Travelling with a saddle is not an easy task (unless you’re on a horse, of course). Even in the back of a trailer, the saddle and rack can go flying about. If you’re travelling by car, then sometimes you just have to keep your fingers crossed and hope.
The obvious solution is to buy a saddle stand designed for use in the car. Simple, right? Except a saddle rack is never a cheap item, and travel saddle racks seem to be even more expensive again. And who wants to spend money on a rack when you could be spending it on more important items e.g. the saddle!
Worry no more, because the DIY solution is here. Riding a horse isn’t cheap (even if it’s worth it), so it’s always good to look for how you can save money. A car saddle stand doesn’t need to be expensive, not when it’s so easy to make your own. Read on for a full guide on what to do.
Can You Buy A Car Saddle Stand?
Look online for a car saddle sand, and the first thing you’ll discover is that there aren’t many options. And the options that are available tend to be very expensive.
One of the most popular stands you’ll see for the car is the Pegasus Saddle Holder. Able to hook onto the back of the car headrest, the Pegasus is space-saving, easy to use, and strong.
The only downside is the fairly sizable price tag. If you only plan on travelling with your saddle occasionally, then the Pegasus is an expense you may not want.
The Pegasus may be the most well-known travel saddle stand, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one available. The simple molded shape of the Stubbs Saddle Mate makes a fantastic stand, and there’s even room underneath for storage.
A big advantage to this design is it’s easy to lift thanks to the center hole. That means you can carry it from your car to your tack room, no problem.
However, the Stubbs still comes with a pretty hefty price tag. That can be particularly off-putting for such a simple design.
And then there’s the Dover Saddlery portable saddle stand. Lightweight, foldable, and relatively inexpensive, this would be the best option of them all.
However, it’s far too large to fit in the back of most cars. Travelling with this saddle stand could be easy, but only when it’s folded up in the back of the car. Travelling while this stand holds your saddle is, unfortunately, much more difficult — unless you have a very large car.
Hopefully, the portable saddle stand will be a market on the rise, so the less DIY-inclined of us can get a decent saddle stand for a reasonable price.
Until then, the best option is either to hand over the cash, or break out the toolbox. The perfect saddle stand is lightweight and sturdy, with a secure base that won’t start tipping when you travel around corners.
DIY Your Own PVC Saddle Stand
Even those who shudder in fear at the thought of DIY will find this saddle rack easy to assemble. It can be completed in an afternoon if you work fast enough (not including drying time).
Everything You Need For A PVC Saddle Stand
There isn’t very much needed at all to put this saddle stand together, and if you’re a fan of DIY then you’re likely to have some of the basics in your home already.
The shopping list is pretty small, and all of it is essential. When it comes to buying PVC piping, ½” should be thick enough to hold the saddle. However, if you have a particularly large saddle, or you want to be extra safe, then ¾” – 1” PVC might be better. It’s also more expensive, so make sure to consider your budget.
You need just under 15 feet of PVC piping to make the saddle stand. To be on the safe side, 2 lengths of 10 foot pipe is perfect. If you’re a person who thinks it isn’t DIY if you don’t make a few mistakes along the way, the longer pipe is definitely better.
With that said, 3 lengths of 6 foot pipe also gives you some room to play with. And if you’re really careful, 3 lengths of 5 foot PVC pipe can work as well. But be warned — with a 5-foot pipe, there’s no room for error.
The advantage of going for smaller PVC pipes is that you don’t end up with any leftover piping. It also tends to be easier to buy, especially if you’re shopping online. And if you have no use for the excess, it’s cheaper to buy shorter pipes.
But the disadvantage is you have to be precise. You probably know just how good your DIY skills are, so keep that in mind when making your decision
Here’s everything you need for a DIY saddle stand:
- 15 feet of PVC piping, ½”
- 4 PVC 90-Degree Elbow Fittings, ½”
- 4 PVC Tee Fitting, ½”
- 2 PVC 3-Way Elbow Fittings, ½”
- 4 PVC End Caps, ½”
- PVC Primer and Cement
For construction, you may need to purchase:
Most of these items can be bought either online or at your local hardware store. If you’re looking to save money, ask around about PVC piping. You may be able to pick some up for cheap from eBay, or people in your area.
