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Circuit Saddles Update: Premier Special and Premier Special Eq?

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  • Circuit Saddles Update: Premier Special and Premier Special Eq?

    COTHers, help me out here! I have been casually looking at purchasing a new (used) saddle, and while looking through the closeouts on Dover's website I stumbled across this:


    Is this a good deal? What can y'all tell me about Circuit Elites? I've only ridden in a Circuit once, and while I did like it, it was an older model, so I'm not sure how comparable it would be to this new one. For reference, I'm 5'2 and about 105 lb. I'm in college and sold my hunter beforehand so I'm currently riding a variety of horses. While I'm not looking for anything fancy, I would like a saddle nice enough to use showing if the occasion presented itself. Thanks guys!
    Last edited by FleabittenGray; Mar. 7, 2013, 04:53 PM.

  • #2
    I used to ride in a Circuit Elite that I grabbed new during a Dover summer sale for $700. Those are the new but old models, if that makes any sense. There's new Circuits out now but those are not the ones made in England.

    I liked mine well enough. It was reasonably comfortable, pretty durable and cleaned up nicely for shows. It had a nice tree that was wide enough that I could pad it up if I rode TBs.


    • #3
      For some reason I remember there being a thread on here of someone that bought one on sale and loved it, but I have no personal experience. You might want to do a forum search.


      • #4
        I have commented about mine before but don't mind repeating here. I have a Circuit Elite, purchased new in 2000. I was taking weekly lessons at the time. It's been a great saddle for me: very attractive (I always get compliments on it), comfortable, good-wearing and best of all for someone who rides a lot of different horses, VERY adaptable. It's been on everything from a TB to a large pony to a Percheron, and never bothered any of them.

        The leather quality on mine is good, but certainly not what you'll get on anything popular now made in France! A bit hard and a bit slippery. However, for the money I think the Circuit saddles are hard to beat for looks, wear, comfort and practicality.
        "Horses lend us the wings we lack." ~ Pam Brown


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by hightide View Post
          I used to ride in a Circuit Elite that I grabbed new during a Dover summer sale for $700. Those are the new but old models, if that makes any sense. There's new Circuits out now but those are not the ones made in England.

          I liked mine well enough. It was reasonably comfortable, pretty durable and cleaned up nicely for shows. It had a nice tree that was wide enough that I could pad it up if I rode TBs.
          Do you know when the ones made in England are coming out? Thanks everyone for your responses so far!


          • #6
            I have never had one, but I remember a thread in which people complained that the ones made recently were not of good quality. You may want to do a search.
            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


            • #7
              I had one that I bought new in 2002 that was really nice...decent quality, fit the horses well, nice enough to show in, etc. It wasnt the same leather quality you would find in a more $$$$$$ of course, but not crap either.

              I then bought one in 2011 and it was pure crap. There was a huge difference in the two saddles.
              Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
              Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
              Green Alligator "Captain"


              • Original Poster

                Thanks y'all for all the responses. I've done some research as well, and it sounds like the new Circuit Elites aren't too great. Does anyone have experience with the Circuit Premier Special or Premier Special Eq?


                • #9
                  The Premier Special Eq is awesome, but I had to send two back (one was a replacement for the first) because the dye was coming off when I cleaned it. Dover's looking into the issue to see if I just somehow got two bad ones or if there's something off in the process.

                  Ignoring that, as a saddle I loved it and was really sad when the second had the same issue - it's lovely, comfy, and very nice to ride in.


                  • #10
                    rolypoly what were you cleaning it with?
                    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


                    • #11
                      I had a Circuit Elite, and while it held up nicely (except for the color, which seemed to have rubbed off), but it put me in a chair seat. I sold it and bought a used Circuit Eq. I love it. Again, the color has come off the flap where my leg sits (it was off before I got it, so it's not all my fault, lol) but it's otherwise in good shape and is very comfortable. I'm sorta looking at the new ones, as they look to be nice for the price.


                      • #12
                        The first one was Belvoir cleaner. The second I first tried castile soap...and when that did the same thing, I switched to a damp sponge to see, and yup, that did it too!

                        It's really frustrating because the saddle itself was pretty awesome.


                        • #13
                          Yes...the color came off the 2nd elite I had, ribbed off on the flaps where my legs were.
                          Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                          Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                          Green Alligator "Captain"


                          • #14
                            I forgot I had a flickr set of the weird dye issue:



                            • #15
                              Thanks for posting rolypoly, just asking because I have a Tad that I love but I want a second saddle (wish I could afford another Ted!). I had a Dover Circuit that I loved. Great saddle for the price. I don't think the dye thing would bother me too much -- was it only under the flap? And nor would the rain spot on the pommel, those usually go away with some conditioning.
                              Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


                              • #16
                                I didn't try beyond under the flap - with the first one, it was everywhere I tried to clean! I couldn't deal w/ the stress of wondering if after enough cleanings if the whole saddle would just stay pale forever! The sponge came away totally brown!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by TB Hunter View Post
                                  Do you know when the ones made in England are coming out? Thanks everyone for your responses so far!
                                  I think you misunderstood hightide's comment. I believe the older Circuit saddles were made in England but that the newer ones are made elsewhere, although I can't remember where. From comments on these forums I got the impression that the newer ones are not as nice quality as the original Circuits.


                                  • #18
                                    I purchased the Circuit Premier Special on a whim, it fit my tb mare and my long hip to knee fairly well. However after hunting in it 3 times and hacking in it another 3 times the saddle was completely falling apart. I wipe down my tack after every ride, cover it, and keep it in a climate controlled tack room. There was no excuse for this. Whenever I would clean the flaps they would turn this grayish color and the saddle never took oil well. The stitching came undone where the knee patch meets the flap, the leather split under the "skirt" and there were cracks on the underside of the flaps. I returned it to Dover for a full refund, the saddle was only 6 months old.

                                    They just don't make leather like they used to. I would rather spend $1,000 on a used high quality saddle than $1000 on a new saddle. I looked around and found an older Jaguar made by Harry Dabbs that I am in love with. My other saddle is a custom CWD for my gelding who is built completely different than my mare. My advice would be steer clear of the Circuits at all costs, huge disappointment!
                                    Last edited by Reminisce; Mar. 10, 2013, 01:47 PM. Reason: spelling- silly iPhone!


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks again for all the info! I have always thought Circuits looks nice, but I'm so glad I asked and know better now. Looks like I'll be looking at some used but higher quality saddles.


                                      • #20
                                        I'm sorry to hear that you guys have been unhappy with the recent Circuit saddles. Guess I'd better keep taking care of mine! When I first got it, the leather dye did, in fact, rub off, mainly on the flaps. I just kept cleaning and conditioning with Lexol products and eventually it "stabilized." The color is even now, and just a darker brown. All stitching and leather is in good shape. However, this saddle has never seen daily use and has not been used much at all for the past seven years. But when I got it out and rode in it several times last year it was A-Ok.

                                        OP, I wish you luck in your search. If you do decide to take a chance on a Circuit, I think Dover's warranty is pretty good...
                                        "Horses lend us the wings we lack." ~ Pam Brown