Part 1 - Bates, Wintec and Arena Saddle Gullets - The Easy Change System.

The Definitive Guide to the Easy Change Gullet Plate System for the Bates, Wintec and Arena Range of Saddles - This is everything you need to know about this class leading method for changing your saddles width.

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series exploring the systems used in the Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles and how amazingly adjustable these saddles actually are and how this benefits you and your horse.

It must be realised that the Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles employ several layers of adjustability and state of the art technologies which add up to the most adjustable and adaptable riding saddles available.

Part 1 - Bates, Wintec and Arena Saddle Gullets - The Easy Change System

Part 2 - Bates, Wintec and Arena Saddle Risers - The Easy Change System

Part 3 - Bates, Wintec and Arena - Horse And Rider Technologies - The HART System

The Bates, Arena and Wintec Easy Change Standard Width Gullet Kit
The Bates, Arena and Wintec Easy Change Standard Width Gullet Kit

Saddles Ireland are experts in the supply of new and used saddles. We have fitted thousands of saddles and have decades worth of experience in all saddle brands and their models. It's for this reason that we are recognised as Ireland's leading saddle experts and able to advise you on all matters that are saddle related.

The aim of this guide is to answer any questions you may have on the Easy Change Gullet System used by Bates, Wintec and Arena branded saddles. If you are new to this System you will learn why you really should be considering it.

We sympathise with every rider who has issues with saddle width. It's a tricky thing! But it's not all doom and gloom. There are things you can do to empower yourself and your saddle fitting prowess. A major thing you can do is to use an adjustable saddle system.

After fitting every combination of horse and rider, we have come to the conclusion that adjustable saddles are the way forward, without doubt.

We believe every saddle will be adjustable in the future. Indeed world leading Brands such as Bates, Fairfax, Wintec, Kent and Masters, GFS, Thorowgood, Ideal and Arena all produce adjustable saddles. Some, such as Bates, have been producing adjustable saddles for well over 40 years.

Quick Find Contents

Why are adjustable width saddles so important?

What is the Easy Change Gullet System?

Why can't a traditional tree saddle be easily adjusted?

Is the Easy Change Gullet System Easy?

So what are these Easy Change Gullets?

What widths do the Easy Change Gullets come in?

Is there a gauge I can use to ascertain the width of my horse?

How are the Bates, Wintec and Arena adjustable gullet plates supplied?

Is the Easy Change Gullet System Expensive?

Pro's and Con's?



Why are adjustable width saddles so important?

Because your horse is constantly changing shape based on work load, diet, seasons, age and more.

Imagine this scenario......You buy or even have fitted a lovely 'fixed' gullet saddle ready for the start of the competition riding season. Even if allowances are made for your horses muscling up or down (which is a very skilled task by the way), think what saddle related problems you could have when your horse is losing weight or gaining muscle through exercise!

In the main, riders simply think all is well as they assume that 'The saddle fitted last week' or 'The saddle must fit, it's brand new and was fitted by a saddle fitter'.

Unfortunately, your horse can be more changeable in width than your fixed gullet saddle is.

The above scenario is a particular situation we see daily and is only one instance amongst many instances that highlight the sense in your saddle having an adjustable gullet.

Also it is worth noting that adjustable saddles have obvious advantages when fitting saddles across more than one horse.

What is the Easy Change Gullet System?

The Easy Change Gullet System used by Bates, Wintec and Arena saddles is a means of altering the width of the flexible tree.

As explained, your horse can and regularly does change shape, so it makes sense to have a saddle that you can easily alter to match the changes in width at a minimum.

The width of a saddle is governed from the waist of the saddles tree to the tree points. This area is often referred to as the gullet.

The flexible tree is known as the Elastiflex™ Tree and it serves two purposes guided towards adjustability.

  1. The Elastiflex™ tree is designed to be rigid through the length of the saddle, while possessing side to side flex to work with the horse’s muscles.

  2. Because the tree is flexible from side to side the rider can use the Easy Change Gullet System to alter the width of the saddle by simply replacing one gullet plate with another.

Why can't a traditional tree'd saddle be easily adjusted?

In a fixed gullet saddle, the tree is not readily adjustable other than by adjusting the flocking or by using a machine that mechanically jacks in and out the the leading edge.

The adjustment of flock is a minimal action that provides only small width increments. The nature of flock is to provide a cushion and balance by creating an even surface area. A saddle's flocking is not to be relied on to alter a saddles width to any significant degree.

The mechanical action of jacking in or out the width of a saddle's tree should only be used within moderation. The Society of Master Saddlers recommend adjusting a saddles tree mechanically only once, as the stresses involved can weaken and/or twist the tree's structure thereafter.

There are other methods and systems for adjusting fixed gullet trees depending on the manufacturer and model, such as heating or removing and replacing the head. But in reality these methods are not convenient or cost effective.

Obvious limitations abound with fixed gullet saddles against the ever changing shape of your horse.

These limitations are one reason why the used saddle market is so buoyant. Riders are permanently flipping through saddles trying to deal with their width issues. Also, it's why you regularly see ad's that state - "Saddle For Sale - Bought Brand New, But No Longer Fits My Horse" or similar!

Is the Easy Change Gullet System, Easy?

At Saddles Ireland we change the Bates, Wintec and Arena gullets daily for customers taking advantage of our European wide saddle trials. We can change the gullet plates in under 5 minutes.

Even for those riders who are not so technically minded, the procedure for changing the gullets in your Bates, Wintec or Arena saddle is relatively easy.