A tube cutter isn’t a necessity, but it really helps to speed the process up. Use a saw, if you’re looking for savings.
Putting Your Saddle Stand Together
The very first thing you need to do is cut out your PVC pieces. This is the most important step, so take your time with it. There will be 15 pieces when you’re done, consisting of:
- 4 x 12” base pieces
- 2 x 15” leg pieces
- 2 x 24” side pieces
- 4 x 7” front and back pieces
- 2 x 2” connector pieces
- 1 x 18” spine piece
If you’ve bought 3 pieces of 5 foot length, here’s how you cut it:
- From the first pipe, cut three 12” pieces, and one 24” piece. There will be no excess.
- From the second pipe, cut one 12” piece, one 24” piece, three 7” pieces, and one 2” piece. There should be 1” to spare.
- From the third piece, cut one 7” piece, two 15” pieces, one 18” piece, and one 2” piece. There should be 3” to spare.
Once you’ve cut all your pieces, lightly sand the ends.
The cutting out is the hardest bit, so once you’ve passed that hurdle, you’ve done most of the work. Construction is relatively simple, but you may find some pieces need a push to secure them in the fittings. If they really won’t go, try sanding them down further.
To Construct Your Own DIY Saddle Stand
- Connect two 12” base pieces together using a “tee” fitting so that they lay flat, forming one piece roughly 24” long. Repeat with the remaining base pieces. These form the feet pieces that give the stand stability. Place caps on the open ends of the pipe.
- Place the base pieces parallel on the ground, with the “tee” opening facing upwards. Insert a 15” leg piece into the “tee” fitting at the center of each foot. This forms the upright structure of the stand.
- Attach the remaining two “tee” fittings to the top of the leg pieces, with the “Tee” bar horizontal (in the standard T shape).
- Insert the 18” spine piece between the two “Tee” fittings, connecting the legs together. The spine will hold the bulk of the saddle. At this point, you should be able to see the basic shape of the saddle stand.
- Connect the two 2” pieces into the remaining openings of the “Tee” fittings. They should be protruding from either end of the spine.
- Attach a three-way connector fitting to the end of each 2” piece. The legs of the fitting should be angled downwards, towards the base.
- Insert the four 7” pieces into the open legs of the three-way connector. They should be angled downward, forming an upside down “V” shape. The angle of the pieces will join the sides, and give the stand extra stability.
- Attach the four 90-degree elbow fittings to each open end of the 7” pipe pieces, with the curved opening facing inwards.
- The final two 24” pieces are inserted between these elbow joints, forming a side that runs parallel to the spine. It can be tricky to get these into place, and you may need to remove, and then reinsert, other pieces to do so.
- At this point, your stand is essentially complete! The saddle will rest on the spine, with the flaps resting on the sides. The long feet will give stability, so it stays upright in the back of a car.
- One final step that’s recommended but not necessary is gluing the pieces into place. This gives the entire stand some extra strength. Apply the PVC primer first, and then add the cement on top. Finally, replace the fittings, and leave to dry. If you decide to do this step, take care when reconstructing. It may be easier to start with the sides, before fixing the spine.
See, it really isn’t that hard. Once you’ve got the pieces cut out, it’s simply a matter of fixing them all into place. Because the PVC piping simply slides into place, it’s easy to fix when something goes wrong. Make sure you’re happy with the construction before moving on to the cement stage.
These measurements are for a standard saddle in an average-sized vehicle. You may prefer to make your own measurements. If you do, make sure that the base pieces are long enough for stability. Otherwise, the saddle will fall over every time you turn the car.
The saddle stand is pretty much good to go at this point, but you may want to finish with a coat of paint for a neater look. Krylon All-in-One is a great spray paint for PVC piping — we like this Burgundy red, which would look fantastic beneath a classic saddle.
Rust-Oleum also makes spray paints which can be used on PVC.
That final spray of paint isn’t essential, but it does complete the look. A final touch of paint can make your DIY project look professional quality (especially if no one gets too close).
