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From Amerigo to Wintec Isabell or Pro?

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  • From Amerigo to Wintec Isabell or Pro?

    Thinking of getting rid of my 5.5 yo Amerigo Deep Dressage.... the leather of the seat started splitting last fall, despite being ridden in only 3x/week, in breeches.... Amerigo only warranties the leather in their saddles for 2 yrs and it is over $600 for a new seat, plus downtime, shipping, etc. Heck, the tree isn't even under warranty anymore, apparently!! And this saddle was $3300 when I bought it, now they're over $4K. High-end saddles actually used to last, I must be getting old eh?

    So, before I had the Amerigo, I rode in a Wintec Isabell which never gave me any trouble in all the years I had it. I bought the Amerigo Deep because it was the closest to the Isabell position-wise of the high-end saddles I tried. Needless to say I am regretting my putative "upgrade". So I was looking at Isabells online and I noticed the Wintec Pro Dressage has been retooled and looks pretty spiff, so I thought I'd see what folks thought of those vs the Isabell? Experienced rider currently competing Preliminary eventing on a small Thoroughbred with a good topline (Advanced prospect, so expecting 4th level dressage work), as well as a variety of project and training horses... but nothing crazy hard to fit.....

    Third Charm Event Team

  • #2
    They have revamped the Isabell so the new model is very different. I have had a Wintec Isabell since the first year they came out, still have the same saddle! Cannot kill it.... I got a new Pro (2009) with the countour blocks, hated it.
    If you had a good experience and liked the Isabell, why not get another? Make sure you get the older model, unless you have a chance to try the new one and maybe you would like it. I know where there is a leather Bates Isabell for $999 so that is an option too.
    "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


    • #3
      well if you're not happy with your experience with Amerigo & warranty, you won't be too impressed with Wintec/Bates either - so choose your retail shop carefully as any warranty issues must go through the tack shop (read the threads on broken tree points on Wintecs & Bates saddles that appear on various forums).

      the leather of the seat started splitting last fall
      tho I must admit that I'd just get the seat redone (if I loved the saddle otherwise & my horse liked it as well) - you might get some quotes from independent repair shops.


      • #4
        I've had a couple of Pros the last 20 years and ridden training through GP. I like them. I just got a good deal on a new one. I've never tried an Isabel. I don't like deep seats and being held in. The only thing with the Wintecs is the material eventually wears through. My old one is about 15 years and starting to get worn through. The new one I got on sale for $450 on a half price deal at HorseLoverz.


        • Original Poster

          Well, like I said, never had a problem with my Wintec, and several of my students have them and have never had problems. And, quite honestly, it would not bother me as much if I did have a problem with a saddle that costs 1/4 as much, generally you get what you pay for. Ergo, a $3500-4000 saddle should not have downtime and expensive repairs after 5 years of light use. JMHO, of course, maybe I would feel differently if I had pots of money and a spare Amerigo gathering dust in the tackroom to ride in while mine was in the shop, but.... didn't win the lottery this week!

          Third Charm Event Team


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
            My old one is about 15 years and starting to get worn through. The new one I got on sale for $450 on a half price deal at HorseLoverz.
            Third Charm Event Team


            • #7
              I wouldn't hve expected my $1700 Bates to hve a broken tree after 6 yers of VERY light use either, but it hppened to me. It will be about a year of down time once I get it back, IF they ctully fix the tree this time. Lst time all they did ws scrtch the crap out of the lether nd return it, still broken, climing tht it wasn't broken, nd then that it wasn't broken enough to bother fixing.


              • Original Poster

                Sorry to hear that. I've had a Bates jumping saddle for slightly longer than the Amerigo, ride in it easily 4x more often (jumping my show horse, use it for all flatwork and jumping with the greenies, project horses, training horses, and let students use it for lessons!), and it barely shows any sign of use.

                Just FYI, is not possible to convince me that this is "ok" for the leather to simply _wear out_ on a properly cared-for expensive saddle because of unrelated problems with a saddle that cost HALF AS MUCH. I am not worried about the quality of a Bates or Wintec saddle. I've never had a problem with either, and even if I did, they don't cost $4000 to replace.

                As mentioned in the OP, looking for opinions on the newer Wintec Pro vs the Wintec Isabell (new model or the older type when they first came out).

                Third Charm Event Team


                • #9
                  I have a new Pro without the contour blocs. I don't even use the velcro knee blocks either. I really like this saddle because it has a more open seat, which is more comfortable for me for hacking out. But it's great for schooling as well.

                  If you prefer a deep seat, you'd be happier with the Isabel. Both new models bear little resemblance to the older versions, they have really improved the fit and balance.


                  • #10
                    I liked the old Pro, but didn't like the old Isabell. Now I'm the opposite! I hate the new Pro. Although the seat feels nice to sit in, the panels on the saddle are very, very long and flat. It doesn't fit a lot of horse like the old one unless you have a horse with a long flat back. I love the new Isabell. The seat is more open and less trappy than the old one. The old one used to tip me forward on my crotch and the stirrup bars were placed too far back. The new one feels much different. The only thing I don't like is the seat is kind of hard! The panels on the new Isabell are made to fit a lot more horses and are shaped similar to the old Pro.


                    • #11
                      Do I see that Wintec is offering the new Isabell with Flocked Panels?? Now I am interested in one, HATED the CAIR panels.
                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                      • #12
                        Although the seat feels nice to sit in, the panels on the saddle are very, very long and flat. It doesn't fit a lot of horse like the old one unless you have a horse with a long flat back.
                        This is absolutely true! Do NOT buy the newer Pro thinking it will fit the same as the older model. The panels are very very flat on the new model. I bought the new one, and it does not fit my horse at all, but bridges because it is so flat...the older model fit really well.


