Sonomacounty - yes Bates have had the problem sorted out for a long time. The intial trouble was that where the 2 pockets met, in the middle of the panel, they used to overlap so there was the possibility of them sliding over/under each other ie - moving. This tended to happen moreso when used by heavier riders. However now they butt up against each other so cannot move. And the other thing I found quite interesting is that each "pocket" is not actually just full of air! Had a saddle fitter out a month or so ago and the conversation got onto the Cair panels (she was a fan of it) and she showed me a Cair panel that she'd cut open. It does in fact contain foam, but has air sealed into it. This is because the original idea of totally air panels came from Flair, and when Bates wanted to use the idea on their saddles, Flair said no cos they had patented it, so Bates added the foam inside the pocket and got around it that way.
I have an AP black Wintec I picked up in 2000 (for a mere $199) from Dover Saddlery. It still looks fantastic, have had no problems riding in it, nor with fit. I was (and still am) horseless when I purchased it, was riding all sorts of different horses in leases and lessons (hence the need for the changeable gullet) and it has served me well. I still ride in it today. I also have a Wintec Dressage 500 series with the CAIR panels, which I picked up last year on clearance at Dover (when they were switching to the newer Wintecs with the different panels). The dressage saddle hasn't had any problems with the variety of horses I ride (TB, QH/Arab, an old POA, and a full wide QH). I'm sold on Wintecs. I would say 10 years ago they were looked down upon as not "real" saddles, but now, that isn't the case. For my purposes (as an amateur, and horseless) they work well for me. Never found them to "slip," either...(and I've had all SORTS of experiences cross country or on unexpected low-key mounts-turned rodeo horses to test that one out!)
“Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves Jump Start Solutions LLC
It seems like I've heard or read that if you use a Wintec saddle, you cannot use stirrup leathers or a leather girth, but have to use the Wintec versions instead--something about oil from the leather damaging the synthetic materials, etc. Is that accurate, or can you just carry on with your leather strap goods?
Last edited by WilfredLeblanc; Jul. 9, 2011 at 03:54 AM.
In theory the oils in the leather could degrade the plastics in the Wintec. I used leather stirrup leathers in my Wintec dressage for a few years with no problem. I guess just try not to use crazy greasy leathers.
I've used leather leathers and girths on my Wintecs for years - in fact, I believe this is a huge myth, because the more expensive wintecs such as the Isabell dressage saddle actually have leather billets.
<I was under the impression that double-edged sword of plastics was that they did not degrade in a human lifetime. I am inclined to think that this is a marketing maneuver, personally.>
Sounds about right. Still, however, oils, I guess, could, theoretically degrade plastic. Must protect against lawsuits . . . !
Helps them sell webbers, of course. But, webbers are Great ! I should take a hoof pick and try to stretch the keepers a bit, I guess, as they don't go down over the hook area.
Wintec is such a cool company. Know what I love - their Western saddle is something like only 20 lbs. I don't go that way but if I did, I surely would want a Wintec western. I don't like putting heavy saddles on my horses (or carrying them around).
Thanks for all the feedback. It's so good to hear about hunters using Wintecs in the field, because I tend to think of hunters as the ultimate pragmatists and it just makes sense, what with wet, filthy riding conditions, etc. I get the impression that no one in Ireland, especially, would furrow his brow at rubber or plastic anything in the hunt field (boots, saddles, whatever), but that Americans tend to be a little more prickly about tradition and correctness, so again, it's good to hear about people being so sensible here.
P.S.--I know I owe the forum a hunt report for my sixth trip out with Red Rock at the end of the season, but I was kind of in the weeds with work, etc., and just didn't get around to it. Suffice it to say it went beautifully. Great OldenburgxTB for a livery mount. Lynn kept us out a a mere three hours, and there wasn't much scent, but we jumped some coops and it was a nice survey of the scenery up there.