Unlimited access >

Monoflap saddles and stirrup bar placement

I’m hoping for some assistance from the hive mind.
I want to know what the standard stirrup bar placement is for different French/Italian/Swiss brands, specifically on their monoflap jump saddles. We’re talking buffalo leather, low profile, spend your entire life savings on it, saddles.

I have a short femur with a long lower leg (knee to ankle). In my current Kent & Masters jump saddle I am forever in a chair seat position and tipped forward, and the flap does not have enough room for a proper xc length stirrup. I also have the issue of the knee block popping my knee away from the saddle. Research says a stirrup bar that is placed further back might be my cure all.

So lets hear it! Which brands place their bars crazy far forward, and which brands set theirs slightly further back. I will also happily accept info on brands that sit you further forward in the saddle.

I am selling my pony with her saddle and will be investing in a nice used saddle that fits me like a glove that I can stick on training horses. I currently don’t have the money to go try saddles in person (and I will once I do!) but am excited about the prospect and want to “virtually” try out the different brands.

Not a comment on saddles, but I had a revelation a few months back when my saddle fitter slid 1/2 inch leather ‘stoppers’ in front of my saddle leathers on bar. The change in my position was dramatic.

  • WOW- rode in a friends and it had the bar set super far back, it was awesome! So easy for me to stay in a galloping position. Didn’t love the seat but I think it’s all changeable.
  • Voltaire- nice and far back on all models.
  • Tota Saddle Fit- nice and far back, similar balance to Voltaire for me.
  • Ideal Impala regular and Pro, better than most, not as far back as the Voltaire or Tota.
  • Horobin- kinda far back, not hugely. But a stopper works well on these due to the shape of the bar.
  • CWD- one of the eventing specific monoflap models works well for me, I can’t remember which one tho sorry!
  • Stackhouse- custom, they’ll make it to fit you.
  • Stubben- one model- I think the Portos? had noticeably better balance for me.
  • County- the Xlerator or however they spell it has a nice balance. A friend has one and I don’t mind riding in it. All other counties put me in some variety of a chair seat.
1 Like

That is something I’m almost definitely going to have to look in to! I’ve seen quite a few posts talking about stirrup bar spacers, although I can’t say I’ve seen any pictures of them. I should probably find an easy DIY to stick on every saddle I ride on at this point

EQ Saddle Science - adjustable stirrup bars :+1:

So do Bates, some of them at least (Advanta)

Image a keeper on a bridle - but wider. I used a piece of rubber hose for an aeration system … but to see if the idea works for you, simply cut a piece of cardboard about 1/2 inch wide and wrap it around the stirrup bar. If it makes a difference, I can send you the contact info for my leather repair person who makes them.

There are used/nearly new SmithWorthingtons on the market with adjustable stirrup bars. Made a world of difference. Reasonably priced too.

Love my Arion HST monoflap saddle. I had been in all CWD saddle prior and was constantly fighting the saddles- but I didn’t realize it wasn’t just me being out of balance- it was those saddle until I sat in an Arion HST saddle.

But saying all that, we are all different body types and heights and the best thing I can recommend for you is sit in as many saddles as you can. You won’t know until you sit in it - kind of like trying on wedding dresses and knowing “the one”. The right saddle feels like home- The wrong saddle makes you second guess every step.

I am trialing an Advantia right now. It made a huge difference in my leg stability and position. I adjusted the stirrup bars to the furthest back position. How do you like yours? Fit your horse ok?

1 Like

But saddle shopping sucks so much! I just want someone to hand me what I need!


We have a selection of them and find they fit most horses, we have everything in from ponies to giants, breakers to 4* horses. Love the security they give for baby or exuberant moments :rofl:

I have my own one for my youngster, I am short but with comparatively long femur so stirrup bar placement really makes a difference! The Artiste dressage saddles are exactly the same. I’ve never been a Bates saddle fan before these ones were launched.

1 Like

I’ve never really had a problem with where the stirrup was placed. I’m 5’ 6" but with a long thigh. One saddle fitter said I was more like fitting a 6’ person. At my height I ride in an XF flap. I also ride in an 18" seat. It’s all a matter of taking up that longer thigh.

I see a lot of people riding in the wrong size saddle. If its too small you’re riding the cantle and it will feel like the irons are too far back. The flip side of the is if the saddle is too big then it will feel like you’re irons are too far forward.

I’d be checking the actual saddle size and how it fits before messing around with stirrup bars.

5’2 on a good day and a majority of that height is below my knees, meaning my thighs are SHORT. I put on a pair of DeNiro dress boots yesterday for the first time and couldn’t stop laughing at how wonky they made me look. The standard Spanish top was halfway up my thigh despite fitting behind my knee.

I currently ride in a 17" saddle but have sat in saddles of every size. The only saddles I have ever felt like I haven’t had to fight to keep my leg in the correct place were the ones on medium ponies owned by children. My 17" saddle looks like it might be tough too small for me these days (I have put on weight since I got it as a teenager). Obviously I can’t size down to a 15" saddle :sweat_smile: :rofl:

1 Like

I second this. I have mine set in the next to last position on both of my dressage saddles and it has made a HUGE difference. And magically, what I thought was a need for a more forward flap disappeared at the same time.

With the EQs, you can also adjust the block , which is great when you are experimenting with the stirrup bar placement.

I would love contact info and a price if you happen to know it!

For forward balance saddles, check out Harry Dabbs and Amerigo. Putting yourself farther forward will put you more over the stirrup and be easier for your horse to carry, too.
Harry Dabbs also offers the option of adjustable stirrup bars, not sure if Amerigo does.

I have long femurs. I want an extra forward short flap. I currently have a duel flap CWD 4C flap that I am upgrading for hopefully better balance for me.

I tried the Arion Monoflap and liked it well enough, but hard to decide if it would work because there where alot of changes I wanted from the demo. A different seat depth, more forward flaps, shorter flaps, so it scared me if I would love the new one or not.

Forestier came out next and I tried the 2 monoflaps. I sat in the Badminton first due to the look of the flaps being more what I thought I would like. I loved this saddle. I then sat in their Boekelo and definitely did not like it, same flaps though, so the balance or stirrup bars or something was off for me. I barely did a lap and asked to ride in the Badminton again.

I ordered a Badminton to the same specs as the demo saddle. This fitter I had met at KY and sat in the saddles and we talked about my preferences, so she made sure she had short, extra forward flapped saddles when she came to see me, and 1 of them I loved and ended up ordering.

The rep having a saddle with similar features to what I wanted made the sale. I really wanted to like the Arion, but I couldn’t convince myself without having something closer to what I would eventually order. Forestier showed up with the identical saddle I ended up ordering (and the demo fit my horse - if they would have sold me the demo I would have bought it).

I have a short femur and long lower leg and found out I do not like stirrup bars placed further back. I was trying a horse that had a schleese on with the stirup bar set back and refused to jump because I was fighting my position so much.