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Dover Circuit Premier Special Saddle - Anyone?

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  • Dover Circuit Premier Special Saddle - Anyone?

    I have a student in need of a new saddle. Generally, I prefer to have riders in a "better" saddle that is used than a spending the same money on something else that is new. However, that is proving to be difficult in this case.

    This kid's price range is about a $1,000. I found a Beval Natural for her to try ($1,200) but she did not like it. Having a hard time finding something else suitable in that price range.

    Thought about getting a test ride saddle of this to try, but wondered if anyone could offer any reviews first? I am normally not a fan of smooth leather flaps, but ... I cannot put the kid in what I would really like anyway ($) so something's got to give!


  • #2
    I would find something used and better quality but thats my opinion.

    I personally do not like Dover brands but you have the option for trial which cannot hurt. Your client may love it!


    • #3
      Personally, I would be reluctant to buy a new model of any saddle. I would wait until it has a track record. I have seen some Circuits that have held up well, but others I've seen around the barn have ripped, etc.

      I wonder if you and your student would consider a brand that flies under the radar a bit, something like the Stubben Edelweiss. It's a nice close-contact saddle, but it's not trendy, so you could find a used model within your student's price range. It's very well-made so you wouldn't have to worry about its falling apart.
      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Ozone View Post
        I would find something used and better quality but thats my opinion.

        I personally do not like Dover brands but you have the option for trial which cannot hurt. Your client may love it!

        I don't disagree with you! However, I am having a very hard time finding something at (or very close to) the $1,000 budget. I was excited to find the Beval Natural at $1200, but she was not happy with it at all - claimed it poked into the sides of her butt ...

        Many of my clients have used Butet and Antares saddles, but those are still easily double this kids budget. I do have one kid who, two years ago, I needed to find an inexpensive saddle for a VERY high withered horse who was VERY difficult to fit. We tried LOTS of saddles and everything pushed on his withers except the Butet. Knowing that was out of the question for these people, I got lucky enough to find a Dover Circuit (no idea which model - but it is an older one) at a smaller barn nearby. Thankfully it fit, the kid liked it, and while I would like the quality of the leather to be a bit better, I really cannot complain - it has served them well.

        The kid currently in need has ridden in both the Circuit and the Butet and liked both (and if I recall, I think she even said she liked the Circuit better!). If it weren't for my one other kid with one of the Circuit saddles, I probably would have overlooked it completely. However, I have to work with the budget the customer has and I am not having great luck with other options. Plus, the mom is not going to be thrilled about shipping too many in for us to try - she's already grumbling and we're only looking to get the second one in! I suspect that they money spent on shipping trial saddles will ultimately reduce the price able to pay for a saddle if we don't solve this soon.


        • #5
          I tried the Dover Circuit Elite & was not impressed at all. Leather was hard like plastic. I sent it back & got a Pessoa off the slighty used section. It had been used in the test ride program maybe twice. It was a $1300 saddle & I got it for around $900. I would look there but they may not have many kids sized used ones.


          • #6
            I think the suggestion of a used Stubben makes sense. As already stated, they are not fashionable so easy to find one used within your client's budget, and they are well made and last forever (I just sold one that was more than 40 years old for $500). Another great saddle is Northrun's Ashland, www.northrun.com. Not in fashion but an excellent choice for the money. You can find used Beval's in all price ranges too.


            • #7
              All the Dover Elites I've come in contact with, (which is a lot, I happen to work at one of the stores), are nice and soft, and the one that I sat in seemed well balanced and comfortable. If you're near a store, I'd say it wouldn't hurt to try sitting in one and seeing how it feels. I'm a big fan of getting a nicer saddle that is used, but I understand that sometimes it doesn't work out. Good luck in the search!
              Originally posted by MistyPony
              In all my years of riding, gravity is the one thing that has never failed on me!


