What is a Monoflap Saddle?
In this article we will discuss all about the monoflap saddle, and their ever increasing popularity within the equestrian community. This blog should help give you a broader understanding of monoflap saddles and whether one might be suitable for you and your horse.
Many equestrians in recent years have pondered the term “monoflap saddle”. If you are unfamiliar with these, you may be wondering why they are becoming such a firm favourite for top equestrians of nearly every discipline. What are they? Do you need one? Will a monoflap saddle make a difference to my horse’s performance? We saddle fanatics here at The Saddle Bank are here to give you the lowdown.
If you are still a bit confused about which saddle or any saddle related product is best for you why not get in touch with our friendly customer support team. Via phone on 0345 030 4916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our lovely team are always happy to help as much as they can and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your horse.
What is a Monoflap Saddle and why is a Monoflap Saddle different to a “Normal Saddle”?
The traditional saddle most equestrians are used to is likely what is known as a “dual flap” saddle; around the seat of the dual flap saddle you will normally find the skirt, under which is the D-ring and the stirrup bar for the stirrups to loop around. Further forwards on a dual flap you may find a knee roll/pad (depending on the style of saddle this may look different, and certain saddles don’t have a knee pad at all.
Polo saddles are a great example of a saddle without a knee pad), and if you lift the first flap, often called the knee flap, you will find the billets/girth straps on to which you would fasten a girth. Under the knee flap is where you would see the bulk of the knee block if your saddle has them. Then a further flap which will sit along the sides of the horse/saddle pad. To prevent all the different parts and fastenings from rubbing or interfering with the horse.
Instead, a monoflap saddle will have just a single flap (‘mono’ means “one” or singular, flap means… Well, flap!). What we see in the case of a monoflap saddle is that each ‘flap’ of the dual flap saddle is amalgamated into one.
Rather than the stirrup leathers sitting on top of the knee flap with the girth billets and knee block underneath, the knee block is built into the single flap and the billets come out from the bottom of the flap, sometimes appearing as if they emerge from ‘inside’ the flap, depending on how the saddle is manufactured. You can get all of the same aspects into a monoflap as you can with a dual flap saddle, so why would you need a monoflap?
What are the advantages, and why do some people prefer Monoflap Saddles?
The most prominent advantage riders are finding with new monoflap saddles is that fewer flaps means less material, and therefore greater contact between you and the horse. Being able to more accurately and more consistently communicate through your seat and leg can facilitate better harmony between horse and rider.
This means that cues and corrections can become more minute, refined, and subtle. Whilst being able to pick up on feedback from the horse through the leg can help the rider to anticipate the horses movement and act accordingly. Greater communication can give riders an undetectable edge in competition and in training.
With having the girth straps coming from the bottom of the flap, this allows the girth to be attached lower down on the horse. Therefore monoflap saddles are designed to be used with a short girth.
This can increase the overall stability of the saddle, so if you have struggled with getting a saddle to accurately fit your horse without slipping. A monoflap saddle may be a good solution for you, but always check with your saddle fitter.
What are the most popular Mono Flap Saddles
Our lovely Saddle Bank customers really enjoy our range of monoflap saddles, we have compiled our top picks for you below if you aren’t sure where to start:
The aptly-named ‘Artiste’ monoflap from the saddle manufacturer Bates is absolutely stunning. Boasting only the best quality of manufacturing, materials, and testing. This saddle is a firm favourite and is designed to provide ultimate comfort for both horse and rider. Check it out for yourself here.
Fairfax monoflap saddles are internationally-renowned and famed for their popularity with dressage superstar Charlotte Dujardin (you cannot get a better endorsement than the literal queen of dressage, surely?!) riding in the World Class dressage. Plus not one, but two models of monoflap dressage saddles from Fairfax have made our top spots. The ‘Gareth’ and ‘Rebecca’ designed and named after dressage duo Gareth and Rebecca Hughes. We have broken down the key elements of the Gareth on an earlier blog post here, and our availability here. Then you have the gorgeous Rebecca. Which is the more ‘feminine’ version of the Gareth is available on our website here.
