Circle Y and Circle T saddles are both western saddle brands, which means they are sturdier and have saddle horns, compared to English saddles. But in spite of their similarities, they also have several differences. Those differences include new saddle cost, brand recognition and value and quality of materials and craftsmanship. Those differences can be very important if you do plan to do a lot of riding for recreational purposes--or to compete professionally.
One of the major differences between Circle Y saddles and the Circle T brand is pricing. According to the Western Saddle Guide, Circle T saddles can be purchased brand new for $500 or less. Circle Y saddles; on the other hand, can vary in pricing between $500 and $999 for a new saddle to over $2,000 per saddle. This cost difference can be attributed to two factors: quality and brand recognition.
Brand Recognition and Value
Circle Y, founded in 1960 in Yoakum, Texas by Leland Tucker, was a family operation committed to producing high quality saddles, according to the Circle Y website. Some of their earlier saddles display intricate designs and leather craftsmanship that can command top dollar from saddle enthusiasts. The company continues to enjoy brand recognition as well, in spite of selling the business in the early 2000s. Circle T is a relatively new product manufactured under the Teskey company name, with the main store located in Weatherford, Texas, since the company's creation in 2002. Circle T saddles are more of a mass-produced lower-end type saddle, created by the company specifically to provide the most basic saddle needs at a minimum cost to their customers. Teskey makes some upper-end saddles but their Circle T product is their least expensive product line. They also sell the competition--Circle Y saddles--on a used basis.
Quality and Craftsmanship
Both Circle Y and Circle T boast similar saddle parts: the horn, the seat and the stirrups, for example. But they part ways when it comes to special features like Circle Y's Ergo Balanced Stirrups, Neo-Shock Skirt and their registered Softee seat jockeys and fenders, which prevents riders from experiencing a saddle break-in period. In addition to adding impact foam to improve seat comfort--and using Durahide instead of rawhide to reduce moisture from the elements--Circle Y has also managed to reduce saddle weight in their Flex2 saddle. Thus Circle Y saddles boasts technological advancements that support their craftsmanship claims. On the other hand, Circle T doesn't propose to be high-quality or to boast superior craftsmanship. Instead, Circle T seems content to offer the greatest quality and craftsmanship for the low-end pricing range market they are pursuing.
- saddle image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com