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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2012
    Location
    Crestview, Fl
    Posts
    453

    Default Exchangeable Gullet System Saddles

    Do you have a preference? I'm saddle hunting for the first time. I'm currently horseless although I have the opportunity to ride several different horses that are very differently built. I would like something that's got decent quality and a little easy on the pocket book and can fit a wide variety of horses.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2012
    Posts
    145

    Default

    I have two wintec saddles for my horse. One all purpose and one dressage. I don't have a big budget and also am hoping he will build up some muscle so will need a different size. I can change the size without replacing the saddle, which I could not afford to do. Since they are mostly synthetic material I was somewhat unsure of how that would work out at first, coming from a more Western backround, but now that I have been riding in them for a while, I am happy with them. They are pretty low maintenance that way and are fine for what I am doing, which is schooling shows and lessons.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2010
    Location
    SE VA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default

    Some may look down on them, but I love my wintec cc. It looks just like a bates until you get RIGHT on it and see the wintec label. Very well styled and comfey.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 18, 2011
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    187

    Default

    I have a Collegiate leather convertible tree dressage saddle for Miss Mare. I purpously bought a convertible due to the fact I have no idea How.Big. She will get. One year we had no withers now we have almost shark fins. It's totally good enough for now, maybe not as padded as the fancy saddles but I have my own padding.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2011
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    575

    Default

    I have the Pessoa GenX with the exchangeable gullet. I got it for similar reasons - I was leasing a horse from a trainer who really wanted me to have my own saddle (which, obviously, had to fit that horse) and I had sold all of mine when I was horseless. I didn't want to spend a ton of money working around a horse that wasn't mine, but also wanted a decent saddle that had some hope of fitting another horse or two down the road. For those purposes, it's great, and I love the saddle. It's certainly true that the gullet isn't the end of saddle fit, so bear in mind that there's no promise of it fitting everyone.

    As far as changing the gullet, I'm not sure it's not something I'd want to do multiple times a day. It's not especially difficult, but it is sort of time-consuming and not how I'd want to spend my time between rides at the barn. I've also only done it a couple of times (when trying to figure out which one fit the dang QH with the high withers and wide shoulders) so maybe it gets faster with more practice.

    And for the record, it never really fit the high-withered, wide-shouldered QH all that well. Owner/trainer had me keep using it but ride with a zillion pads under it like I was the damn princess and the pea.
    If the pony spits venom in your face or produces a loud roar, it is probably not a pony. Find another. -The Oatmeal



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2012
    Posts
    1,799

    Default

    I have a Pessoa Nelson (it's an oddball model) with the exchangeable gullet and I am very happy with how it fits my narrow TB. It's easy to exchange the gullet plates. I have ridden in others at the barn and found them comfortable for me.
    A helmet saved my life.

    2014 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
    Posts
    1,752

    Default

    Note: Changing the gullet size does not guarantee fit in other areas.

    That said, if the panels and general tree shape are appropriate, the opportunity to switch out or adjust the gullet width can be nice, especially if your horse changes condition/weight throughout the year.

    The M. Toulouse Genesis tree is particularly easy to adjust (no taking the saddle apart, just reach under a flap in the channel to rotate a wheel).
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,811

    Default

    As a general answer, the Collegiate Convertible Diploma. It's the leather cousin to the Wintec Close Contact and also a cheaper cousin of the Bates Caprilli Close Contact, although it more closely resembles the medium-deep-seated Bates Caprilli CCs of yesteryear than the current shallow-seated Bates Caprilli CCs.

    The runners-up would be the Pessoa GenX XCH and the Ovation Competition Showjumper XCH. As someone has already mentioned, they are not quite as generous in their fit as the Wintec CC and the Collegiate CC. I don't mean to imply that the Wintec CC and the Collegiate CC fit everything well--they certainly don't!--but they have a slightly higher pommel arch and slightly thicker panels that make them a little more forgiving of big withers. They are also more flat from side to side whereas the GenX and Competition Showjumper are a liiiiiiiitle more angular in the panel shape.

    I am splitting hairs here, and they're all great saddles for a horseless rider. But if it were my problem, I'd be choosing between two saddles: the Collegiate Convertible Diploma at around $1000 retail + the Kent and Masters Jump at around $1500 retail. The Kent and Masters is a really nice saddle, but you said "easy on the pocketbook" and I'm trying to be respectful of that. I also think it's wise to budget for a shimmable sheepskin half pad to complement your adjustable gullet saddle.

