Take pictures of what the saddle looks like before starting, so you can say that is what it looks, any damage, if any, happened during shipping.
Get a big enough, sturdy cardboard box at the grocery store.
Wrap the saddle in a towel, sheet or blanket.
Get some bubble wrap padding, also at the grocery or office stores, or wad up newspaper to fill all spaces around the well wrapped saddle.
Put your information and copies of the pictures in the box.
Tape the heck out of the box.
You can pay to have it packed by Fedex or UPS, but make sure you see how they packed it. Popcorn is good way to ship it. Wrapping it in bubble wrap is another good way. Make sure whoever packs it does not ship it on its side. If the box somehow is crushed, the tree points are prone to break or the whole tree. Ask me how I know, we just used UPS to ship a saddle and had them pack it. It was supposed to be packed as in with packing materials like we paid for. Instead it was put side ways in a box without any padding. The box was crushed during delivery. The tree points on this lovely Kieffer were snapped. Fortunately we insured the saddle so we are filing a claim with UPS and I am in the process of reimbursing the buyer. Needless to say I was almost in tears over this as I thought having it professionally packed would ensure the safe arrival of this saddle. Back to bubble wrapping myself and getting sturdy boxes from Lowe's or Uhaul or maybe using Fed Ex. They pack it in front of you. Whatever you do, make sure pay for the shipping insurance.
I sold a western saddle (virtually new) on ebay and I had it professionally packed. There is a shipping place here that uses both FedEx and UPS so I knew they would care for it well. It cost me $25.00 for the packing and the buyer was thrilled how it came to her...worth the money to do it right...I also insured it for the purchase price.
I would pack it yourself; paying for them to do it at the UPS Store costs 2-3x what it would cost to do at home. IME. Definitely insure for full value. And maybe don't seal the box at home, let them look inside so they can give the thumbs up on the packing.
Definitely take lots of pictures of the saddle before you send it, so that you can document any damage that might occur either during shipping or by the buyer.
I wrapped the saddle that I shipped in an old towel and then in a garbage bag to prevent minor dings and scratches. Then you can use either popcorn or wadded up newspaper as packing material. If you have some styrofoam lying around you can cut a couple of pieces to fit over the pommel and cantle and keep them from getting bashed.
"The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky
Shipping a saddle not so difficult. Get a good box, buy at pack and ship or find at grocery store, etc. (I keep leftover boxes for shipping) wrapping in towel and then plastic bag very good ideas as well. Try to fill in all gaps, newspaper works fine for a saddle, its not really breakable.
Make sure you put address and phone numbers INSIDE of the box just in case. Make sure the box is fairly new and sturdy and can handle the weight of the saddle (look for information on box on what limits are)
Tape the heck out of it and after you get a tracking number write that in magic marker on box as welll as address in case shipping label comes off.
Send to a business address if you can, that way don't have to worry about someone being home to sign for it, plus you don't have to pay a residential fee.
Thank you guys for your advice. I've got a bunch of pics of the saddle, but I'll get a few more right before I pack it. It sounds like FedEx is the way to go, over UPS or USPS. I think I may wrap it in some towels and bubble wrap, and then let FedEx put it in a box with peanuts for me, where I can watch.
Chebeau, I'm so sorry about your Kieffer. That makes me almost sick to think about.
Wrap the flaps around the tree; one inside, one outside and then wrap with bubble wrap and tape, so that you have a large bubble wrapped sausage. Put it in a box and fill the space around it with peanuts. Give to UPS and insure.