If you want to spray paint your saddle rack, do so outside on a clear day. Cover the ground and any nearby objects before starting, and protect your clothes. Spray in a consistent and even layer, moving the spray can slowly to cover all angles. Leave to dry. A second coat may be necessary.
And, you’re done! Place the saddle stand in the back of your car and stand back to admire your work. The saddle should sit neatly on the top, with the flaps supported by the sides of the stand. With long feet and shorter legs, the stand should stay stable in the car, even around fast corners.
The cost of everything together should come to less than $50, especially if you shop smart and already have a tool box. The best way to cut costs is to look for deals on PVC piping and fittings, and ask around for any tools you can borrow.
Other DIY Saddle Stands To Try
DIY isn’t for everybody. Even simple products such as this PVC saddle stand can end up taking several hours, especially once you add in drying times. And while the internet makes it easier, it still can be a struggle to get your hands on all the right tools and materials.
But, professional saddle stands are still expensive. So, what are some potential alternatives for the DIY-adverse?
First, every organizer’s favorite item: the tension rod. A tension rod is an expandable and collapsible rod, which can be adjusted to fit a space perfectly. It’s commonly used to hold curtains, but has grown in popularity in recent years because they’re just so useful.
A tension rod can be used to add extra hanging space to almost any area, making it one of the most handy items to have around the house.
Potentially, a tension rod could be installed in the boot of your car, and used to hold the saddle. These strong and durable items can normally hold a lot of weight, but a thin tension rod might need the support of another.
The advantage to a tension rod is that they’re cheap, easy to use, and useful in other circumstances. If you only transport your saddle occasionally, then the rest of the time a tension rod can be used to hold shopping and grocery bags.
The disadvantage is that they need to be placed low to the floor, so your saddle may not be able to sit properly upright. How well the tension rod works will depend partly on the size and shape of your car.
Another tool of the organized to try: a laundry basket. A thin laundry basket designed for use in the bathroom may have just the right dimensions for holding your saddle — once you lay it on the side. They’re often cheap to buy, and add some extra storage to your car.
The major disadvantage is that these things will fall over. It might be possible to use bungee cords to hold it in place, but that depends on the car. Ohtersie, you can try adding weight to the base.
A more traditional laundry basket has better stability, but the wide base is often too big for holding a saddle.
If you’re more of a craft enthusiast than a fan of DIY, you might want to try sewing your own saddle stand. We’ve all seen tutorials for sewing a tablet stand – try sizing one up. Line the base with sand, and use stuffing to fill the rest.
Otherwise, have a look in your home for some objects that might work in place of a saddle stand. The main issue is balancing shape and stability, so it might take some time to find the perfect stand. But if you’re trying to be thrifty, then it’s worth experimenting.
Caring For Your Saddle
Once you’ve got your saddle set up in your car, there are a few things worth remembering.
First, when the saddle is in the car, keep it covered. Simply throw a plain sheet over the top, so no one can get a look at it as they walk past. Saddles are expensive and valuable items, and opportunistic thieves might be tempted if they see one in an empty car.
A plain sheet can shield your saddle from prying eyes, and provide that extra layer of safety.
Second, avoid leaving your saddle in the car for extended periods of time. Not only is your saddle vulnerable to theft in the car, it might get bashed around as you drive. Save yourself some trouble by taking the saddle out when you’re done for the day.
Finally, check the joints of the saddle stand periodically, to make sure it’s in top condition. The stand should be durable, especially if you’ve cemented the fixings. However, the stress the saddle puts on it can cause fractures. Check it over for splinters, or to make sure the paint isn’t flaking off. This will protect the health of your saddle.
Even though more people than ever are travelling with a saddle, the portable saddle stand business is slow growing. Most saddle stands just aren’t designed to be used in the car.
This PVC DIY saddle stand is a simple solution to a tricky problem. It can be made on a budget, by people with no former DIY knowledge. Because the PVC pieces are fitted into place, there’s no need for hard labor, or even a hammer. For the most part, your hands can do all the work.
The final result can stay in your car, supported by the long feet and weighted top. When you want to ride, you no longer have to worry about how to carry your saddle. Simply slip the saddle on its stand, and you’re ready to go.