Q: How do you tell the difference between the Circly Y Bob Marshall and the original Bob Marshall Sports Saddles?
A: On the original SS there is a 2 inch silver oval emblem on the mounting side or left side of the saddle, on the front skirting area which will say "Genuine Sports Saddle", "U.S. patent #5018340". This silver emblem is most always on the mounting or left side of the front skirting of the saddle. The Circle Y Bob Marshal (CYBM) does not have this emblem but will say something like CY Bob Marshall Sport Saddle.
Q: Why is Bob Marshall's name on the Circle Y saddle and is that saddle the same or different from the Bob Marshall original Sports Saddles?
A: The CYBM and the Bob Marshall original treeless Sports Saddles (SS) are different. Riders that have used both the CYBM and the original SS have written and told us that the Circle Y doesn't ride like the originals.
Barrel racers in particular explain that one of the main differences is that the seat in the Circle Y is a bit stiffer. Barrel Racers report that the stirrup position is set back an inch or so. Some barrel racers find that the set-back position is uncomfortable for their sport because it places their stirrups to far under them.
The maker of the CYBM is licensed to make a saddle based on a pattern that Bob Marshall developed. Bob does not have any control over the quality of materials or the building process used to make the CYBM saddles. The Circle Y saddles are "factory made" barrel saddles that cannot be customized. Circle Y makes a saddle they market as an endurance saddle but it is actually a barrel racer without a horn. The pommel and cantle are the same height as the ones on their barrel racer.
In contrast, the SS Endurance saddle is completely setup for endurance competition. The design was inspired by competitive endurance riders for that purpose. Compared to the CY endurance saddle, SS's Endurance saddle is very different with a two inch high pommel and a three inch cantle. Weighing-in at a scant 12 pounds, the SS Endurance is covered over in a luscious black or chocolate, smooth and glove-leather-soft, but enduring leather. All the other SS models follow in this same light-weight tradition.
From what has been observed in tack shops and from customer reports, the CYBM saddles in tack shops and in catalogues seems to be the barrel racer, primarily. The fact that the CYBM is really a barrel racer may not be obvious to the casual observer, who is shopping for a trail saddle.
In the past, customers have called us explaining that the pommel/horn height of the CYBM is too much for them on the trails. The SS Trail pommel and horn are each about one inch lower than on the CYBM and on the SS Debra Sibley Barrel Racers.
If you buy a trail CYBM, which is set-up as a barrel racer, you will find the pommel and horn are high. This condition can be cumbersome on the trail as the rider bends low over the saddle going under a low branch. During a safe moment, look under one of the knee flaps of the CYBM (not when going under the low branch) and you may see a little sign that says "barrel saddle or racer".