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I know there have been several threads about this, but... Toulouse Marielle Monoflap?

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  • I know there have been several threads about this, but... Toulouse Marielle Monoflap?

    Hello everyone!

    Like I said in the title... I apologize because I know there have been several threads about this saddle, but I had some specific questions.

    I recently acquired a Toulouse Marielle Monoflap and after reading a lot of rave reviews of this saddle, I'm finding myself a little puzzled. It is certainly beautiful, and the leather seems to be of high quality. However, when I'm riding in the saddle, I feel really wonky. It fits my TB beautifully, but I just can't seem to get the knack of riding in it. It really seems to tip me forward. Has anyone else experienced balance issues in this saddle? Before riding in this one, I rode in a really deep seated dual flap with heavy duty knee rolls... and I keep trying to attribute my imbalance and tipping forward to the fact that this saddle is much more minimal, but I'm just not sure that's it.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    Thanks all!

  • #2
    Asking if another individual likes or doesn't like a particular saddle is kind of like asking if another individual likes a certain food. The answer is probably not going to be relevant to anyone but that individual.

    Ride in it before you buy--that is the only way to really be sure that a saddle is going to work for you. Some saddles just work, others do not.

    FWIW, I've owned (and since sold since it didn't fit my new horse) a Toulouse dressage saddle and have ridden in a Marielle, and liked both pretty well, although the dressage saddle made me sit with a much straighter leg than I prefer. I liked it, but it was very different for me. Which means nothing, really, to someone else, as I said.
    Click here before you buy.

    Comment


    • #3
      FWIW, the store I worked at a place that sold Marielles - 2010 models. What model is yours? It would make a BIG difference as far as reviews on it, as Toulouse has changed A LOT in the past few years.

      I personally find that any foam saddle is a huge turn off it is just my opinion. For a while, the store I worked at was willing to look into buying more and I spoke to the Marcelle rep (he was actually a rep for a much bigger company) and what he told me about them made me really wonder if they were appropriate for what they were being advertised at. I rode 2x in one of the saddles we sold, and I found that the flap was too forward to fit either gelding I rode in - and it also "rocked" both considerably. Not a good contender for either TB and they were both built very differently (one a typical tb, the other wide at the shoulder).

      We did not end up restocking the saddles - the rep's poor knowledge combined with the fact they were not reputable saddles made us decide no - anyone familiar with Aiken might know exactly which store I am talking about.

      As far as you feeling awkward, it may just be because of the big difference between a monoflap and a dual flap - but it shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable. How many times have you ridden in it?
      Last edited by beowulf; Feb. 13, 2013, 07:14 PM.
      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

      Comment


      • #4
        Do you have any video of yourself riding in it? That may be helpful.

        Comment


        • #5
          If your Marielle has the Genesis tree, it also has wool flocked panels and you just might need some re-stuffing to keep the saddle from sitting pommel down.

          Comment


          • #6
            When you say fits perfectly, in whose opinion? A saddle fitters? I only say this because if its tipping you forward its likely too wide. Pictures, from the side mounted and unmounted would help determine if this is true.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've said plenty of nasty things about the Marielle in other threads, so first I'll say something nice and then I'll talk about some possibilities for the tipping.

              Firstly, the newer Marielles made in the last few years are a different breed than the older ones. They are made of better leather, with better quality control, and they retail for double what the original Marielles retailed for. There are also some structural differences, especially with the newer +4 model or the Genesis gullet models. I still don't like it nearly as much as I like its price competitors, the HDR Devrel Monoflap and the Pessoa XCH Monoflap, but I digress. My point is that without knowing whether you're dealing with an old or new Marielle, and for that matter without seeing some pictures or video of you in the saddle, it might be hard to say what's really going on.

              That said, there could be lots of reasons why it tips you forward, and some of them would apply equally to the old and new Marielles. Three quick guesses although they are not comprehensive:

              1. The Marielle was originally an attempt to knock off the seat architecture of the Vega monoflap. They missed that mark in lots of ways, but they did manage to get the very basic part of Vega seat architecture which places the balance point forward of center. But unlike the Vega seat architecture, which is pretty "pushy" about insisting that you actually park your pelvis in that part of the saddle, the Marielle is less pushy--and that means about 75% of the people I've seen riding in the Marielle tend to be sitting well behind that intended balance point, on the (very long) portion of the seat that slopes up toward the cantle, and therefore they are sitting on a part of the cantle that's doomed to tip them forward.

