Beginner with Pack Horse
 
 

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Beginner with Pack Horse

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  • Beginners packhorse
  • Horse pannier packing

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  • 1 Post By Allison Finch

 
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    02-25-2012, 11:34 AM
  #1
Foal
Beginner with Pack Horse

Hello. I'm not really sure where or how to begin with this, but I need some help, thoughts, idea and opinions concerning getting a horse, and this seemed to be a good place to start.

First of all, my health is not good and it's not going to get any better. Starting this summer I will be be obligation and responsibilty free--for the most part, and I've thinking about what I'd like to do. I have this strong desire to outfit a pack horse and to start walking. The reality is though, other then summer camp riding as a kid, I don't know anything about horses so I don't know if what I'm considering is feasable, reasonable or responsible. I've always been good with animals, but obviously this involves more then taking care of a family pet. Is this something someone can learn and do without years of experience? Can experience come from reading and practicing at a local stable?

I have a thousand questions, but if there is a strong opinion that this is a pipe dream, is there any reason to get involved beyond this and waste a lot of your time on something I shouldn't do in the first place?

I really would appreciate sharing your thoughts on this. Thank you.
Riverr1
     
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    02-25-2012, 11:42 AM
  #2
Yearling
#1 just make sure you can afford it financially. Try leasing someones horse first. Like an on farm lease that way they are there with you to coach and train you with the horse.

Books help sometimes. But the real experience comes from in hand.
     
    02-25-2012, 12:00 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
It IS feasible, but now is the time to get some "learnin". I would go to a nearby barn and get some lessons on horse handling/care. Even though you say you will be leading the horse, you need to know how to ride, as well, so take riding lessons.

What kind of terrain will you be attempting? If it is backcountry rough terrain, you will need to know how to take care of your horse's shoeing as well.

A decent alternative to a pack saddle is to get some saddle panniers that fit over a western riding saddle. That way, you also have the alternative to ride, if needed.




MissColors likes this.
     
    02-25-2012, 01:09 PM
  #4
Foal
Miss Colors and Allison, thank you for taking the time to respond.

Addressing the points you raise. Financially, I shouldn't have a problem, but I would like to discuss at some time how to budget for the taking care of a horse while always on the move. Allison, I have looked at panniers. I understand it's no tack shop, but there is a Cabella's near by, and I have been looking at what they offer.

The idea of positioning myself to ride also is interesting. I really hadn't considered it. The first drastic change I'm going to go through is losing the ability to walk. The exercise I would get from doing will help postpone that from happening.

Here's where I'm at. I'm going to be 57 soon. My youngest daughter, 27, has been working for the Humane Society and similar organizations for a long time. She has recently started veterinary school. For obvious personal reasons, we have so far kept this between us, but she has helped me through her contacts and found horses and tack that has been offered to me at no cost. Indirectly she has given me lists of over a hundred horses of various ages, sexes and conditions that are available. Mostly because of the economy. So far I haven't done nothing beyond think about this and talk to her about it. She's got a good heart, but she's not a lot of help. She's a cat, dog, hampster person. She has no real experience with large animals either.

The kind of questions I have I assume most who read this will think of naturally. Will a book go over information I'm completely ignorant of like how much weight can a horse carry. How much of that weight needs to be dedicated to the care of the horse. Most of this information I assume will be easy to come by? Am I wrong?

Right now I concerned about the simple stuff though. For most people, horses aren't the typical pet, and I don't know much about them. Do horses make good friends? I don't think I would enjoy owning a "tool." Are they like dogs or more like cats? Something altogether different? How do you judge your first impressions with a horse? How do you know how a horse is sizing you up? I know horses can be everything from laid back to very high strung.

Miss Colors, you've brought up almost the same thoughts as mine. Pick a horse, stable it for now and spend as much time as I can with it. How much time do you spend with a horse before choosing one? I don't plan on following roads, but I don't plan to stick to trails either so roads are unavoidable. Does a horse feel safe walking along a road if it's necessary? Can an older horse be trained to be comfortable around cars and trucks? What about guns? Can horses be gun shy like dogs? How do you know this stuff?

I hope I don't sound like I'm rambling. There are just so many questions, and I'm not sure where to start, I don't want to burden anyone with my ignorance, and I sure don't want to wear out a welcome. Thanks again.
     
    02-25-2012, 01:46 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverr1    

Addressing the points you raise. Financially, I shouldn't have a problem, but I would like to discuss at some time how to budget for the taking care of a horse while always on the move. Allison, I have looked at panniers. I understand it's no tack shop, but there is a Cabella's near by, and I have been looking at what they offer.
A few sources of horse packing supplies.

Outfitters Supply Horse Packing Equipment

High Country Supply - Discount Horse and Mule Packing, Camping, and Hunting Equipment.