              • #8
                I don't know what size your student needs, but check out this deal for a brand-new Edelweiss:

                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                • #9
                  i have a circuit elite that I use for a lesson saddle they has held up very well & is pretty abused. Fits most of my horses fairly well (with some corrective padding for one or two lesson horses).

                  I've found it to be as nice as my pessoa Gen X as far as holding up. The Circuit is a year older (2004) than my Pessoa & is way more abused. The leather is actually a little more supple than the Pessoa.


                  • #10
                    Ovation. This is the best $1,000 saddle out there. The design and materials make it so.... and give some of the $2.5K-ers a deserved run for their money.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #11
                      No comment on Circuits, but...

                      You might check out SmartPak's saddle selection. They have free shipping both ways.
                      "Je suis Pony Owner."


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        Ovation. This is the best $1,000 saddle out there. The design and materials make it so.... and give some of the $2.5K-ers a deserved run for their money.

                        Also what about a Beval Stamford? I find them more comfortable than the naturals and the leather quality is very nice for the price.


                        • #13
                          I love my Circuit, but it's a 2005 model, and I've noticed that the leather quality on the newer Circuits isn't nearly as nice as my "old" model. However, I've noticed that you can usually find several Circuit saddles for sale on Ebay, so if you can find a size you like in the store you can probably score a better (i.e. older) version of it for 1/2 price online.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rel6 View Post

                            Also what about a Beval Stamford? I find them more comfortable than the naturals and the leather quality is very nice for the price.
                            I'll give the OP my thumbs down on this saddle. They are made in Argentina (or similar) and in a factory that does not seem to have top o' the line quality control. If you find one Stamford you like, awesome. But individual saddles will probably vary.

                            Also, they are calf-covered saddles. Those take some lovin' when the leather is tippy top quality. I think the calf found on middle-of-the-road saddles looking to imitate the high end is a weak spot.

                            The moral of the story of me is always: Get the best bang for your buck at your price point. Besides fit for kid and horse, that will be quality of workmanship, leather and design.

                            OP, you could look at some Collegiates, too. And some used Pessoas might work. Both lines have reliable, conventional design.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              Just bought the Dover Circuit Premier Special!

                              The first saddle I ever bought was a Dover Circuit Elite or Pro (one of the "plasticy" saddles). Although it got really bad stirrup leather markings very quickly (and the leather was bad quality), I absolutely loved that saddle! I felt completely balanced in it. And it fit every single lesson horse, but it did not fit the horse I ended up buying a year later (of course!). So I sold it on ebay and bought a Bates, which fit my horse but I didn't particularly love it.

                              After that, I rode in everything: Bates, Amerigo, Antares, CWD, Pessoa, Beval, Tad Coffin....to be honest, NOTHING felt as balanced to me (except for the Beval). I ended up buying the Dover Circuit Premier Special and I am finally back to normal! Although I don't like the flaps, which marks really easily, this saddle is a HUGE improvement from the "plastic" leather. Its extremely soft. And it even came with a free bridle, which was also upgraded with the same chocolate colored soft leather.

                              I'm shocked no one else really seems to like the Circuit Saddles, people usually have pretty good things to say about them in my area. The only negative was the plastic leather and that has been fixed with the new Premier line...

                              Also, it has a more forward flap than the first Dover saddle that I got. Which I love seeing as I'm 5'11!
                              - D.O.


                              • #16
                                D.O., I'm glad you chimed in. Sounds as if the OP has some good options.
                                I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                                • #17
                                  I rode in a Dover Circuit Elite for years. I believe I got in in the late 90's. I still have it, and it is my second favorite saddle after my brand new Tad Coffin which was fitted just for me (sort of like saying I stepped up to a Rolls Royce).

                                  I liked the Dover saddle very much. I got it after getting rid of a Butet, whose leather on the pommel and seat I could tell was not going to last long. The Dover has held up great. I recently had the tree checked and it was fine. The leather of the saddle is fine too after many years of riding in jeans. I give up two thumbs up.
                                  Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.