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View Full Version : Wintec 500 vs Pro, seat size, fit to downhill horse?



BadEventer
Dec. 28, 2010, 01:13 PM
I'm getting desperate to find a dressage saddle I can make work with my new horse. I have a Bates Caprilli (LOVE IT), and am considering buying another one since the one I have doesn't come close to fitting the new horse (narrow and downhill). This saddle fits 90% of my other horses well so I don't want to change the gullet or shim it up.

So! The $500 price tags on the Wintecs is alluring. And there seem to be tons of used ones available for half that.

Questions:

1. Can anyone tell me the difference between the Wintec 500 dressage and the Wintec Pro dressage? (which has a deeper seat? what's the main differences?) (I tried an Isabell and DESPISED the ridiculously deep seat and crazy thigh blocks. I need a shallower seat and no big thigh blocks.)

2. How do the seat sizes run in the Wintec 500 & Pro? I'm a tall skinny girl 5'9" 120lbs. with FREAKISHLY LONG upper legs, and I jump in an 18" saddle with the flaps moved forward 3X from normal. (Seriously.) Or my knees hang off the saddle flaps.

I usually ride in an 18" drssage saddle, but I'm wondering if I could survive in a smaller one, since there seem to be 100s of 17" Wintecs for sale. (Or maybe they are all too small for the riders and I'm fooling myself.) The Isabell was an 17 1/2" and was definitely too small for me with the deep seat.

3. Has anyone fit a Bates or Wintec to a narrow downhill horse and made it work? Or am I just dreaming.

Any advice would be great! Thanks!

Velvet
Dec. 28, 2010, 01:23 PM
Same height and very long thighs on me, too. I do a Pro. I can fit in the 17" and 17 1/2" OLD style Pro. Hate the Isabel, also.

The 500 was similar in the tree to the old Pro (back when I tried it and they were making the old Pro). It was okay, but I preferred the old style Pro.

My suggestion? Get an old style Pro and maybe a 17 1/2. If you use the knee rolls, you'll want to put them lower than everyone else. They work well that way and you'll have room for your butt and your leg. :yes:

If you can, I'd go for the flocked version, or have it reflocked. That way, on a downhill horse, you can have the flocking fitted to your horse and make it come up a bit more in the front without pinching the horse.

BadEventer
Dec. 28, 2010, 06:38 PM
Thank You Velvet!! That's exactly the information I needed!!

Hampton Bay
Dec. 28, 2010, 08:05 PM
Avoid them altogether unless you like having a saddle with a broken tree, while trying to deal with the world's worst customer service.

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=282663&highlight=bates+saddle

BadEventer
Dec. 29, 2010, 12:37 AM
Avoid them altogether unless you like having a saddle with a broken tree, while trying to deal with the world's worst customer service.

http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=282663&highlight=bates+saddle

Did you send the saddle back again? Did they ever fix it?

alto
Dec. 29, 2010, 04:41 AM
Wool flocked & an 18in if you actually want the saddle to fit you - you could get by with a smaller saddle but unless the horse is young or short backed why limit your position.

Velvet
Dec. 29, 2010, 11:23 AM
Wool flocked & an 18in if you actually want the saddle to fit you - you could get by with a smaller saddle but unless the horse is young or short backed why limit your position.

Limit your position? I'm not following the logic on that one. I mean, if you have a long thigh, you need to have room, but since it's a dressage saddle, you'll have a longer stirrup and even though your knee (in the correct position of your leg) will appear a tad more in front than on those with short thighs, you should be able to ride on a well trained horse with your seat in the saddle and leg just near the front but not past the flap. On a young horse, you might feel like it's a bit short at first, but once you can drop the stirrups, you're fine. And an 18" will only put your seat in the wrong place for a balanced seat, if you're only fitting for your legs adn not the long term with the leg and a smaller butt.

