How to ship a saddle

With wonderful websites like Ebay.com and UsedSaddles.com, it gives owners and riders more options than ever to buy saddles from across the state, country or even internationally. There are a lot of advantages including cost savings and finding the exact size and model that may be unavailable in your area. The disadvantages include extra costs for shipping, taxes and duties (depending on where you ship from), as well as not being able to try the saddle on your horse before you buy it. Many reputable sellers offer a 7-day or 14-day return policy, that allows you to buy the saddle, try it on your horse and then return it (in the same condition it arrived in) if the saddle does not fit.

Once you have selected the saddle you want, how are you going to get it to your house? What size box do you need to ship a saddle? What is the approximate weight? What duties should you expect to pay?

Shipping a saddle

  1. Determine the size of the box you will need. The average saddle will require a box size of 18 x 18  x 24, depending on the seat size. A western saddle may need a wider box.
  2. Determine the weight of the box. An english saddle is typically around 13 to 15 lbs, without stirrups or any fittings. The total shipping weight includes the saddle, box, and packing material. This can add an extra 3-5 lbs to the total weight.
  3. Select your method of transportation and price point. Many companies offer fast services (next day, 2-3 business days) at a higher cost. Shipping within your state or province will typically be less expensive than shipping across the country or internationally.
  4. Select your shipping company. USPS offers a shipping calculator on their website to find the exact cost and shipping time for your parcel. Canada Post also offers a shipping calculator. You can also try companies like FedEx and Purolator, which are generally better choices for overnight and international shipping (although they tend to be more expensive).
  5. Packing your saddle is the next step. This may also include a bill of sale (or invoice) depending on how your recipient is paying for the saddle. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself. There are many types of packing you can use, including foam, bubble wrap and packing peanuts. These can be purchased at any shipping supply company. It is important the saddle is wrapped snugly to prevent any movement during transportation. Moving tape works well for sealing the box, but be sure to pay equal attention to the bottom of the box as well as the top!
  6. It can be useful to use black marker and write your name, address and phone number directly on the box, in the event the shipping label (that your shipping company or postal service will provide for you) is damaged or lost. Marking the box “THIS SIDE UP” or “FRAGILE” can deter shippers from being unduly rough with your package.
  7. Once you have filled out all the appropriate shipping information, be sure that the shipping method you have selected provides you with a tracking number. If the saddle is $500 or over, you should ensure there is a tracking number so that your receipient can follow its progress online, plus insurance (which is often a nominal fee, and depends on the value of the saddle) in case the saddle is damaged or lost. A tracking number should be coupled with a signature upon delivery (you need to request this typically) if the saddle is extremely valuable. This will also prevent fraud and give both parties peace of mind.
  8. The receipient will be responsible for any duties or taxes at the border. Taxes vary by country and state. If you are the one purchasing the saddle, you have to pay for the saddle when you pick it up from the postal location, or directly to FedEx (or any commercial shipper) when they drop it off.

If the saddle does NOT work out, you can re-claim any taxes you paid by filling out a form and providing the return information to your Customs and Border department. Refunds are typically issued 2-4 weeks after receipt.

Shipping a saddle can be done easily and quickly with the right information!

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