Which Close Contact Saddle?
I've been saving up money for a saddle for my new horse because my old one doesn't fit her. She's a TB with a prominent wither and with undeveloped back muscle so I want one with a changeable gullet. My local tack shop carries Wintecs, Collegiates and Bates. I have $725 saved up so far so I'm ready to buy a Wintec. But if I wait until the end of January I'll have enough money to but any of the three.
1. Which one would you choose and why?
2. If you picked Collegiate, which saddle specifically? (I believe there's three to choose from)
3. Is there another saddle not listed that I should consider?
4. Any major problems you've found with any of these saddles?
5. Any other comments you'd like to add?
I'm looking into getting a Collegiate.
I didn't want a Wintec because I've heard mixed reviews, and I wasn't fond of it being synethic.
I would LOVE to have a bates, but it's out of my price range.
I believe (still have to sit in them to see) that I'm going to get this saddle, The Alumni
Collegiate "Alumni" Convertible Close Contact Saddle - FREE Offers... - Collegiate Convertible Saddles - E-Z Change Gullet System - FREE Incentives!
I've searched around the internet and found this website had the best deals (free gullet system, free bridle and free shipping!)
Horse Tack Review.com - Reviews of horse tack and rider supplies! is a great site to see opinions about the saddles.
I voted Bates because that is what I have and I love mine. Excellent quality leather that barely needs to be broken in, comfortable ride and it fits my horse like a charm. I would recommend this saddle to anyone. I think Collegiate and Bates are made by the same company. I know Wintec is. I am selling a Collegiate for a friend right now but I'm guessing you want the changeable gullet. This saddle is 5-6 years old so I don't believe it has that. I have heard great things about Collegiates but I'm not a Wintec fan because I like leather.
If you have money saved up I'd advise against the Wintec. I think they're the best as far as synthetics go but if you can afford leather I'd recommend that! Bates and Wintec are the same brand (Collegiate is it's own thing). I think Bates are ok but I personally like Collegiates better. I think they're more comfortable and hold up very well. They tend to fit a lot of horses and put your leg in the correct position. If you have $725 though you could get a nice used Pessoa. I personally think those are better then Collegiates, Bates, or Wintecs!
Wintecs don't always fit high withered horses that great. You want something with a partially cutback pommel, to allow for room at the withers.
You CAN use padding to fill in for her lack of muscle. Skito has a correction pad that you can customize with various shims. It makes it very easy to keep your saddle fitting well and it absorbs up to 90% of the impact to your horse's back, making things more comfortable for her. There is one for sale on another forum I'm on, and it even comes with shims that should work for your mare's issue, Skito Pad for Sale - Baywind Farm Horse Forum
Going with a pad like that will open you up to buying something good quality used, and save a little money (or get something better than you would have been able to afford new).
If you're dead set on a changeable gullet system, then I'd go with any of the following saddles, all with at least a partially cut back pommel.
:: Pessoa Saddles :: our saddles ::
:: Pessoa Saddles :: our saddles ::
Collegiate Convertible Diploma Close Contact Saddle - Dover Saddlery
I voted other because I've been pleasantly surprised with M. Toulouse. I have the Celine and it is an awesome saddle for the price. You might want to look into that line. I never liked my Collegiates and sold them. Wintec is great as a second saddle - I love my Isabelle dressage.
Here's a plug for the Stubben Siegfried. I ended up with one recently when it kind of came with my new horse, Mojo. My own saddle was an awful fit on him, and the Siegfried fit well and was for sale. I never would have thought to buy a Stubben--have always gone with Crosby--but this saddle is so comfortable, close contact, fits my horse beautifully, soft leather, will last forever. I'm so happy I ended up with it.
Not technically close-contact, though!
I love love love my Henri De Rivel... I voted other.
HDR is in your price range too. :o)
M. Toulouse. Very comfortable and affordable saddle. I love mine.
P.S. be very careful with the gullet changing system.. Those can be dangerous to the horse if not put together properly when switched.
I voted other. I think you should try out all the saddles you are interested in
purchasing. One of those saddles might appear to fit well in the store, but once you ride in it you might hate it. I own 2 HDR's one close contact and one Dressage. I love my saddles and I have a horse with high withers and it fits well. Just be sure you have a trial period before making your finial decision. I like wintec's for kids and people who want a saddle but don't own a horse yet. That way they can just change the gullet and your good to go. But if it's a long term investment I'd go leather.
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