Packing - Page 2

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    05-27-2012, 09:57 PM
Anna, this is an awesome contribution! Wow! I look forward to learning about your progress! It is making me itchy to train some more pack horses!

Have you found any added or lessened stability with the Y-cinch opposed to two cinches on your purchased rig? The boys I trained had a wooden frame saddle with two cinches. We used a nice lightweight yet thick saddle pad, didn't have a real proper packing pad.

Does anyone wrap/use boots on the legs of your pack horse? Seems a good shock absorber could be useful on long haul packs. ?

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    05-27-2012, 10:01 PM
Also: What do "you" (anyone) use when packing as far as headgear? Rope halter? Nylon? Cavesson with D-ring on the nose? Combination?

I used plain jane rope halters on the boys; under Corona's headstall with rope in my pocket as a kind of mecate.

    05-28-2012, 02:46 AM
I think both cinch systems have their advantages.
With the two-cinch, you don't have to cinch the front one as tight, and the back cinch has a very slight crupper action to stop forward motion of the saddle.
With the Y-rig, we've got the advantage of being able to move the position of the cinch if needed. This is good for Canelo because he's got what seems to me to be the typical delicate skin that roans have (is this just me? Or is it actually the case?)
Plus, Canelo doesn't really have the belly that I think they need to pull off the two cinch approach - Minina has that nice pony grass belly and it all holds together in the right place. Though I have to say, in the photo above she's pregnant and we didn't know it yet... let's see what her belly's like when she doesn't have a baby in it!

Our pack pads are just a big rectangle of thick wool felt in a removable canvas cover. Actually, it's two bits of felt so there's nothing actually that touches the spine. The pad is cut-out over the withers, and there's leather reinforcement/protection on the corners and on the wither edging. The leather is more to protect the horses' skin against my seaming than it is to protect the canvas... They have a rectangle of vet-bed under that for sweat-protection.

This photo shows some fabrication going on, or at least shows where it goes on - I think we were mostly on the beer by this point. But in the background you can see the nice red fleecy blanket (courtesy of our flight over ) that became the underside of the canvas cover for Canelo's pad.

For headgear, I'm currently debating this as well, for our trip. Up till now we've used a plain vanilla nylon headcollar. But until now, we've only been working in v quiet places. I am wondering whether, when we start our trip, we might want something with potentially a bit more control, in case a massive earthquake happens while we're crossing a bridge in the middle of a motorcycle parade, that kind of thing So I was wondering whether to make / get something like the one at the bottom of this page: Pack Saddles & Accessories. Hobbles, Panniers, Top Packs, and More! - you've got the option of using it like a bog-standard headcollar but if you think the horse might need a bit more reminding, then there are options. Or maybe a rope halter - but I know that Mr-weird-skin-Canelo probably won't do well in that.

Does anyone have any experience with the draw halters?
    05-28-2012, 03:41 AM
Very interesting! I am curious how the purchased rig holds up on back strain as it seems to look like the panels move? Curious if static positioning helps weight distribution vs variable width positioning, if that makes sense?

I have not used a draw halter, though I fear it could work something like a "be nice" halter, which applies increased pressure as a horse pulls against it; scary to me! I think a pull around the muzzle like that, even slightly, could do more damage than good. Purely speculating, though.
    05-29-2012, 03:45 AM
The purchased tree has movable bars but not adjustable width, though those do exist. The bars move against the back of the horse with the movement of the deadweight. I had my doubts about this but the experiment so far seems to be going well, and it has to be said that the sheer proportion of good reviews of those saddles was pretty amazing.

Re. The draw halter, I am currently debating the same thing. One of our riding horses tends to lean a bit on the halter when you're leading (but never on the bit/bridle when riding). I do occasionally think that if she makes it uncomfortable for herself, then she would correct herself. If the pressure increases because of something that the horse itself does, then is that not the aim? They can seek a release of pressure by doing the right thing.

But like I said, I really don't know. I think the important thing is to teach the horse to pony properly all the time. The draw halter is there for emergencies, not to rely on. A bit like some mechanical hackamores I suppose - you force yourself to have v light hands because in 99% of cases you know you have the training to not need the hack. For the 1%, you're glad that you have the brakes if necessary.

I'm rambling...
    05-29-2012, 04:29 AM
I think you are dead on there with the draw halter. In the case of a horse who leans on the lead, I would be inclined to use it, though I am still apprehensive about the possibility of a freak out. I guess it would just be a game of chance if that were an option. Have you considered something like a cavesson with D-ring on top?

I think perhaps it would discourage her from leaning, as she would have to pull down pretty hard - flip side could be that she uses it to hold her head up entirely. Hmmm ?

As for the rig, what I meant was what you said, not width but the adjustable bars. I am curious if the static bars of the built rig offer as much relief? Interesting study :)

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    05-29-2012, 02:09 PM
The double rigging in your photo is curious. I haven't seen cinches done up like that on double-cinch packsaddles. What I have seen is either a double cinch (woven together in the center but with two separate cinch rings on each side) or two separate cinches with the rear cinch overlapping the forward cinch. In the photo it looks to me like that configuration is asking for a buck.

Your horse tolerates this with a load?
    05-29-2012, 02:21 PM

I clicked on the link for M. Brager and read some of his stuff. And there was a photo with a horse cinched like you have yours. Interesting.
    05-29-2012, 05:19 PM
Traildancer: I am curious what these cinches you describe look like. The pack saddle I used was like the one Anna uses with two cinches, and seemed no different to me than a rear cinch on a Western saddle. So long as it is on the belly and not the flank, it seems okay?

    05-30-2012, 02:10 PM
If you go to and type "pack cinch" in the search box, you will see what I use. When I first started packing we used two individual cinches. You would tighten the front cinch and then lay the back cinch over it and tighten it. That would be with a sawbuck packsaddle. The Decker packsaddle only uses one cinch.

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