                        • #13
                          Oh no, it's totlly not OK for the lether on the seat to crck after only light use. I would be pissed. Just like I am regrding my Btes with the broken tree tht's been stored in my house for more thn two yers, not even being used.


                          • #14
                            I had the old Pro and liked it, but bought the new one with contour blocks. I LOVE it. The big thing is that the stirrups are set a little further back, opening my seat better and thus lengthening my legs so I had to drop my stirrups down on more hole.
                            We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!


                            • #15
                              Bates Innova?

                              No experience with the Isabells, but I took one of the new Pros on trial a few months ago. I liked the old Pros, and also liked the idea of contourblocs and flocking. All of my horses are TBs and the old Pro worked fine for most of the ones I tried it on. Unfortunately, the new Pro didn't work for either of my current TBs - too flat for their slightly dippy/curved backs, and also seemed considerably longer than the old version. I liked it fine for me, so was quite sad. On a whim I just bought a Bates Innova with the smaller blocks off eBay - its panels look somewhat more curvy than those of the new Pro so I am hoping this may give me the best of both worlds. Might pose exactly the same problem, but if I get it before this thread expires I will add comments about fit in my TBs. The one I bought was a $1000 demo - supposedly girthed once but never ridden in. If it works, I will be happy to have leather at a cost comparable to that of the new Pro.
                              Last edited by visorvet; Jan. 31, 2011, 01:50 AM.


                              • #16
                                Sit in the Pro before you buy

                                Another happy Isabelle owner here. I've also sat in the new pro - a friend let me cool out her horse to get a feel for it. It's much shallower than the Isabelle and has a wider twist. Very different than the Isabelle, and not what I prefer personally. I've not sat in the new Isabelle, though a friend of mine has the new one, and also logged miles in the old one, and she says they're very similar, and likes both.
                                Don't wrassle with a hog. You just get dirty, and the hog likes it.

                                Collecting Thoroughbreds - tales of a re-rider and some TBs


                                • #17
                                  CatOnLap had something to say about the pelvic shapes that work for Pro and Isabell...can't remember what it was though. Sorry...search her posts in "Dressage" though, it was fairly recent! I just remember it being a good comment.

                                  I just received my "old style" Isabell from jeffersequine, love it. I don't ride Dressage as a main discipline, but I love the Isabell for trail riding and flat work...I'd borrowed one a few times. Since it is a synthetic, I also picked it up once the prices dropped to use when I get my baby started under saddle. What other saddle provides a reasonable fit on a chunk of a draft cross AND a scrawny Trak?

                                  For recreational riding, you really can't turn me off Wintec products. They last for the price, they seem to be really kind to most horses...sure the Wintec AP did nothing for my jumping position, but it was 100% fine until I started doing courses over 2'6". I do recognize the appeal of lovely leather and the quality construction of high-end saddles...but if the Isabell fits you and your horse, I don't think you can really go wrong with them.

                                  In terms of wear, there are some cloth/web trim pieces on the saddles. Those seemed to experience the most wear on my AP. That saddle got 3 times per week use, sometimes on up to three horses, hauled around without a cover, stored in my CAR more often than not and then got beat up every summer in the bush trail riding. I finally sold it used for the same price I'd bought it for 4 years prior.
                                  Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by in_the_zone View Post
                                    I liked the old Pro, but didn't like the old Isabell. Now I'm the opposite! I hate the new Pro. Although the seat feels nice to sit in, the panels on the saddle are very, very long and flat. It doesn't fit a lot of horse like the old one unless you have a horse with a long flat back. I love the new Isabell. The seat is more open and less trappy than the old one. The old one used to tip me forward on my crotch and the stirrup bars were placed too far back. The new one feels much different. The only thing I don't like is the seat is kind of hard! The panels on the new Isabell are made to fit a lot more horses and are shaped similar to the old Pro.
                                    Just want to post an update. I went to a local saddle shop and sat in both the new Pro and new Isabell. I agree with the above 100%. The new Isabell was really nice, the 17.5 seat was roomy for me when I had to shoehorn myself into the old one. The twist and pommel feel better, much better balance from pommel to cantle. The flaps are also much less restricting, you don't feel trapped. The only thing I did not like was how long the flaps are (17.5 inches).

                                    Really disliked the new Pro. I felt tipped forward, and the twist was very wide, with a flat seat. The flaps felt bulky under my thighs. It just felt a little too saddle seat for my taste.

                                    I do want to say though that I prefer a pretty narrow twist and good cantle support.
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Sounds like the Isabell will still be a good fit for me.... Loved my old one. I like a really deep seat and the very open hip (stirrup bars further back). One of my students just bought a pro that I'm going to sit in just to see how that feels, though. And my current horses should be quite easy to fit (sport-type TBs, good backs, ordinary withers). Listed my Amerigo on ebay. *sigh*

                                      Third Charm Event Team


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ThirdCharm View Post
                                        Sounds like the Isabell will still be a good fit for me.... Loved my old one. I like a really deep seat and the very open hip (stirrup bars further back).
                                        Then you might actually want to go down a size. The seat is still pretty deep. I ride in a 17.5-18" dressage saddle normally and the 17.5 fit me with room to spare. I could probably ride in a 17" comfortably, which I cannot in most saddles. I measured the seat on the 17.5 and it was about 17 3/4.
                                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog