Trail tack
READING CIRCLE Y SERIAL NUMBERS
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When I am reading a saddle number I will work the numbers backwards looking for the month and year at the far right of the numbers first then reading right to left versus left to right to determine the color or seat color, seat size and type of tree.

Once I have determined the month and year then I can generally figure out the rest of the numbers more easily. 

Please note that in the late 1970's to mid 1980's the saddle serial numbers were not always very accurate and did not provide much information past the month and year and the model number.

Other names used by Circle Y that may appear on your saddle
Circle Y had several locations that made saddles for them in and around Yoakum.  Here are a few names that may appear on the saddle.
-Sweet Home
-Shiner
-Cow Country
-Rebel
but are all genuine Circle Y brand.

Circle Y also made saddles for some of it's dealers  which will have a ā€˜Jā€™ as its first numeral.
'SP' in front of the model means Special for special makeup.


READING CIRCLE Y SERIAL NUMBERS
Let's take a look a some tags
Let's  start by looking at what the numbers say.  When we look at the format we can tell it is a newer saddle and the tag indicates 2008 on the second line, so now we know wher to start.  The model number is 1572, 2=Black suede seat, 50=15" seat, 1=walnut in color and the -05 = a wide tree. 
Let's  start by looking at what the numbers say.
Let's start by looking at what the numbers say.  When we look at the format we can tell it is a older saddle, the model number is 2666.  When I look at the numbers I know the 8= the tree size and any number other then 5 is a semi qtr tree.  60= seat size and this being an older saddle the number after the seat size is an 8=pecan color, after that I know the month and year are next in this format which is 04=April and 10=2010.  The 04 at the end can mean a number of things and is not important in our general information. 
Let's start by looking at what the numbers say.  When we look at the format we can tell it is a newer saddle and the tag indicates 2006 on the second row, so now we know where to start.  The model number is 1651, 8= Apache distress brown seat, 60=16" seat, 8=pecan color and the -04 = a semi qtr tree / regular  tree. 
Let's start by looking at what the numbers say.  When we look at the format we can tell it is an older saddle so now we know where to start.  The model number is 1551, 1=Semi Qtr tree, 60=16" seat, 8=Pecan in color and the 04=April, 02=2002. 
Let's  start by looking at what the numbers say.  Whe we look at the format we can tell it is an older saddle, so now we know where to start.  The model number is 2701, 1= Semi Qtr tree, 80=18" seat, 4=Regular oil in color so a light oil and the
02 = Feb, 99=1999.  The 03 at the end is not significant to us.
JUST A NOTE ON SADDLE TREE WIDTHS AND GULLET WIDTHS,  Circle Y has used a number of saddle trees over the years...literally hundreds and saddle tree standards have changed as our horses body types have changed from very bulky foundation quarter horses now to a more refined body type.

Older Circle Y Saddles will gererally have wider gullets and trees then saddles made today.  So a Semi Qtr tree today is not the same as a semi qtr tree on older Circle Y Saddles. The older saddles used to have quite wide gullets that would compare to what Circle Y calls a "DRAFT" tree today so I suggest before ruling out a saddle based on the Circle Y serial numbers.....get some measurements first. 

I suggest measuring 3 places on your saddle.  Here are some photo to help explain. 
Let's start by looking at a bare tree.  This is when saddle trees are initially measured...they are bare with no skirting or seat padding or anything, so you see when we add skirting it changes the gullet width.  Some manufacturers pad a lot, some very little so always measure your saddle in the 3 places shown to get the best and most accurate fit for your horse. 
Let's start by looking at this first measurement of approximately 6" at the top of the gullet...and also look at the height of the gullet which is also an important consideration for a high withered horse versus a flat backed horse.  This first measurement will give me a top of gullet measurement. 
Let's look at this 2nd measurement that will be at the base of the bars or bottom of the gullet generally across the front where the conchos are screwed in on most saddles.  This saddle is a Dale Chavez and it is known to have a Full Quarter tree and measures just over 7" at those conchos and would be a good fit for a stocky built horse. 
Let's start by look at this 3rd measurement where you will feel for the edge of the bars of the saddle on each side and take a snug measurement across the valley of the bars...the wider this measurement the wider the bars are on the saddle and generally coupled with Full Quarter bars which are wider, this saddle would be a good fit for most horses unless they are narrow or have high withers.  If this measurement is 10" or so it would be narrow bars and would be a good fit for a narrow bodied horse.  If this measures12" and wider it may be a good fit for a flatter backed horse.
WITHER TRACING is another option to help with saddle fit. 

1. Take a wire coat hanger and cut a straight 24" long piece.

2. Take the wire and bend half on one side of your horse's wither and half on the other side of the wither just behind the shoulder blade to make a mountain peak that mimics the slope and grade of your horses withers.

3. Take mountain peak and draw it out on a 11" x 8.5" piece of paper...

4.  Cut it out and mount it on a piece of cardboard or just draw it out and cut it out on a piece of cardboard.

5. This peak should fit nicely up under the gullet of any saddle you are trying on your horse with about 2-3" between the top of the mountain peak = your horses withers and the bottom side of your saddle gullet...2-3" is good because you will be using a pad that will give your saddle a bit of lift also. 

This is a great starting point for a good saddle search and you can also scan or e-mail the drawing to a potential seller and have them fit the wither tracing up under saddles you are considering.  Good luck on you search. 
I hope this excercise makes you feel more confident about looking at Circle Y saddles.  Always ask for photos to help confirm what you are reading in the serial numbers.  
These are the three areas you are measuring on a fully finished saddle.  1. upper gullet  2. lower gullet across at the conchos, 3 width of the bars measured on the bottom side of the saddle like the photo above.