              2. Related or unrelated to #1, you could be riding in a too-small seat size, which could just as well put you on this slopey part of the saddle seat that I'm talking about. To be fair to the Marielle, I've seen this happen with lots of too-small saddles with a wide variety of seat architectures. But you can get away with it in certain very shallow or very U-shaped (versus V-shaped) seat architectures, and you can't get away with it in a medium-deep vee shaped seat like the Marielle's.

              3. You may be sitting in the saddle's true balance point, but the knee blocks or flap angle are blocking your leg, causing you to either brace forward with your leg in a chair seat (very awkward since your leg would hit the knee roll, ouch) or manually push your leg backward. Either one would tend to encourage a forward collapse in the upper body.

              Again, there could be a million other reasons why this is happening, and some might not even be the saddle's fault. But there's my best guesses.
              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks for all your input, guys! It's really hard to say if it's something wonky with the saddle itself, with the fit of the horse, or if it's just plain not the right saddle for me.

                I also don't know what year it is off the top of my head. I'd have to check the flaps on the saddle and see if I could figure it out. I bought it last fall, brand new, if that helps. If I had to guess I'd say it's the newest model.

                I've never ridden in the Amerigo Vega but I spent a lot of saddle time in the Amerigo Pinerolo (which I LOVED, by the way), but I am unsure of how similar they are when it comes to little details. The Pinerolo had a balance about it that the Marielle just doesn't seem to have.
                Last edited by dappled; Feb. 17, 2013, 11:49 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hard to say without seeing the saddle without you in it, but yeah, it looks tipped forward. It also appears to fit your body well enough, except for being tipped forward which is giving the illusion that the flap is not quite forward enough for your leg. My guess is that if the saddle were sitting correctly on the horse, the flap angle would look a lot better.

                  Again, I hesitate to write another long post without seeing more evidence, but my guess is it's the good ol' dips behind the withers found on many Thoroughbreds. It might be as simple as pumping more flocking into the shoulder area of the panel or using some educated correctional padding (like a shimmable sheepskin half pad) to give those shoulders some "slide room" without the front of the saddle collapsing into the dips. Of course, that to be done with tree width and the rest of the saddle fit in mind.
                  Last edited by jn4jenny; Feb. 14, 2013, 10:53 AM.
                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I will try to get some more photos within the next few days. The thing is, though, that the tip is much more pronounced when I am in the saddle. When it's just sitting on his back, it looks much better. So I'm not sure if my weight is causing the tip?

                    More pictures as soon as I can!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dappled View Post
                      I will try to get some more photos within the next few days. The thing is, though, that the tip is much more pronounced when I am in the saddle. When it's just sitting on his back, it looks much better. So I'm not sure if my weight is causing the tip?
                      That's precisely the point and it's why the dips behind the shoulder blades are my working theory. A lot of OTTB owners think their saddle fits just fine until the horse is in motion and it starts sinking in front, and about 7 times out of 10, it's this shoulder issue. The 8th and 9th time, it's a too-wide saddle tree. The 10th time, it's the shoulder AND a too-wide tree.
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        jn4jenny is spot on as always. But let me give you my experience with the Marielle just for contrast.

                        My Appendix has narrow withers and dips, wide shoulders, and a decent curve to his back. My (very) limited saddle budget was stymied according to my local fitter. The Collegiate Diploma that I'd had recommended for him by another local fitter and had reflocked, stripped and flocked again, tweaked the flocking, done the gullet changing hokey pokey, shimmed, unshimmed, reshimmed, etc just wasn't cutting the mustard. Neither did my old Collegiate, my Crosby Prix de Nations, nor the borrowed Wintec/Bates/Beval/Barnsby. The Smith Worthington dressage was lovely though, but not so great for jumping.

                        My trainer, 6'1" and leggy, offered to let me try her old Marielle prototype (from before they hit the market) just for giggles as she hayed it and it was sitting unused in her tack room--it hadn't had a kind life if you know what I mean. I'm 5'3.5" on a good day and none of that is leg. It fit BOTH Gus and I beautifully. Loose, swinging back, round jump, my leg just fell into place and with a touch of lexol, that thing is STICKY. Yes!!!