17 1/2" is as big as I'd go. But I don't have a bit butt--I just have long thighs. ;)

As for the poster with a broken tree, I've had four Wintec saddles and still have two (and wish I hadn't sold a third with one of my old horses). I love them and have had them wear like iron without any tree issues. I guess you must have gotten a lemon. It happens, with all saddle makers. But I've been very happy with mulitple versions and so have many other people, so I'd guess the risk is very low.

alto
Dec. 31, 2010, 02:54 AM
It's difficult for me to imagine a long legged, 5'9" rider in a 17 1/2 dressage saddle - our barn is mostly 5' 4" riders with pretty average leg & none ride in smaller than a 17 1/2 dressage saddle, with a couple of 18's for the more endowed :)

I've seen alot of youtube videos with riders in saddles that are consistently too small, be they dressage or H/J.
Currently DD is riding in a 16 1/2 County as it fit the pony, this saddle is definitely too "short" through the seat for her - not terribly relevant as he was started u/s in Aug so everything is basic, basic ...

As OP stated
I usually ride in an 18" drssage saddle
The Isabell was an 17 1/2" and was definitely too small for me with the deep seat.

I just don't see why a 17 1/2 would be preferable unless there are other factors (as in FP's case, any 17 1/2 we tried was just too long for his back & the County actually measures close to a 17 so it was a nice compromise)

oops I forgot, the 11 & under kids do ride in smaller saddles :lol:

Hampton Bay
Dec. 31, 2010, 02:22 PM
Did you send the saddle back again? Did they ever fix it?

Yes, it finally got sent back to them. They are supposedly going to fix it, but it will take at least 2 more months. Considering that it took them 3 months to just look at it, I would expect they will have it longer than that.

I posted multiple examples of customers with broken trees in their Wintecs, all on the points, in another thread. I'm not just the one unlucky person. I know several people with Wintecs, and only one of them hasn't had issues with a broken tree. She also hasn't used that saddle in years as it hasn't fit her horse, and she tends to hold onto tack. If hers was broken in the same place mine is, she wouldn't know it because she's not taken it apart to change the gullet in a very long time.

I fully understand that sometimes things break. BUT the company should also stand behind their products, and not be a royal pain to contact. The customer service backing the product that breaks is the deal-breaker for me. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what I have been through. It's a good thing I don't use that saddle (was actually going to sell it), because it will have been broken for about a year before I get it back.

BadEventer
Jan. 2, 2011, 12:28 AM
My saddle adventure just gets better and better. I've been working with an expert at fitting Bates/Wintecs to get a saddle that will fit my mare. I've been sending lots of photos of my horse's back and my Bates Caprilli. He couldn't understand why it didn't fit her, even though I kept saying it didn't. It sits down in the front and even rests on her withers, yet he thought the gullet size in it should be correct, and kept saying that it looked "well balanced".

I told him, "Well it's NOT well balanced, look again, it tips me ON MY NOSE!"

So after 2 days of photos and frustration he had me test it to see if one of the CAIR panels had popped, and low and behold BOTH FRONT PANELS are flat as pancakes!!

I guess I'll be having it flocked with wool now. I could just scream.

I was riding my HUGE MOVING warmblood about 2 weeks ago when I got this weird and LOUD popping noise from the saddle. He's super ELEVATED when he trots big and I thought maybe the CAIR panels were just making a lot of noise bouncing up and down between his bouncy-back and my bouncy-butt!! Now I think that's when they FREAKING POPPED!!

And I thought I loved CAIR...................................UGH........ ........

CatOnLap
Jan. 2, 2011, 04:02 AM
wow that truly sucks. The CAIR panels are warranted for 5 years, so Bates/Wintec should replace them for you if they popped spontaneously. If its older, then you'd be reflocking them anyway around this age- its to be expected.

I have the older model Pro ( 2009- not the new one with the contour blocks) and was surprised that a 17 inch fits me- I have long legs -33 inch inseam and am 5'7" tall. The Isabel was not comfortable for me even in an 18 inch, but the pro fits much larger.

I have no illusions about the longevity of the wintecs though- the tree is only warranted for 10 years and in regular use they tend to look like sh!te after a decade anyway. When I look at the $1000 cost of a Pro with CAIR lasting only 10 years, and compare it to any of my leather saddles, the cost saving disappears. All of my leather saddles are over 20 years old, some are as old as 50 and still going strong. My wintec will be landfill material long before that. However, its very light weight, easy care, grippy in the seat and will not be ruined by riding in rain, so I am glad to have it.

BadEventer
Jan. 2, 2011, 07:29 AM
wow that truly sucks. The CAIR panels are warranted for 5 years, so Bates/Wintec should replace them for you if they popped spontaneously.

