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Sopris Unlimited
Sopris Unlimited
Sopris Pannier Instructions

Our panniers are made of 1680 denier nylon coated with urethane. They are extremely water-resistant and durable. The center space on the aluminum pannier bar is used as a carrying handle and a load scale weight point.

All panniers are interchangeable between our hard and soft saddles.

Our Intermediate and Rookie panniers are perfect for lunch hikes and for use in the performance show ring. For overnight packing, you will want to use our Deluxe, Deluxe Lite, or Standard panniers. These are equipped with accessory straps on top of the pannier lids for strapping on sleeping bags, tents, and other gear. Vertical compression straps run over the top of the load, while the pannier stabilizing straps attach to the front and rear cinch on both sides to hold the panniers down. Rain cover rings are located at the lower sides of the pannier for the rain cover connecting hooks.

Caring for your Panniers:

To clean your panniers, remove the aluminum pannier stabilizing bar at the Velcro closure (located at one end) and observe the placement of the horn straps in order to return them as they were after you have washed your panniers. Machine wash warm, gentle cycle, and dry (only partially) on low heat.

Introducing the Sopris Panniers to your animal:

When your animal is comfortable with the saddle and the chest strap and breeching, you are ready to add the panniers. Please note: Stay in a fenced area during the saddle training process, and avoid obstacles and other challenges until your animal gets used to the pack outfit.

1. Begin with empty panniers. Detach the VERTICAL COMPRESSION STRAPS for now.
2. Attach one pannier at a time and secure by tightening the HORN STRAP CAM BUCKLE. Go easy during this step because the noisy pannier will make him nervous at first.
3. Attach the PANNIER STABILIZING STRAPS. (I keep these straps attached to the panniers when not in use because they are easier to keep track of and they get in the way of the cinching if left on the cinches.) All these straps may seem a bit overwhelming at first – be patient and you and your animal will soon have them mastered. Later, even though you may choose not to use certain straps, you will know how to use them if you need to.
4. After the panniers have been secured, walk your animal around. If he is going to panic during this whole process it will probably be now. The panniers are foreign and the noise from them may frighten him, especially if the pannier happens to hit or hang up going through a gate etc. *Stay in a fenced in area during saddle training process and avoid obstacles and other challenges.
5. When your animal has gotten used to the panniers, add a couple of pillows to each pannier and go through the process again.
6. When you feel comfortable, take him through some obstacles such as a series of small jumps or a slalom course where the panniers can rub without hanging up. Run him around a bit. Rub the panniers with your hands. Allow straps to touch his legs. Anything to prepare him for what lies ahead.

Using your Sopris Panniers:

1. Double-check your cinches to make sure the tension is correct before loading.
2. Weigh and balance your filled panniers before you load them on your animal. If you have help, load both panniers at approximately the same time to avoid having the unbalanced load on the saddle for any length of time.
3. After you have loaded the panniers and top load, connect the VERTICAL COMPRESSION STRAPS to the pannier on the left side, take them over the top of the entire load and connect them to the opposite pannier. Lift the panniers to the desired height and tighten the compression straps. These straps will help keep the load up and in toward the center of gravity for the ideal riding load. You may choose not to use these straps depending on the nature of the load you are packing.
4. Connect the four PANNIER STABILIZING STRAPS to the front and rear cinches and snug them down.
5. Unload your panniers in the opposite direction. Remember to disconnect the PANNIER STABILIZING STRAPS from the cinches and the VERTICAL COMPRESSION STRAPS from the panniers before you take the panniers off.