                        So I ordered a new one (this was fall 2011). O.M.G. I HATED it. New model has a twist so wide it's like sitting on a barrel. New balance point just odd. Seat deeper, but yet there was nowhere for me to sit. And the 17" rode more like a 16. The old 17" rode more like a 17.5". And the leather, while pretty, seemed fragile.

                        So I sent the new one back and bought her old one. Yeah, it's going to be an expensive beyotch if I ever want to un-foam the panels, but they are soft and even for now. Horse still going strong in the old Marielle and I swear I'm actually worried that if I sell the horse, I may have to sell that saddle with him. But damn I love it.
                        Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                        You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          EDIT turns out most of this reply didn't apply to what jen-s was talking about, so for the OP's sanity/clarity, I'm removing it. I agree with jen-s that the older and newer Marielle are very different saddles because they have totally different trees in them, among other things.

                          Some of Toulouse's other very early stuff was good too. For example, the Ariano was a very decent little knockoff of the Albion Legend. Alas, they fell off the wagon soon after that and are only starting to climb back on.
                          Last edited by jn4jenny; Feb. 14, 2013, 11:48 AM.
                          Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The "new" one I'm referring to is the $1500 one. I declined to spend the extra for the adjustable tree, but it was certainly available. I might have tried swapping the 17 for a 17.5 or even 18 to see if the seat balance point was better for me, but I could not cope with the much wider twist of the latest model.

                            If you stumble across another 1st generation/original Marielle in a 17, holler. Because I'd totally consider purchasing a back-up.

                            Just to make things muddier, my trainer had been trying (unsuccessfully) to dump her 1st gen Marielle for several years. It didn't work with her long legs, but it also didn't fit any of her horses. It didn't seem to fit any horse she put it on...until mine and it fit me too. Whoda thunk?
                            Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                            You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jen-s View Post
                              The "new" one I'm referring to is the $1500 one. I declined to spend the extra for the adjustable tree, but it was certainly available. I might have tried swapping the 17 for a 17.5 or even 18 to see if the seat balance point was better for me, but I could not cope with the much wider twist of the latest model.

                              If you stumble across another 1st generation/original Marielle in a 17, holler. Because I'd totally consider purchasing a back-up.

                              Just to make things muddier, my trainer had been trying (unsuccessfully) to dump her 1st gen Marielle for several years. It didn't work with her long legs, but it also didn't fit any of her horses. It didn't seem to fit any horse she put it on...until mine and it fit me too. Whoda thunk?
                              This is typical of my experience with this manufacturer (marketed in Canada under the Santa Cruz label) - I looked at various models including some very early productions that were lingering in tack shops & down to $500 - $600 (some had never been on a horse, others had girth marks but still "new"): each saddle fit independently, even those marked as same name, seat size, tree width

                              I also looked at the newer models that were in the $1400 - $1600 range & even the premium models that started at $2400 (very nice leather & nicely made: 2 "same" saddles fit the horse very differently - as if the trees were not even remotely similar - though rider fit was similar): tack shops did suggest that if a demo saddle fit, clients should purchase that saddle as a new order likely would fit differently

                              When purchasing these saddles, dealing with a shop such as Classic Saddlery really improves the odds of getting on that is built symmetric

                              I stopped looking at these saddles when neither the shop nor the Canadian distributor thought that the saddle with a twisted tree & asymmetric panels & blocks & knee pads was an "issue" that should be off the sale floor & on it's way back to the manufacturer...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by alto View Post
                                When purchasing these saddles, dealing with a shop such as Classic Saddlery really improves the odds of getting on that is built symmetric
                                Lynda is who I purchased the new Marielle through. She was a delight to work with and the return was smooth and easy.
                                Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Alright so I'm fairly certain I have the older model... the $1100 one, not the $1500 one. However I'm still uncertain if the issues lies in just the way it fits on my TB, or if the saddle itself is actually unbalanced. The last saddle I had didn't fit him great, but it certainly didn't feel this out of whack when I rode in it...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    the saddle, in my opinion, looks a little too small for you? maybe that's why you feel "perched" or tipped forward.

                                    Comment

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