Horse Packing Gear and Outfitter Supplies

Quote:
The idea of positioning myself to ride also is interesting. I really hadn't considered it. The first drastic change I'm going to go through is losing the ability to walk. The exercise I would get from doing will help postpone that from happening.
A good group to contact about horses and people with muscle loss problems would be a therapeutic riding program. They are all over the place, but you'll have to search your area. They will have all kinds of advice on dealing with mobility problems with horses.

Therapeutic Riding Programs

Quote:
Here's where I'm at. I'm going to be 57 soon. My youngest daughter, 27, has been working for the Humane Society and similar organizations for a long time. She has recently started veterinary school. For obvious personal reasons, we have so far kept this between us, but she has helped me through her contacts and found horses and tack that has been offered to me at no cost. Indirectly she has given me lists of over a hundred horses of various ages, sexes and conditions that are available. Mostly because of the economy. So far I haven't done nothing beyond think about this and talk to her about it. She's got a good heart, but she's not a lot of help. She's a cat, dog, hampster person. She has no real experience with large animals either.
Choose your horse carefully. You will need a horse with a long fuse. One that doesn't surprise easily. If you will have progressive mobility problems, you will not want a horse who panics easily needing very quick reaction times from you. Older horses are often, but not always, a better option.

Quote:
The kind of questions I have I assume most who read this will think of naturally. Will a book go over information I'm completely ignorant of like how much weight can a horse carry. How much of that weight needs to be dedicated to the care of the horse. Most of this information I assume will be easy to come by? Am I wrong?
Books will help, but you need to feel very comfortable around a horse, and only experience will do that. Once you get set up, take day trips around your area. If you will be keeping the horse at a boarding facility, pick one with lots of land you can practice camping on.
How much weight they can carry depends on the terrain and the kind of weight. Rough terrain will cut things down a bit. Dead weight, as in supplies, are harder to carry than a rider. Different horses will also have different weight capacities.

Quote:
Right now I concerned about the simple stuff though. For most people, horses aren't the typical pet, and I don't know much about them. Do horses make good friends? I don't think I would enjoy owning a "tool." Are they like dogs or more like cats? Something altogether different? How do you judge your first impressions with a horse? How do you know how a horse is sizing you up? I know horses can be everything from laid back to very high strung.
You will never get a "dog" or "cat" friendship from a horse. Most of our companion pets are predators, like us. We have a mutual respect and cooperation based on the basic level. Horses are prey animals and, while they depend on us and often like us, you just don't get that level of companionship from them.

Quote:
Miss Colors, you've brought up almost the same thoughts as mine. Pick a horse, stable it for now and spend as much time as I can with it. How much time do you spend with a horse before choosing one? I don't plan on following roads, but I don't plan to stick to trails either so roads are unavoidable. Does a horse feel safe walking along a road if it's necessary? Can an older horse be trained to be comfortable around cars and trucks? What about guns? Can horses be gun shy like dogs? How do you know this stuff?
Horses can get used to roads, but they need time for that. I would recommend staying near populated areas. You will be able to resupply easily and will need to carry fewer provisions. Horses can be very good around traffic, as long as you spend time getting them comfortable with cars and trucks. Shooting around horses also takes specific training. Some horses will never learn to tolerate gunshots, some will take to it easily. Totally depends on the horse and its previous history. The only way to know is try a prospective horses reaction with sudden noises.

Quote:
I hope I don't sound like I'm rambling. There are just so many questions, and I'm not sure where to start, I don't want to burden anyone with my ignorance, and I sure don't want to wear out a welcome. Thanks again.

Again, work any horse you get into this slowly. Practice in areas near home to get a feel of it all.
     
    02-25-2012, 02:41 PM
  #6
Weanling
Left field - if you are going to not be riding at all, just packing, why deal with all that height?

A nice pony mule, about 12 hands, can carry several hundred pounds, all day long. They are usually less reactive than a horse. Take less feed. And are cute as hell.



This was Capt Jack, I got him for free as a rescue. He spent two years as my lawn mower, but then we found him a family who used him for a pack animal when on long hicking trips. They would walk, he would carry thier gear. They would go out for as long as two weeks at a time. He absolutely loved it.

The thing with mules is that once they trust you, you're golden. Unlike a horse who needs to be told what to do each time, a mule you show two or three times and after that they do it themselves.

They are usually a lot cheaper to buy also. Just a thought.
     
    02-25-2012, 02:42 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison Finch    
It IS feasible, but now is the time to get some "learnin". I would go to a nearby barn and get some lessons on horse handling/care. Even though you say you will be leading the horse, you need to know how to ride, as well, so take riding lessons.

What kind of terrain will you be attempting? If it is backcountry rough terrain, you will need to know how to take care of your horse's shoeing as well.

A decent alternative to a pack saddle is to get some saddle panniers that fit over a western riding saddle. That way, you also have the alternative to ride, if needed.




I want some of these saddle panniers but for an english saddle :(
     

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