Any idea how to know how old the saddle is? The serial number doesn't seem to indicate a year. I'm not the orginal owner, so I doubt I'll have any luck with a warranty repair.

I've called my local saddle fitter to see if he will replace the CAIR panels with wool. (Waiting for a response.) I'm sure he'd rather just sell me a Black Country dressage saddle (but I truly hate the giant rolls they put down the front of those saddles.) I find that most of the nice leather saddles seem to have outrageous blocks on the front, and I just can't stand them. When I asked if they could make them smaller, he said they would just put the flap more forward so my leg didn't touch them. (What's the point of having them then?)

CatOnLap
Jan. 2, 2011, 10:51 AM
I believe the warranty starts when the saddle is purchased, so it is probable that you need the original bill of sale to collect on it. At a cost of $300 or so to reflock nowadays, I am not sure I would bother to restuff a wintec, actually, and would advise you to look at slightly older used leather saddles and spend the money there.

Velvet
Jan. 2, 2011, 01:36 PM
I've called my local saddle fitter to see if he will replace the CAIR panels with wool. (Waiting for a response.) I'm sure he'd rather just sell me a Black Country dressage saddle (but I truly hate the giant rolls they put down the front of those saddles.) I find that most of the nice leather saddles seem to have outrageous blocks on the front, and I just can't stand them. When I asked if they could make them smaller, he said they would just put the flap more forward so my leg didn't touch them. (What's the point of having them then?)

Don't do a saddlefitter. Most are not saddle repair people. Go to a saddle repair place, even if you have to ship it out. I replaced my CAIR panels for flocking with a local saddle repair guy for $125 and I think that's a similar price most people out here have paid (when we talked about it in the past). I then fit it to my horse (I have the tools and can fit my horses without hiring someone else). My horse and I both love it. It wasn't horrible before the change to flocking, but I just decided I couldn't stand the CAIR panels and the place were they overlap in the panels was causing my horse some small issues as his back changed.

alto
Jan. 2, 2011, 04:08 PM
Stubben has brought back a dressage saddle with NO knee roll, the Genesis D Special - I believe the Genesis D series features minimal knee roll/blocks, hopefully this will be a trend & we'll see more saddle manufacturers offering saddles with less :yes:

http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stu09Dressage.html

Velvet
Jan. 2, 2011, 05:34 PM
Stubben has brought back a dressage saddle with NO knee roll, the Genesis D Special - I believe the Genesis D series features minimal knee roll/blocks, hopefully this will be a trend & we'll see more saddle manufacturers offering saddles with less :yes:

http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stu09Dressage.html

Old Tristans have no knee rolls. Usually it is not knee rolls that get you, it's those monster thigh blocks everyone seems to consider a must have that get you.

BadEventer
Jan. 2, 2011, 08:26 PM
Don't do a saddlefitter. Most are not saddle repair people. .

It is a saddle repair place (not just a fitter - sorry I mis-wrote). BUT - he said you couldn't properly replace CAIR panels with wool because they didn't have enough surface area.

Anyone agree with that? It seems a lot of people have done it.

This is what I get for buying a used CAIR saddle off of ebay. (After much investigation, it seems the front air bags had already failed when I purchased the saddle. I have hundreds of photos of this saddle when I got it on various horses, trying out my Port Lewis Impression Pad.)
And it's 6 1/2 years old, so no warranty.

I've been looking for an English saddle to hang in my barn for awhile (across the entrance way opposite the Western saddle that's already up there! This one might be the one!!!:eek: Expensive decoration!)

BadEventer
Jan. 2, 2011, 08:30 PM
Stubben has brought back a dressage saddle with NO knee roll, the Genesis D Special - I believe the Genesis D series features minimal knee roll/blocks, hopefully this will be a trend & we'll see more saddle manufacturers offering saddles with less :yes:

http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stu09Dressage.html

Nice looking saddle! Thank you for the information!

buck22
Jan. 2, 2011, 08:34 PM
When you're fitting a downhill horse, its often good to look at saddles that have thinner panels in the rear, and ideally upswept. To my knowledge, wintecs are flocked and gusseted and stick out pretty far in the back.

also, for a more narrow downhill build you might want to consider a saddle with wither gussets and see if that helps leveling and keeping the saddle from sliding.

here's an explanation of saddle configurations:
http://www.trumbullmtn.com/saddle-fitting/saddle-terminology/

BadEventer
Jan. 2, 2011, 10:38 PM
I found a saddle repair shop who will replace the CAIR panels for $195.
OR put synthetic flocking in (which they say works well) for $155.
Sounded good to me! Beats $1500 for a new one............