    Finally, ditto SweetMutt's advice that these saddles are not designed to be adjusted frequently or easily. Most people take about 10 minutes of annoyance and irritation to get it done, and even if you master that process, the saddle tree points can only take so much in-and-out over the course of their lives. They just don't build $1000 saddles to a survive-a-beating standard. Indeed, the one thing I can say in defense of the Pessoa GenX XCH and the Ovation Showjumper XCH is that Pessoa offers a lifetime tree warranty and consistently stands behind it. Wintec/Bates has a 5-year guarantee on their tree, but their warranty claim process is cumbersome and you'll definitely want to have your original receipt to make it happen. So if you intend to buck the advice given here and adjust the gullet all. the. time, a Pessoa/Ovation saddle might pay for itself in warranty work.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007
    Location
    Landrum, SC
    Posts
    1,752

    Default

    Agree 100% with the Diploma. Nice balance, traditional good looks, leather breaks in easily, wool flocked. Great price.

    Second favorite is the new Pessoa Heritage AMS. The addition of the choice of Alto, Corto or Regular panels adds to an already great saddle in the middle range (about $2300).
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
    www.Ride-With-Confidence.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2009
    Location
    Rock Chalk!
    Posts
    3,090

    Default

    I have a Collegiate Alumni, which has fit the horses I've ridden in it fine. I do like the adjustability, although it's not easy to do. Another rider at our barn got a Toulouise adjustable as she outgrew her other saddle before selling her old horse, and it's fit both of her boys well. I think they're a good option.
    A proud friend of bar.ka.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2011
    Location
    Snohomish, WA
    Posts
    447

    Default

    I have the Bates Caprilli CC. I was riding for a lady with several arabs and my horse was really narrow. Obviously one saddle wasn't going to fit all. Or was it? I searched and searched. I didn't have much money to spend. I looked at all the brands available, I knew of the wintec but I wanted a leather saddle and more importantly, chestnut or whatever they call that color. This was about 4 years ago and there weren't as many choices, in my probe range anyway. I selected a bates, tried saddles at my local tack shop and then scoured EBay daily for THE saddle. It popped up one day, of course the owner was asking a couple hundred too much. Luckily no one bought the saddle and I talked her down a bit. The saddle was barely used, she was just getting out of horses.

    Lucky for me the medium tree seems to fit most, even my narrow warmblood! I have never had a problem and love this saddle. Now it's no Pessoa, but it's far better than my Wintec dressage saddle. I figured if I was going to have a saddle for ten years but not necessarily the same horse, I needed something that was adjustable. Best buy. I've ridden several horses in this saddle and it looks as good as the day I got it.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2011
    Location
    Cynthiana KY (~40 min. NE of Lexington)
    Posts
    530

    Default

    I have the wintec close contact and i love it. I agree with the people who caution about not changing the gullet on ANY of them too much. But I like that I can put the wide gullet in for the spring and have it fit everyone I need it for (although some of the narrower horses get some shims) and then once everyone is fitter and fuller, I can put the extra wide gullet in. I plan on getting a winctec dressage saddle later on.

    Sheila
    Sheila Zeltt
    Chestnut Run Stable & Zeltt Racing Stable
    www.Zeltt.com
    Standing "Tiz Brian" at Stud, 16.1 h bay TB by Tiznow



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2012
    Location
    Crestview, Fl
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Thanks for the input guys! I wouldn't be changing the gullet daily, only if my ride changed which isn't very often at all.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2004
    Location
    NASCAR HELL
    Posts
    1,744

    Default

    HDR has the new RTF like the Toulouse. Although I haven't laid eyes on one so I am not sure how the quality is in person.

    I have an Ovation Showjumper and I love it. I rode in the diploma and I prefer the Ovation.....the Dipoma sits a bit more downhill to me.

    Also, Rick's Heritage has a new saddle call the Bella something. Anyone looked at that saddle.

    I breed horses and can't afford to buy a saddle for each horse I ride. I just keep a couple on different settings and there you go.

    I also have the Convertible Intellect Dressage saddle and LOVE IT.
    The rider casts his heart over the fence,
    the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

    –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
    Location
    On the buckle
    Posts
    957

    Default

    The Collegiate Alumni, which three at our barn have now and all love, might work best for those with a shorter hip to knee as the flap is straighter. I wouldn't want to change the flap every day, but once in awhile is really no problem. You can find them barely used for $6-700 if you look.
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2004
    Location
    NASCAR HELL
    Posts
    1,744

    Default

    The Alumni had the cheapest leather of any I have seen. If you are tall forget it. I tried one and sent it back.
    The rider casts his heart over the fence,
    the horse jumps in pursuit of it.

    –Hans-Heinrich Isenbart



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 12, 2010
    Posts
    292

    Default

    I love the Intrepid. We bought one for DH and its been great. His leg seems as stable in that as it does when he rides in my CWD for 1/4 the cost + the adjustable tree.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
    Location
    On the buckle
    Posts
    957

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by europa View Post
    The Alumni had the cheapest leather of any I have seen. If you are tall forget it. I tried one and sent it back.
    They take an unbelieveable amount of oil, but after mine was well conditioned and broken in, it's quite OK, soft and durable. I admit that when I first saw it it looked like beige cardboard, but now it's glowing, between oakbark and havana (thanks, Walsh Oil) and is very grippy.
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



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