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New to eventing and why monoflap saddles?

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  • New to eventing and why monoflap saddles?

    I'm a former hunter rider who recently completed my and my horse's first horse trial... in a fancy stitched, padded snaffle bridle with dee ring bit, and close contact hunter saddle that basically forces me to perch . Now that I have decided for sure that I want to change disciplines (I'm pretty much addicted now), I know that eventually I'd like to change saddles for a saddle that's a little easier to sit deep and up in. So that brings me to my question...

    What is the point of a monoflap saddle? Is it just more secure? It seems like all the serious eventers ride in monoflap saddles.


  • #2
    Closer contact, lighter weight, because their trendy

    Probably any and all of those. Not ALL serious riders ride in them, and I would LIKE to go back to a traditional saddle (I didn't like my monoflap) (I'm splitting the difference with an Albion Kontact Lite which is supposedly a monoflap, but is more of a traditional flapped saddle with long billets).

    My suggestion to you would be to find a saddle that you are comfortable in and don't get stuck on monoflaps. You'll want one you can ride a little shorter in for xc, feels secure at the gallop and with drops, water, and sticky situations. You may or may not want more blocks (I hate big blocks, but there are some who love them). Depending on your conformation, you may find you want something with a slightly deeper seat and more forward flaps. OR, you may not. It will depend on you and how you like to ride.


    • #3
      Yeah... I'd honestly say the biggest reason is because they are trendy. They're a huge thing right now.

      Beyond that, they can allow you to feel closer to your horse, and the blocks (thigh, rear) are obviously going to be on the outside.

      I would go with the saddle that feels best to you and works best for your horse - not what you think you "should" have or what you think looks best, whether that ends up being a monoflap saddle or not.

      I've noticed that monoflaps also tend to run at a higher average price than regular saddles. Not always true, but just seems to be something I've noticed.

      Have you looked at any specific models yet?


      • Original Poster

        I'm not really in a position to buy a new saddle at the moment (getting married in a month and then a big move right after that), but I expect this time next year I will be seriously looking. I am definitely committed to switching over to eventing, and my current saddle isn't the best for me even before I stopped doing the hunters. I was really just curious because I've been paying closer attention to it now, and have noticed mostly everyone has the monoflap saddles.

        Thanks for the insight! I expect I will just try lots of different saddles, and hopefully have a saddle fitter help find one that works for both my horse and me, when the time comes.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Frivian View Post
          I'm not really in a position to buy a new saddle at the moment (getting married in a month and then a big move right after that), but I expect this time next year I will be seriously looking. I am definitely committed to switching over to eventing, and my current saddle isn't the best for me even before I stopped doing the hunters.
          Even though you think your hunt saddle won't work for eventing, you should be okay with it at the lower levels. When I was a green rider I started out in hunters and eventually transitioned to eventing as well, and I evented through Novice in my Pessoa A/O and it was perfectly fine.

          If you say the saddle was not a good fit for you even when you were in hunters, that may be a different story.


          • #6
            You may also need to think about your stirrup length in your current saddle, but it is also my observation that the same hunt saddle brand can work pretty well for eventing a half inch bigger, but that many of the hunters do ride in a smaller size saddle, which may encourage the perching and make it harder to stick over drops, etc (which will be small at the lower levels). I now ride in a monoflap (Wise-Air), which I really love, but previously evented through intermediate in a Berney Bros Dublin Jumper and have ridden in and liked an Albion Kontrol, a Devoucoux Oreka, and an older Courbette Pandur.
            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


            • #7
              Just out of curiosity, I feel like it would be hard to adjust the girth on my big, fat horses with a monoflap? How do you guys reach? I'm pretty short, with short arms, and the horses are 16.3 and 16.1-- and both have to be girthed up a little at a time.


              • #8
                Ditto what Amanda said. Ride in whatever is most comfortable for you. I came to Eventing from the Hunter/Jumper ranks as well and rode all of the way up to Preliminary using a borrowed Wintec Dressage saddle and my very flat Hermes Jump saddle with no problems.
                If the Number 2 pencil is so popular, why is it still number 2?


                • #9
                  I ride in a monoflap because I like my particular saddle, and it's a monoflap. I like the convenience of the short girth and long buckles. I find it easier to adjust while on the horse actually, as opposed to having to move my leg and move the flap when a horse won't stand still. I have a short leg and the buckles don't get in my way. I had a no purpose saddle before this one, which I rode through prelim with. It wasn't ideal, which is why it got changed out.


                  • #10
                    I agree with everyone who says to ride in what you are comfortable in, as well as effective in. It's not about how you "look" in eventing, it's about being correct, effective, and safe! Perching not allowed! lol

                    Also, it's best if you plan to truly make eventing your riding future, that you invest in a proper dressage saddle. Correct dressage in a jump or A/P saddle is torture.