However!! While I was testing the air bags to see if they had failed, I discovered it has a BROKEN TREE!!

Lesson for the day:
Don't buy these saddles off ebay!

alto
Jan. 3, 2011, 12:10 AM
Commiserations!
(must admit I'm in the NotAWintec-BatesFanClub)

Do like the Stubbens if they fit your horse - lots of oooold Stubbens kicking around my area, they really do look amazing at 25-30years old; the Tristan is renowned for it's haaaaard seat ie never go on a 2hr+ trail ride in a Tristan :lol:

DressageJava
Jan. 3, 2011, 02:49 AM
Hello there!

I currently have both the Wintec 500 and Wintec Pro.

1. When I ride in the Wintec 500, there is less constriction. Not that the Pro is constricted by any means, but the 500 is just less so. There is less of a knee roll, less of thigh blocks and the seat is a little more shallow, making it easier to get out of when posting. I find the seat on the 500 to be more comfortable but the Pro to be more secure. It's all about preference, I suppose. When I showed a Thoroughbred for his owner, I rode in her 17.5" Isabell. I felt so claustrophobic in that thing! The horse was a big mover, so God help me if I needed to post out of that thing because I can break a sweat at the working trot going around the arena for 2 minutes in -5 degree weather.

2. Seat sizes run pretty true. Mine are both 17" and they fit me great. I am 5'10.5" and 120lbs with the same long thigh syndrome. I am always comfortable in anything 17"-18". A lady I work for now training her horses has only wide twist Albion 18" dressage saddles that I must ride in (twists are a whole new world and can change the way you rider FOREVER). Since the three horses I work for are three very different sizes, I ride in her three different width saddles a day three days a week and 18" fit me fine and comfortably. It is actually hard to find a preference between her 18" or my 17". The way I feel is the deeper the seat, the larger the seat I prefer. Therefore, I agree with you 100% on the 17.5" deep-as-a-crater Isabell!

3. I don't know much about Bates, but Wintecs are fairly easy to fit (and the easy change gullet system makes a surprising difference). The Wintec 500 fits my horse better than the Pro. But she's uphill with high withers and very strong shoulders, so she's a big of a fitting nightmare. I feel as though the Wintec Pro would do you good in fitting your downhill horse as it is narrow enough to fit without rising too high because the wither clearance isn't anything extreme. Go on trials, galore!

Anyways, good luck in your search! Saddle hunting can be a pain, especially on a budget like me. -wink-

BadEventer
Jan. 3, 2011, 07:07 AM
Hello there!

I currently have both the Wintec 500 and Wintec Pro.

Anyways, good luck in your search! Saddle hunting can be a pain, especially on a budget like me. -wink-

Thank You for your detailed descriptions!! VERY VERY HELPFUL!!
Do you have the CAIR panels or the flocking?

BadEventer
Jan. 3, 2011, 07:18 AM
2. Seat sizes run pretty true. Mine are both 17" and they fit me great. I am 5'10.5" and 120lbs with the same long thigh syndrome.-

I just got another SHOCK about this saddle.
Just to explain first, I purchased it off of ebay about a year ago and it was sold to me as an 18" saddle.

It rides "roomy" for my seat, and feels as big if not bigger than my 18" Campbell (which is 27 yrs old & still in great shape), my 18" Albion (had to sell it- HATED it didn't fit anything I own), and rides MUCH MUCH bigger than the 17 1/2" Isabell my working student rides in. ALL of my jump saddles are 18". I had to sell the smaller saddles because I was hanging off the FRONT and the BACK!

I never questioned the seat size (or if the air bags were ok, or the tree..............) The saddle looked PRISTINE and seemed to ride well.

While working with the saddle repair shop/saddle fitter they said the serial number indicates it's a 17"!! I pulled out my measuring tape - and lo & behold it's a 17" SADDLE!!!

Another - Don't buy off of EBAY lesson.
1. Ruptured Air Bags
2. Broken Tree
3. WRONG SIZE!

