I’m contemplating selling my schooling saddle, but I’m curious about something…
It’s a Wintec Isabel w/CAIR panels; I bought it with the intention of starting my colt when he came of age, who I unfortunately had to put down prior. I LOVED the saddle after riding my trainer’s GP horse in hers; but that didn’t have the CAIR. I ended up breaking a few 4 y/os and retraining some TBs in the Wintec CC w/ CAIR panels, and all of the young horses LOVE it… they moved really freely and elastically, which influenced me to purchased mine w/ the CAIR.
The problems arose when I ended up using my Isabel w/ CAIR on an ISH schoolmaster I was leasing. REALLY strange. He was a ‘hotter’ horse, and sensitive to the leg aids, but used to a classic seat. I’m talking all of the dressage no-no’s: He would SCREAM forward at the trot, hollow and flat… It would take 20mins of shoulder-in to settle him, and then still, his canter was a disaster; wicked imbalanced and OUT OF CONTROL… And the stronger the half-halt, the more he would take the cue as a DRIVING aid… strange. In a traditional flocked saddle, he was a really easy… as push button as a 4th level horse can be, right? Thank GOD it all change as soon as I figured out it was the saddle.
So my question is this: Is anyone familiar with the panels and have you ever had horses REALLY dislike them?
My only familiarity with them is sitting in them at the tack store and reiterating “ewww Wintec!” I really liked the concept of it all, but it was just super uncomfortable to sit in. (Same with the Bates saddles, which are a step up in quality and also have CAIR.)
My only guess is that a regular wool-flocked saddle, the flocking would be firmer/have a different feel than with CAIR. Presumably a minute shift in weight (backwards/forwards/etc) is a lot more noticeable when you’re pressing on air that presses on the leather that presses on the horse, rather than having it “filtered” through a bunch of wool. (In addition, it’s probably a lot more focused, so the horse actually feels your seatbone pressing down rather than just a general feeling of more weight.
That’s just my guess.
And sometimes horses take a dislike to the weirdest things.
Or, alternatively…you only thought it fitted him. I’ve seen that…a saddle that looks like it fits, shows clear gullet, all the rules…but is actually restrictive to the horse.
Same saddle, same horse, same problem. I sold my Wintec because my old Grand Prix schoolmaster responded in the same way to it. My opinion is that the CAIR can do the opposite of what they advertise – think of squishing a balloon and getting two big overinflated ends with no air in the middle – and cause pressure points and soreness. I’ve never actually ridden a horse in one who didn’t go better in one of my other saddles. shrug Maybe it’s a case of the panels not being able to “mold” to a horse’s back properly? I also had a CC, which I liked a little bit better, but due to the problems I had with the Isabelle, I didn’t ride in it much. I used it mostly to back babies and lunge problem horses because I didn’t care if they flipped over on it Personally, I’m a big fan of Crosby dressage saddles.
But, pretty much, I agree with Shanthi – in my experience it’s been mostly “ewww Wintec!”
Very interesting! Thanks for the discussion, guys. The Wintec is GOING!
Although I’m ‘temporarily’ horseless, I still have my Rembrandt to hold and love on a cold winter’s night…
Thankfully, I don’t have to break any horses in it.
I’ll hold out for the horse of my dreams for a Passier or a Hermes…