A saddlery that is about 1.5 hours away from me has a used one that is wool flocked (or so I heard... about to call them) and has the adjustable gullet. I was curious about opinions before I take half a day off work and make the drive up to see if I can get it on trial.
I like that it is (supposedly) wool flocked from what I heard, but I have no experience with the adjustable gullet systems.
This is a saddle people either love or hate. I think it depends on your pelvic floor. If you have a fairly flat pelvic floor, or one that's tipped backwards, these people tend to feel tipped forward on their crotches and/or jammed up against the pommel. If you're like me, with a very tipped forward pelvic floor, then you'll probably find it quite comfortable. I liked the ones I've sat in.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison
So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."
My old Isabel Wintec (9 yrs old) was OK. I had to use a sheepskin seat pad with it becasue it did tip me forward. But it was and is great for the youngsters. Never a back problem (Cair panels) and the adj gullet was a perfect solution for their growing years.
I recently sat in the new Isabel Wintec - I bought it straight away. It still has a great fit for my new greenies but it is much more comfort friendly to me also. The seat is feels more roomy for me and and side panels are a little larger. No more sheepskin needed. ( I think I like it better than my leather Passier so I'll just pass on the Passier and show in it too!!!)
I had one for 2 years, purchased new. It was a comfy saddle for me and looked practically new when I sold it. It was used for dressage and trail riding; it also had the Cair system. This is just my opinion, but the saddle is not for curvy horses.
"You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach
HUGE HUGE HUGE thumbs down. The trees don't stand up to much use; they tend to crack right by the screws that hold the panels on. Good frickin luck getting them to fix it. Mine was gone for a year while they "fixed" it. They also scratched the heck out of the leather, and then put the panels on so crooked the saddle is useless. They are 3/4" off center. They won't respond to my efforts to get that fixed, so I'm going to end up having to do it myself so I can sell the darned thing once and for all.
Worst customer service ever. I've known quite a few people with broken trees in their Bates/Wintec saddles, and only one who hasn't had that issue. She also hasn't ridden in hers in 4 years or so, so if it were cracked, she wouldn't know it. She did have a cracked tree in her other Wintec though.
I've ridden in one for years and find it comfortable and durable, though it isn't working for my new horse. A number of my friends have them too, and we've not had any issues ever with the tree or the quality of the saddle.
Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.
I love the model - it fits me well and I've taken much advantage of the adjustable trees. I had great customer service when I sent mine back to get the tree-points fixed at no charge because the tree was under a lifetime guarantee.
I actually like the wool-flocking and would prefer that. I've yet to see a material that works better than wool flocking. Not that it isn't out there, but I've yet to see a material better than wool.
I have the new Pro, not the Isabel. But I do have the flocked model. Just FYI, it's not wool, it's synthetic. While I like it much better than the CAIR, it definitely doesn't compress and mold to the back like real wool does. However, if the saddle fits your horse out of the box, it's probably not an issue. I will also agree with those who say Wintec saddles in general won't work on a curvy back.
Definitely not for a horse with a curvy back! But for myself I do like riding in them and they put me in a pretty good position. All the ones I have seen have held up very well over time, very durable.