Manufacturer: Circle Y Flex-Lite Saddles 2001/2004 models (View all products by Circle Y)
Model: Omaha 1554 mfg 2001 and Pheonix 1652 mfg 2004 (View all Omaha 1554 mfg 2001 and Pheonix 1652 mfg 2004 reviews)
Category: Trail Saddles
Purchase: I Bought these two Circle Y Flex-Lite saddles USED off the internet for $750 and $1000. The Circle Y serial numbers are unique and are wonderful to identify exactly what you are getting. By using a saddle fitting tool (EquiFit back form) and being able to borrow two Flex 2 Wide model saddles to try out, I discovered that the Regular or Semi-QH tree was the better fit for my new horse. The wide fit in the withers but not under the seat and rest of the back. The older Flex-Lite models (before 2006) seem to have naturally wider gullets at 7" and a closer to the horse fit in the seat maybe because they don't have the extra padding on the bottom that the Flex 2 models do. I love the close to the horse fit!!! Since I always use a quality felt pad, the extra padding on the borrowed Flex2 saddles made me feel like I was sitting miles above my horse's back. When I discovered that my 2001 Flex-Lite saddle fit even my impossible to fit mutton wither pony, I went and found another Flex-Lite saddle built in 2004 and love it!! I was amazed that it fit well enough to stay in place without pinching or moving side to side. I did find that I had to use both rings in the 3-way rigging to get the perfect fit and like that option that is almost standard for Circle Y saddles.
Likes: The softee leather makes the saddle feel comfortable right away - no break in period is needed except to turn the stirrups. The 3-way rigging offers options for distributing the girth pressure nicely. The lighter weight makes it so easy to saddle up too! The used saddles are a great buy and the popular Flex-Lite models seem to hold their resale value at between $700 to $1000 pretty well.
Dislikes: I am a little concerned about the rider weight limits for the Flex tree saddles that have been mentioned in a few reviews and by my local tack shop dealer - 180 lbs for original Flex-Lite and 220 lbs for Flex2. Since I don't spend more than a few hours on the trail and at most a few times a week and I always use a good quality thick felt pad under the saddle I am just resolved to carefully monitor the horse for back soreness and deal with it if it happens. And it is a great incentive for keeping myself fit and trim!
Quality: The leather is good quality and the softee aspect makes it feel so good. The flat seats on many Park & Trail models are wonderful for trail riding and for doing training exercises.
Summary: After years of trying to find a saddle for my mutton wither large pony, I LOVE these Circle Y Flex-Lite (original tree version) saddles! Mfg years 1998 to 2005 are the original CY Flex-Lite trees with some differences as the technology evolved and mfg years 2006+ are CY Flex 2 trees. Use the Circle Y serial numbers to help you identify what you are buying (go to web site FAQ section to interpret them) and use a demo or trial saddle to verify the fit if you can! These are keeper saddles!
Author: Hard to fit Fjord owner - Feb 2010
Usefulness Rating: 4.4 out of 5.
30 reader(s) voted.
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