Manufacturer: Circle Y
Model: Arab Saddle
Category: Show Saddles
Purchase: I bought this saddle used, in new condition for $800 on ebay in 2006. It came with a saddle pad that I didn't use and a rope girth and nylon billets I replaced with felt and leather respectively. The saddle was manufactured on a Ralide tree, which they still use and was built some time in the 1990's. Even though it has a serial number on the tree, Circle Y was unable to tell me anything about it other than it was on an arab tree.
Likes: This is a very attractive saddle and it appears to fit my wide backed polish arab. The leather is thick and seems very durable.
Dislikes: The seat is VERY hard. I bought a cashel tush cushion and it helps a lot. I have always felt this saddle was crooked and found a lump on the underside where the skirt leather had not been pulled tight enough or was cut wrong or something. I contacted Circle Y and they agreed to look at it but I had to ship it to them. That's where the real fun started. They call me to tell me the horn was damaged in shipping and it will cost $65 to re-wrap it, the fix for what I sent it in for was another $35 plus $35 to ship it back to me. I get it back and they have used BLACK leather to rewrap the horn on a dark oil saddle, it looks terrible! The fix they did for the hump on the bottom was to tack it down with a NAIL. I could have done that!!!! It would not be worth it to send it back again to have the proper color leather used, but I am extremely disappointed with their repair service. Also, when I called customer service with the numbers on the saddle they seemed to know nothing about it. They were only knowledgeable about the current serial number system. I came from an english riding background and find the saddle very heavy, even at 27# which is on the lighter side for Western saddles. I had bought another older model Circle Y that was 37# and I could barely deal with it. I probably should have kept the older one because it was made better but it was just way too heavy for me.
Quality: I feel the hump underneath was a manufacturer defect and I am still not happy with the saddle. It still feels crooked. I also had to re-glue the leather to the back of the cantle. Compared to the older saddle (also Circle Y) the newer models are not as well made as old ones. They are not cheaply built but I think they have lost a lot of quality over the years. The leather is very thick and therefor rather stiff on the fenders, so turning the stirrups can cause some pain in your knees.
Summary: I will not buy another Circle Y. I think they are too expensive for the quality they offer now. They do retain their resale value due to the good reputation of the name from years ago. The rock hard seat may just be on some models, but I hate it. The older ones, from the 1980's and earlier are better and if you can manage the weight of them due to the different construction they are probably worth it. I think Circle Y had become too large a company to have quality products or service today.
Usefulness Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
6 reader(s) voted.
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