M. Toulouse Verona Monoflap
I have a 7 yr. old, medium withered, wide TB. (no, she's not fat : ) I purchased the 17.5 seat size, wide tree. I have been riding it for about two weeks now. The saddle fits my horse very well, my horse is not quite flat backed, but she is pretty close to that, and the saddle sits well, no rocking front to back, or slipping side to side. plenty of gullet clearance as well. Good shoulder clearance too. She has very nice movement with this saddle and seems to be very comfortable with it.
As far as the fit for me goes, I did not have any problems with the piping on the saddle as other users did, so maybe they have fixed that issue. I found the seat to be very comfortable, with a good amount of padding. Its as comfortable as my trail saddle that has a memory foam seat, but at the same time I don't feel like Im out of touch with what she is doing- I still feel good contact with the seat and I like the monoflap. I have no pressure points on my seat bones with this saddle. The seat sizing runs large in my opinion. I should have ordered at least a 1/2 size smaller, because the seat is flatter than expected . it doesn't look that flat in the photo, Im used to a deeper, more curved seat- my other dressage saddle is a 17.5 Sommer Esprit. I am 5'4", 115 pounds, 34 inch hips. However, the seat feels nice and secure due to the grip of the buffalo leather and the seat padding, so its not a huge problem, but if I buy another one Ill order it a bit smaller! My horse is young and occasionally gives a little buck, and I have had no problem staying in this saddle, so I think that's pretty good. I love the big exposed knee rolls for the same reason! When she decides to suddenly stop - I can stay right with her. I find that this saddle keeps my leg in a good position without extra effort. With a wide, round horse, with big movement, its sometimes tough to stay in balance but this saddle has been great. I think the twist is wide, but I expect that with a wide tree.
I have found that the leather cleans up very well- just wipe with a wet cloth. Ive seen other saddles made of buffalo leather and I have not liked them because they didnt clean up well- but this saddle is the exception.
only 1 real issue with the saddle so far, and that is that the thread that attaches the panels under the saddle to the monoflap has come loose at the tip of the panel on one side. SO the panel on one side has become detached from the flap at the bottom. I sent a photo of the problem to Smart Pak and they are having me return the saddle to the manufacturer for repair. No charge to me for this, but I will not have a dressage saddle for my horse until its fixed and returned. Hopefully this will not take long. I will report back on this as things progress! Even with that I still like the saddle.
June 6, 2013
This saddle was a keeper
This is my third Dressage saddle and the one that works best for my mare and me. Thank goodness for Smarkpak's test ride program, as I was able to try out this saddle, prior to making a purchase (which I wasn't able to do with my first two saddles). This saddle is nice and wide, so my mare has ease of shoulder movement - and she is moving out nicer in this saddle than she was in our KN or County saddles. It also allows me to have the correct postion, I was having to use a riser pad with the other saddle, in order to get the correct position. This saddle is affordable and comfortable. It does seem to get bit dustier than my other saddles, but that could be due to the fact that it's leather is a bit "stickier". Truly not an issue, just wipe it off.
March 13, 2013
Took awhile to get used to. Had the 17" and was running into knee blocks. Moved up to 18" and all lis wonderful. Takes some time to get used to it, but it puts me in a great postion, my horse loves it and it is a great saddle for the price point.
February 21, 2013
Love this saddle!!
I recently purchased the M Toulouse Monoflap after selling my Prestige Dressage 2000, the Prestige was not a deep enough of a seat, and not matter what I did I could not feel my seat bones the way that I needed to, the twist was also too wide. I needed another Dressage saddle on a budget and this one just fit the bill!
My first ride in the saddle, I will admit I was not convinced, and that was due to the piping as it was rubbing me in my upper thigh, not in a good spot! But I gave it a 2nd ride and I was sure I could get the piping to break in, because other than that I loved the saddle! My 2nd ride I was able to tell that my horse was moving so much freer through his shoulder! We had a lovely extended trot as well as a stretchy trot, I could really feel him pop up through his back! It was so different than my other rides in the Prestige!!!
This saddle will also teach you to ride correctly, it is hard to tell from the pictures but the flap is much straighter, like a traditional dressage saddle. The twist is narrow enough that I can really feel my horse under me and move freer through my hips!
So I decided to keep the saddle and in doing so I was determined to get the piping to lay more flush with the rest of the saddle, my solution was simple and easy!! I took the blunt end of a pen cap (the plastic pen type) and pressed down on the piping, moving up and down the saddle as I worked. I started with one side so I could see the difference, and it worked! The piping actually became softer and lay flatter! So I repeated with the other side.
The next day I also rode in my favorite Kerritts riding tights and had NO RUBBING! The next few rides I worked in the piping along with some neatsfooot oil and I can not be happier with this saddle! The saddle has lovely grip over the surface and I have already cleaned it a few times with normal saddle soap, you won't need to oil the saddle at all! It breaks in so nicely. I did oil the girth straps and is now starting to feel like butter! (after less than month of riding in it), I know some users said they have stayed stiff, but no in my experience!!! The saddle will sit you pretty deep, maybe not as deep for instance as the Albion SLK, but for me this is what fit my budget at the time and you can't go wrong! My horses canter is huge as it is, and coming from a Hunter background I am still learning to sit up and deeper!
Also some reviews I read complained about the quality, but honestly this saddle looks and feels just as nice as the County I own for jumping!!
Thanks Smart Pak for offering this saddle at a great price!
June 21, 2012
So far, so good
I ordered this for my 15 yr old daughter. She's 5 ft 5", normal weight, got the 17.5" seat. Her horse is 15 hh, TB/QH/Mustang/Percheron mix (yes, she's totally cute, or funny looking depending on your perspective). The saddle fits both of them really well. The seat is nice and deep, and puts my daughter in a great position, but she does not feel trapped the way other dressage saddles have made her feel. It sits nicely on the horse and her shoulder is 100% free to move. The leather looks good and feels good. It is slightly sticky (in a good way). All around, seems like a great saddle for a great price. The only question in my mind is long term durability - but we'll just have to wait and see.
March 27, 2012
fit the horse but not the rider
The wide saddle size fit my Wide-MedWide horse very well. Good contact on the front and back panels. Nice wide gullet. Straight billets-no point billet. Nice slightly grippy leather. Comfortable medium to slightly medium narrow twist. Leather felt and looked above average.
The problem is in the construction of a back welting/piping that comes around the back of the saddle and goes under the flap. It hit my inner thigh at a very uncomfortable spot. Since it is a welting/piping it probably would not soften with use/age.
Skinny thighed friends sat in the saddle could still slightly feel this welting under their thighs.
Everybody's conformation is different so I would still recommend at least trying this saddle if you are looking for nice low-mid range monoflap.
The Smartpak trial ride program worked great. No problem with returning this saddle.
December 5, 2011