't bother if it's just all wrong as 8 out of 10 saddle fitters will tell you to just buy another saddle and I'm going to buy the right saddle first time round. Even if it takes time.
I really dislike Cair too, would much prefer flocking given the choice, but if I'm buying second hand I don't have that choice unless I keep searching and pray that I find the right saddle for the right price without cair! Otherwise I can always save a little longer and buy a Wintec 500 CC online for roughly the same price as I'm looking at paying for this one, or if this one isn't right, like I said I'll be talking to the saddle fitter/shop owner about buying a Trainers on finance. I do like synthetic, though, for the low maintenance - I'm really bad at looking after leather!
I do like the higher-end Trainers saddles a lot, but unfortunately none of them will fit my horse. With the sole exception of the Trainers XC all purpose, and I really need a proper jumping saddle, not another AP. I have been dreaming of a Trainers Pro Deluxe but they are too banana-shaped for his back, otherwise I'd be saving madly for one of those. Literally the only saddles I can find that look even close are the Wintec, the Trainers Master, Bates Momentum, Riviera Nice, and a few that are well outside budget (as in, $4000+ - wayyyy too much!)... and I'm not totally sold on the shape of the Bates! There is a model of Collegiate that looks like it would fit but I can't for the life of me remember which one it was.
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