And no this saddle has not been in "an accident" or dropped, or had anything bad happen to it since I purchased it about a year ago. It hasn't even had "that many" rides in it.

At least now I know a 17" BATES Caprilli is a good fit for me!!!

Unbelievable. :sadsmile:

cmdrcltr
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:40 AM
Just a note, I have a Wintec CC and I find the seat runs big. I need an 18 inch in a deep-seated dressage saddle, and I haven't ridden in many CC saddles, but I can fit a whole hand and then some behind me in the 17.5 Wintec CC.

As I am looking for a new saddle it sure makes estimating seat sizes to try difficult.:confused:

Velvet
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:47 AM
Hello there!

I currently have both the Wintec 500 and Wintec Pro.

1. When I ride in the Wintec 500, there is less constriction. Not that the Pro is constricted by any means, but the 500 is just less so. There is less of a knee roll, less of thigh blocks and the seat is a little more shallow, making it easier to get out of when posting.


You must have a new version of the Pro. The old Pro has absolutely no thigh blocks and is the same as the 500 with the knee blocks and the seats are similarily flat.

Just an FYI for others out here since there is a difference between new Pro and the old Pro. The 500 was modeled on the Pro, but was pleathor and not the fake suede. It also did not have the same billets and was flocked.

CatOnLap
Jan. 3, 2011, 09:55 AM
The new pros are a PITA. I had one for about a week and sent it back-it gave me bruises on the TOP of my thighs from those honking big contour blocs.

The saddle shop I deal with was probably sick of me by the time I finished trying the various models, but I was totally impressed with the customer service I got from that Wintec dealer, especially since I ended up buying an old model Pro from someone else, when they could no longer get one for me...

ClassynIvansMom
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:08 AM
It's difficult for me to imagine a long legged, 5'9" rider in a 17 1/2 dressage saddle - our barn is mostly 5' 4" riders with pretty average leg & none ride in smaller than a 17 1/2 dressage saddle, with a couple of 18's for the more endowed :)

I've seen alot of youtube videos with riders in saddles that are consistently too small, be they dressage or H/J.
Currently DD is riding in a 16 1/2 County as it fit the pony, this saddle is definitely too "short" through the seat for her - not terribly relevant as he was started u/s in Aug so everything is basic, basic ...

As OP stated I just don't see why a 17 1/2 would be preferable unless there are other factors (as in FP's case, any 17 1/2 we tried was just too long for his back & the County actually measures close to a 17 so it was a nice compromise)

oops I forgot, the 11 & under kids do ride in smaller saddles :lol:

Hey wait a minute, people come in all shapes and sizes. I'm 5'6" and around 115 lbs with longish legs, and I ride in a 16 seat. My Passier Grand Gilbert is a 16 1/2 and plenty roomy for me. If I'm in a Stubben, I go in a 16. If I'm in a Passier, well, they don't make a Grand Gilbert smaller than a 16 1/2 so I'd have to go down to a child's saddle to get smaller. If she says she rides in an 18, she probably could get away with a 17 or 17 1/2 if the seat is built differently. The Isabell does have a deep seat, and leaves you with less butt room. Same with my Passier Grand Gilbert, it leaves you with less butt room, which makes it ok for my tiny bottom to ride in a 16 1/2 instead of my usual 16.

Bottom line, I'd say test ride both and see which saddle and which size fit you and your horse the best. There are several tack shops that do test rides, including several reputable ones online. I believe I saw a shop that will even ship you two at once, so if they happen to have both saddles, you could do a side by side comparison.

NCSue
Jan. 3, 2011, 10:59 AM
3. Has anyone fit a Bates or Wintec to a narrow downhill horse and made it work? Or am I just dreaming.


My narrow horse is built uphill so that won't help you. My wide horse is downhill with a curvy back. I have the new model Wintec Pro without the contour blocks. The saddle fitter was able to take a fair amount of flocking out of the back of the saddle to make it sit down flat without having the pommel too low. It took a couple of tries to get it just right. She's quite comfortable and so am I. Before he made the flocking adjustments I could not ride in the Wintec on this horse. It killed my hips, pitched me forward, etc. Amazing difference. I have shown this mare a few times at dressage shows -- recognized and schooling -- and am scoring fairly well for a green, young horse. She gets good marks on her gaits so I feel that the saddle is not impending her movement.