When buying a saddle, you want to be really careful about what you buy. It’s a lot of money to be spending on a hunk of leather, so you want to make sure that you’re really going to love what you get. More importantly, you need to make sure your horse is going to love it too. In my opinion, I highly suggest looking into a saddle with wool flocking/wool panels in it. The wool is A LOT more comfortable on the horse’s back, and it also moves with the horse as its body changes. The only maintenance with wool flocked saddles is the re-flocking, however that is generally very inexpensive.
Though Devoucoux saddles are extremely comfortable for the rider, they have foam panels, which are significantly more uncomfortable for the horse. I had a Toulouse jump saddle for years, and I always wondered why my horse would be so sore in the back. I found out a lot of the problem came from the foam panels in my saddle. I switched over to a County jump saddle, and the day I even tried one out, I could immediately feel how comfortable my horse was in it. I have an Innovation, and I did end up getting it custom. It was an extreme amount of money, but my horse is a hard fit. The money was worth it. If you end up having a horse who is a really difficult fit, I would look into a custom saddle, but prepare to see a drop in your bank account… My horse loves the saddle, and I could sit in it for days. It’s SO comfortable, keeps me in great balance, and I know it’s going to last me forever. I’ve been eventing for the past 6 years, and my Innovation is by far my favorite saddle I’ve ever tried.
If you want an opinion on a monoflap, I haven’t really met anyone who can give me an answer. I’ve heard some people say it really makes no difference, which is what I personally think, and some people say that it makes communication with the horse from your leg easier because there is less leather to go through. Like I said, I really don’t think it makes a huge difference whether the saddle is monoflap or not. You just have to buy a shorter girth.
However, Llke asterix said, don’t buy a saddle until you have a horse. That is something I learned the hard way. I strongly recommend getting your horse before buying any tack. That way you don’t risk losing a ton of money on a saddle that doesn’t even fit.
On another note, I do have a County jump saddle I’m selling. Its asking price is a tiny bit out of your price range, but the numbers are slightly negotiable. It has barely been ridden in, and it looks basically brand new. If you’re at all interested, let me know! Sorry for the unbelievable long response too…