Bates and Fairfax are absolutely dominating the monoflap world in both Dressage and Jump saddles.
The Advanta by Bates, available here is absolutely no exception. The ElastiFlex tree is guaranteed for the entire lifetime of the saddle. Whilst the Bates innovative “HART” or Horse and Rider Technology means that the saddle benefits from the most modern and extensive research and development Bates have undergone to date.
The precision and care that goes into Fairfax saddles really is second to none; whether show jumping or cross country you will know that every bit of balance, contact, and comfort that allows you to be able to perform at your best needs to be considered. Whilst knowing that every time you mount you can be sure you have a saddle that allows optimum performance can make all the difference to your ride. The Fairfax Andrew Hoy (available here but be quick they don’t hang around for long!) and Fairfax MXC ( which is available in large or small block), full details and our availability can be found here exemplify this perfectly.
Of course we couldn’t fail to mention the Cavaletti Monoflap saddles available in both Jump and Dressage saddles. They really are fantastic monoflap saddle suitable for everyone from your everyday amateur up to the elite professional riders. Click here to see our availability of both Dressage and Jump saddles.
Why are there not many Monoflap GP Saddles?
Due to their design as a more high-performance saddle, monoflaps are more commonly available for a specific discipline. Such as jumping, dressage, or cross country, and are not designed with everyday riding or combined training in mind. This allows models to be specifically tailored for purpose for optimum performance
What Girths should I use for a Monoflap Saddle?
As we mentioned earlier, the lower billets mean that the monoflap saddles are designed for use with a short girth.
Here are our top four short girth picks, which our Saddle Bank customers absolutely love:
Bliss of London have cleverly designed a really high-quality short girth. That has clearly thought about the comfort for the horse above everything else. Bliss of London hand make their products in England to ensure they only provide the upmost quality at all times. The anatomical design means that you can rest assured that when the girth is secured in place adequately. It will stay there even in the most vigorous of workouts. Click here to find you Bliss short girth .
The durable, comfortable Short Girth by Cavaletti, available here is triple elasticated for strength and stability when in use. This girth works great with both dressage and jump monoflap saddles and is available for just £60! Making it a very reasonable choice for a quality, high specification girth. With the added bonus that it matches perfectly with the monoflap Dressage and Jump saddle and they even do matching leathers!
Speaking of reasonable, Wintec have done it again! Wintec are a brand that have time and time again come out with genuinely fantastic products. Which are available to most equestrians by keeping costs low, without compromise on quality; their Chafeless Elastic Short Girth is a prime example, you can find it here: This girth is a great price at under £40, an ideal “workhorse” of a girth due to it’s ease of maintenance (spray stains with the Wintec Synthetic cleaner and simply wipe away!). Saddle Bank customers love this girth and find it fits most horses and ponies.
The GFS Freedom Excel Girth ,which you can find here, ticks all of the boxes; top quality, comfortable, anatomical, made right here in the UK. It has to be said, it’s also simply a really nice-looking girth! GFS consistently make really sleek, effective products and the Freedom Excel girth is just top-notch in every aspect. It makes a great pairing for any dressage or jump monoflap saddle. This girth is easy to clean and care for. As well as featuring a D ring for ease of attaching a breastplate.
At The Saddle Bank are proud to be able to offer our UK Mainland customers 5-day trials on all our saddles. Of you have been inspired to want to try a monoflap saddle, you can find all of the information that you need right here on our website.
Learn more about how saddles should fit….
If you are a horse owner or rider and would like to learn more about saddle fitting. As well as how the saddle can impact your horses performance and welfare, click on the link below:
Thank you for reading this article! We hope you found it useful!
Please do check out our YouTube channel and subscribe for loads of videos, tips and tricks!
The Saddle Bank Team x