Whether you are buying, selling or sending out for repairs, sooner or later you'll need to box and ship a sidesaddle.

Unfortunately, many saddles survive the years only to be damaged in shipping. Pommels and cantels are easily broken, safes ripped, and leather gouged. Even dealers and saddlers have been known to send a saddle with no packing material or upside down on its pommels.

The basic principles of shipping are that no part of the tree should touch the box, and no leather should be bent unduly.

To ship a saddle appropriately you'll need:

1. A box that is big and sturdy. Computer and TV boxes work well, and sometimes yield chunks of styrofoam that help in packing. These boxes are large and heavy but UPS will accommodate oversize cartons for an extra fee - a real bargain compared to repair costs.

2. Cover the bottom of the box with several inches of "peanuts" or cushioning material.

3. Remove the leaping pommel and stirrup assembly, tie these parts in a plastic bag, and loop the bag handles over the upper pommel. Warn the recipient to look for these pieces.

4A. I f your box is wide but not tall, you may be able to lay the saddle on its off side (the no pommel side.) Make sure the cantle is not crammed and the long point is below lid level.

4B. Another good method is to ship the saddle as if it were sitting on a rack. Place a small carton diagonally inside the big carton, and place the sidesaddle on it. Then even if the box is dropped, the small carton will help to absorb the impact.


5. Next Pack around the saddle with foam chunks, empty milk jugs, 2 liter soda bottles, etc., so that the cantle and seat edges do not touch the carton. Pack around and over the upright pommel so that the top of the box will not press on it. (A large plastic flower pot turned upside down over the pommel will also protect it.)

6. Now fill in with Styrofoam peanuts or crushed paper, filling all spaces. Make sure there is enough to keep the top of the box from crushing down - someone's package is going to be the bottom layer of a UPS semi, and it may be yours....

7. Tape the carton well - including in both directions and across the ends

8. Insure your saddle for its replacement value. And remember - UPS will question damage to an improperly packed saddle, no matter how much extra insurance was placed on it.

If you receive a box in this condition, photograph it before opening. You may need documentation for damage claims.

Marking a box "fragile" does no good if it is improperly packed. This 14" wide carton held a 14" wide saddle broken in two places.

©2000-2012   N.E.A. Sidesaddle Assoc. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.