OUr 3 hunters have one each - we have the Wintec 2000 models which have equisuede on the seat and knee area. Partner is a huntsman, so our's get plenty of use! We love them, and there's the extra bonus of not having to worry about them getting wet cos they dry so fast, and they're much easier to clean! Both of us much prefer hunting in them to leather saddles.
I've hunted for years in them. I doubt that anyone notices - I used the tan flat seat jump saddles. Don't notice they are any more or less slippery than a leather saddle - but then I go 2* XC in it too.
If I'm really worried, I use the spray made for raquet players to give extra grip.
Much, much easier to look after than leather saddles.
I doubt anyone would think twice about it. I love my wintec although I do have a Barnsby for Hunting. I go on hunt trail rides with the Wintec. You never know when you are going to want to take a tour of the swimming hole on horseback.
Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted
Ditto Otterhound's post. We started hunting in the Wintec 2000 years ago and the previous models before that. They are actually less slippery IMO than leather. I sold my Stubben and Crosby and outfitted four hunt horses in Wintec saddles. I love the gullett system because the horses change with fitness as the season progesses. They are wonderful to clean off and you don't mind if they get rained on. I actually had to dry one in the house for three days one November because it rained so much while we hunted it was saturated! Wouldn't have wanted to have that situation with a leather saddle. Our huntsman and two whippers-in also own Wintecs.
I've about made up my mind to replace (or complement) my Stuebben Wotan with a Wintec and was trying to figure out exactly which of the current models is the right one to get. If it would be tolerated in the hunt field, great, but my main interest is in having a saddle that's easy to care for, fits a variety of horses, and is good for flat work and relatively low-level, occasional jumping.
Anyway, I need one of the models that comes in brown and probably one that's offered in 18". My Wotan is a 19"; I hear Wintecs are sized an inch smaller than they really run, but in any case, depending on how high the cantle is/how flat the seat is, I might not require the equivalent of a 19".
Any tips? Which one of these Wintecs is the right one? Any opinions on CAIR vs. flocked?
We have Cair in ours and wouldn't go back to flock. Definitely do NOT make for a bouncy ride! The original Cair panels did have a couple of flaws and there were a few sore backs because of them, but those problems have been well and truly ironed out by now. The also have a lifetime guarantee on the panels, so if one did deflate, it's covered. Wintecs are very common here, with Cair panels, and I've never heard anyone have one deflate. They also provide a much smoother, more even contact with the horse than flock.
My theory on the CAIR panels and sore backs (which I have never had in years of using Wintecs, but many claim they do have). There are four CAIR pockets, one in front and one in back, on each side. There is a place in about the middle of the panel (front to back) where the two pockets meet.
If you have a curvey backed horse, the CAIR pockets will tend to push the air from the ends of the panel toward the middle. The spot where the two pockets join will make a slight bridge, and your horse will never feel it. If you have a very flat-backed horse, or one with very flat muscling, the pockets will distribute evenly, or perhaps the air will move more toward the ends of the panels, and it's possible that there will be a bit of a thickness at the point where the pockets join. Flat backed, flat muscled horses tend to have more sensitive backs, with less fluff and muscle between them and the saddle, so it tends to be a bigger issue. This, of course, can be solved with attention to overall fit and suitable padding.
Some horses really do like the CAIR panels, so I wouldn't chalk that off out of hand. The Wintec people seem to pay attention and keep improving their products, so I wouldn't let history keep you from giving them a try.
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine