View Full Version : Anyone ever check their saddle when flying?

Aug. 23, 2009, 01:06 PM
What did you pack it in? Will they let you carry it on? Any information will be greatly appreciated!

Aug. 23, 2009, 03:12 PM
The last time I flew domestically, the airline was checking all the carry-ons to make sure they complied to the size restriction. So I would think carrying it on would not be an option. But people check all kinds of bags and boxes, so as long as it was sturdy, I think it would be safe to check it.

Aug. 23, 2009, 03:47 PM
I've always shipped (FEDEX or UPS 3 day ground) to wherever I'm going if I'm flying and need my own saddle. It isn't too expensive and I've never had a problem.

Aug. 23, 2009, 04:11 PM
I would never, ever check a saddle unless you want to risk a broken tree or other damage. I travel frequently and have had real nightmares with things getting lost or damaged in transit. I think FEDEX is a better idea.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 23, 2009, 08:16 PM
I am a moron. My first thought, upon reading the title, I assumed you meant "flying out of the saddle" and my response was, "No, no check the HORSE first!!!!"

Bayou Roux
Aug. 23, 2009, 08:33 PM
I am a moron. My first thought, upon reading the title, I assumed you meant "flying out of the saddle" and my response was, "No, no check the HORSE first!!!!"

Since I went flying, somersaulting, actually, out of the saddle and up over horsie's head this week, I thought the same thing...I thought, I could only see the entire saddle between my knees for one second; what was I supposed to check?

I fell on my butt, but maybe there was brain damage...

Aug. 23, 2009, 09:13 PM
Unless I'm headed to Europe, I've flown I've flown with my saddle on my lap. Its not the most wonderful thing, but I know its safe.

To Europe I just mail it ahead... I'm too scared to check it!

Aug. 23, 2009, 11:38 PM
Go with fed ex. Use a large sturdy box with lots of bubble wrap. Major tape, too. It is how the saddlers send multiple saddles. Plus you have space for the extra tack and pads. it has always worked like a charm!

Across Sicily
Aug. 24, 2009, 12:41 AM
Don't check it!!!! You run the huuuge risk of the airline losing it, the tree being broken, and large damages to your saddle - yes - even if you pack it well.

Either carry it on (I did this recently) or mail it. Carrying it on is not so tough; I had a GIANT saddle bag and nobody batted an eye. If they had I would have raised my hackles about whether or not they'd like to personally replace my $3000 piece of equipment should it get lost or damaged.

Generally people are allowed to carry on oversize items that are fragile - like guitars for example... a saddle (or mine, anyway) usually fits in the overhead bin so that is helpful.

Aug. 24, 2009, 12:51 AM
I just traveled with my saddle checked this month. It was easy, I bought a box from FedEx sized 22x18x20, the maximum allowed is 60" linear inches on checked baggage. I boxed it up with bubble wrap, my saddle pads, clothes, etc. Then I added some straps for handles to carry it with.

I did worry, this is a saddle worth $4,500 or so. But I had an endorsement added to my homeowners policy before I flew that covered it if it was lost or damaged. It arrived in perfect shape and it worked out fine, both coming and going.

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:40 AM
I carried mine on

I had two leather packing straps (like leathers only about a 1/2" wide) running from front to back and I slung it like a back pack. rolled the flaps in (irons were removed) and stowed in overhead bins. worked like a charm. But it was a smaller saddle though. I'm not sure I would check it unless it was in a more hard sided container w/ plenty of padding.

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:55 AM
I carried mine--I have a padded saddle-carry bag that has an over the shoulder strap which cost around $40.

Of course, when I was travelling in 2001-2002, no one was flying, so there were always seats/space available on airplanes...we just put it behind the handicapped seats/in front of the potty, where there is some extra space. When you reserve your ticket, try to get that seat (the one near the toilettes) or the front row, where there is extra leg room.

Aug. 24, 2009, 10:49 AM
I appreciate all your replies. I have always FedEx'd it....but have always wondered what your reception would be like from the airlines...I can see flying carry on with smaller saddles (jumping or AP) but my big dressage saddle will definitely not fit in the over head bin! And all the planes these days are packed full of people anymore?...

Checking still worries me too...if they made a saddle suitcase that was hard and durable like they do for so many other sporting goods(my husbands bow cases for example)maybe I might try it...but from what I have seen of airline baggage handling I choose to think(i know kindof pollyanish) that the FedEx guys are more.... shall we say.... gentle?

Thank you all!

Aug. 24, 2009, 11:03 AM
When I flew to Europe with a saddle, I checked it in one of those plastic trunks - Rubbermaid or Sterilite or something. I put my helmet and boots in with it. I had to pay an upcharge for size/weight, but everything got there fine.

But this was about two months before 9/11, and I was able to lock it so no one could get to anything. Don't know if you could do the same thing now.

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:16 PM
in 2003 i bought a saddle at badminton in england and had to fly home with it. I bought a fleece lined saddle bag and carried it on. It did fit in the overhead bin, but it would depend on the plane you are on as small planes have smaller over bins. going through security was an experience, one person thought it was a child car seat and another thought i could make some kind of bomb with the bridle I had tucked in with the saddle!!!I also had the pleasure of going through security three times as our international flight was routed to another city b/c of weather and we had to do security and customs twice!!!!

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:50 PM
I've traveled on planes with a saddle many times. I use a fitted, and padded, cover. If they have a coat closet in first class they'll often let you stuff it in the corner (which is best). Otherwise, depending on the size, you have other places on the plane that are usually available for when you are taking off. Sometimes even begging to put in one of the lavs during take off and landing and then moving it in front of you (if you can fit it and are willing to give up your leg room) after take off can work too.

It just has to be securely stowed somewhere and not block/impede anyone's egress in the event of an emergency.

Aug. 24, 2009, 09:30 PM
I would only check it if you don't like it!! I try to never even check my luggage.

Aug. 24, 2009, 09:43 PM
checked an event saddle (big saddle, big flaps-- i'm 5'10) to get it to a 2wk training clinic in CA from MD in 1995.... talked to polo people who assured me it would be fine, packed it in one of those saddle cases w/the stand inside, plenty of saddle pads, etc. (thought about shipping it ahead via FEDEX, etc, but clinic location wouldn't take responsibility or anything that came or went before we got there...)

didn't notice anything while in CA, but once back home my horse took exception to trotting... also noticed slight noise. Insert one cracked tree here. *facepalm*

never, ever, again... saddle was still under manufacturer warranty and was replaced (no way to prove when/where it was damaged, really), but still. grrrrr.... don't do it!!

Aug. 25, 2009, 06:43 PM
I'm convinced the old Samsonite commercials (where the gorilla is beating up the luggage) is pretty much on the mark for baggage handlers! :lol: I have a really nice and SUPER sturdy Travelpro suitcase that they managed to dent in a corner that had extra structural support. (They must have dropped it from the plan when loading or unloading.) Never trust them with your tack!

Bayou Roux
Aug. 25, 2009, 07:54 PM
Think riders have it bad? Try musicians:


Aug. 25, 2009, 08:50 PM
How hysterical! Thanks for the laugh!

Well...I cannot sing and I am certainly not that clever...so I will have to continue the shipping FedEx method...

Aug. 26, 2009, 09:49 PM
I've flown with my saddle a dozen times. I just carry it on board with me as a carry on (so I get that and my purse). It is easy, and the airline never batted an eye. I did get a few curious stares from other passengers though. I only had a saddle cover on my saddle too and it traveled great and did not get scratched or beaten up. I just put it ontop of a blanket in the overhead compartment. i did check it a few times during the flight and most people were mindful of it.

I don't think they will allow you to have it in your lap. Most airlines don't want anything in your lap, to hinder you, in case of an emergency. I 've been told I can't even have my purse in my lap