When I discovered Zelda’s saddle didn’t fit this spring (Zaftig Zelda), I wrestled the extra wide gullet into my Wintec Pro Jump, but anyone who knows me won’t be suprised to learn that I was already plotting to find a better saddle to get us through the transition. One thing I’ve learned since my accident: if it makes you feel safer, don’t skimp.
For Zelda, I needed a saddle that fits (along with a longer girth). Since I assume she will eventually fit back into her Jeffries JMX, I was reluctant to spend too much money.
For me, I wanted a saddle that would let me ride with a longer leg to protect my ankle (it hurts less when I ride with long stirrups), and with a secure seat like equisuede. Partner that with a pair of full seat breeches and I figured it was the next best thing to Velcro.
I’d read good things about the WintecLite D’Lux. It’s a true all purpose saddle and has the advantage of being light weight, durable and not too expensive.
It took me some time to find one on the used market, which is always a good sign as it means people keep them. Finally, I located one in Pennsylvania that came with the full gullet set and a great price — $550 vs. $745 for a new one.
The first thing I noticed when I got the saddle is how light it is — only 13 pounds. It’s a nice bonus when your shoulder still gives you the odd twinge and you’re putting it on a large horse. I was a bit concerned when the saddle was marked as a 17.5″ seat as with a higher cantle than I’m used to, I thought I’d bought an 18″. Regardless of the marking, the saddle measures at 18″ and it fits me just fine.
I was very pleased to find that the Easy-Gullet system on this saddle is considerably easier than on my old Wintec Pro Jump. The saddle came with the blue MW gullet. To make it easier to get the White XW gullet installed, I first went up to the Red W and rode Freedom in it a few times.
The saddle has long billets, but not quite long enough to work with my current dressage girths, so I gave the saddle time to stretch out a bit and by the time I got a girth extender for Zelda, the XW gullet went in without a struggle.
The saddle is quite comfortable and even though I have long femurs, the flap fits my leg nicely. I can ride with longer stirrups and still feel secure. In fact, Freedom gave the saddle a good test when I took him on a hunt trail ride. Even with a few airs above the ground, the grippiness of the Equi-suede coupled with the slightly deeper seat, made me feel quite secure. I even popped him over some low jumps without an issue.
The real test came on Saturday during our foxhunt. Although it may sound silly, the saddle gave me confidence. I felt tight as a tick up there, even when Zelda showed her exuberance. It was very comfortable, even after a long ride and I never had to fight to keep my leg in position (many saddles have the bars too far forward for me). I wholeheartedly recommeond it to someone looking for a comfortable saddle that puts you in balance, can be adjusted for different horses, and doesn’t break the bank.