                    And invest in some good training with a trainer whose focus is eventing. That doesn't rule out a great dressage trainer/clinic, h/j trainer/clinic, or visiting event clinician! Gain all the knowledge you can, but ALWAYS put the horse first!


                    • #11
                      I have a standard flapped saddle, with long billets. I like not having the buckles under my legs. Not hard for me to reach, same as tightening my dressage saddle girth. And I'm 5'1". Just lean over. I find it easier than with short billets, don't have to move the flap. I can either stop, or keep moving. For me it's the best of both. No buckle under my leg, but I don't like the feel of the external blocks.


                      • #12
                        Any thoughts on the durability of monoflaps versus flaps?
                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                        Thread killer Extraordinaire


                        • #13
                          On the note of tightening girths, I found tightening my monoflap to be much easier atop my horse. You just have to lean down further, but I was never very good at moving my leg to raise the flap and staying balanced.

                          On the note of why monoflap? You really ought to try and ride in one, preferably during an XC school. I vastly prefer the monoflap and feel extremely secure in it versus a double flap. Some people feel better in a traditional saddle. It's personal preference.

                          I personally don't feel that they can be considered 'trendy' anymore. They've been around for 10+ years and aren't going anywhere. I'd consider them an innovative saddle design that worked and so is here to stay. I'd consider the ones with the holes like the Wise-Air to be more of a trend.


                          • #14
                            I agree with the aforementioned reasons: closer leg contact (one less layer), no saddle flap shifting, buckles not under your leg.

                            That said, I don't think that a saddle being a monoflap is a deciding factor. And, frankly, I don't really think you necessarily "need" an x-c saddle - especially below Prelim. I have evented and foxhunted in a Beval Butet for years and it is definitely the best jumping saddle for me and my horse give that it puts us in excellent balance, etc.
                            "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant


                            • #15
                              I loved both my monoflap saddles mainly because of what others have said -- put your leg closer to the horse (love the way they feel), are lighter weight, and no buckles under the leg.

                              I ride in Ansur now, so not monoflap, but very close to the horse -- feels great -- almost like riding in a bareback pad.

                              When the time comes, try a few and see what you like. I do recommend trying monoflap.
                              "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."


                              • #16
                                Get a good fitting well balanced saddle.

                                I rode in my first monoflap 15 years ago---and it was an old saddle. And that was with a Jumper person (not eventer).

                                They have been around for a long long time....just not as easy to find before unless you had a custom saddle. There are just more nice saddles around now and more options.

                                I like a well balanced saddle. I do like how light weight a monoflap feels.....and you do get a nice close feel with your leg. But most important is saddle that fits and that has a good balance.
                                ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                • #17
                                  Talk to a number of saddle fitters about the monoflap versus traditional flap. I know the saddle fitter I use does not like the monoflap at all in that the girth being so much shorter is harder on the horse's back - and my horse has a sensitive back. So I would recommend doing your research now by talking to a number of saddle fitters and brands about why they recommend or do not recommend monoflap saddles and form your own opinion of what would work best for you and your horse.


                                  • #18
                                    because they are trendy.

                                    I hate them.
                                    They are not that much lighter. And they are not that much more close contact. It's the use of the long billets that make me feel closer to my horse--in which case I have all of my saddles altered to have long billets.

                                    they are less secure and the blocks are stationary
                                    I like big blocks that I can move where ever...

                                    if you have never ridden in a saddle with long billets..
                                    well, they are like that saying--
                                    "once you go black..."
                                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Divine Comedy View Post
                                      I personally don't feel that they can be considered 'trendy' anymore. They've been around for 10+ years and aren't going anywhere. I'd consider them an innovative saddle design that worked and so is here to stay. I'd consider the ones with the holes like the Wise-Air to be more of a trend.
                                      I had a monoflap Stubben over 20 years ago, so they're older than that, but I do think they're "in fashion" right now. I think they probably have their place but they're not a
                                      necessity and you'll see just as many people happily using dual flap saddles.

                                      Don't think that by virtue of being a monoflap it will necessarily be better than a dual flap saddle. Try lots of them (of various types) and see what works for you.
                                      The rebel in the grey shirt


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by JWB View Post
                                        I had a monoflap Stubben over 20 years ago, so they're older than that, but I do think they're "in fashion" right now. I think they probably have their place but they're not a
                                        necessity and you'll see just as many people happily using dual flap saddles.
                                        I would agree. Monoflaps are not a new thing, however, it is their widespread popularity that is new. Twenty years ago, you might see one monoflap saddle out of every 10 riders in the warmup ring. Now I would argue that it's a comfortable half, if not more.