Long riders and those interested lookie here!
So, like many people, the idea of taking off from your current life to spend time on the road/trail with your equine partner is enchanting. I really plan to do this in the next few years to come. If all gets worked out in the next two months, I will begin planning for my trip late next year or so. I am looking to collect as much information as possible about the in's and out's of ACTUALLY doing this.
I know there are a couple of members on this board that are planning to take a trip or have already done so and I would like to propose that we pool our information and share ideas on the subject.
I'll start with a little info on my projected trip. Nothing is set in stone yet as there are a ton of factors that go into this and any of them could change without notice.
I would like to begin the late summer/early fall of 2014.
My horse would be 5 years old or nearly 5 at the time.
I am planning to make the ride alone, although depending on how things go, I may bring a dog with as well.
Due to it only being myself, I am trying to figure out the logistics of whether this is feasible with only one horse or if I should consider a pack animal.
I am very comfortable roughing it. I have many skills that will be handy out on the trail. As far as comfort gear for myself, I am a minimalist. I don't need much. Just something to keep the bugs and rain off me at night and I am good.
I am in the process of learning many of the things that I will not be able to rely on others readily to do for me while on trail.
I am back into studying hoof care, and I have worked as a vet tech of sorts for five years, so I am proficient at wound care. However, I am refreshing my knowledge so it is current.
I would prefer to be able to get to a vet or good farrier, but that may not always be an option, so I want to be as proficient as possible.
So, share your plans (wishful or not) and if you have any questions post and see if anyone here has an answer for you. Or if you have answers for anyone else. :D
P.S.-Because someone is going to link to The Long Riders Guild, I have already emailed them and am waiting for a reply. Thanks!
Where are you going to be riding? If you start in the fall, are you planning on winter riding? Are you going to have any type of support group for back up?
I suspect you will need a pack horse. There is no way to carry enough for long trips on a single horse, Unless you re going to walk and lead the horse. Or have somebody in a truck/trailer shadowing you with all your necessities.
How fast do you want to travel. I talked to one couple that traveled from the Pacific to the Atlantic, But it took them 16 months to travel the 3000 miles. Others travel such distances in 4 months.
Do you plan to have feed brought in for the horses daily, Fall and winter travel often mean no grazing, so you would have to transport your own feed. Or make plans to have somebody dropping it off at staging areas.
I haven't decided that for certain yet. I know that I am going to want to head south of me (Northern Illinois) and was thinking of hitting Florida, as I know people there and would be able to rest/stay for as long as I want.
Plus the south is going to be a better climate to ride in as far as winter goes. (But I am used to/comfortable with riding into the 30's. It's fine as long as you get off and walk periodically to warm yourself up which is fine with me. I don't mind winter riding really, though it does prove harder to manage. Not impossible, just harder.)
I am not sure if I just want to do a shorter ride to Kentucky for my first trip and see how that goes, as I also know people there.
It all depends on how my research goes. Everything is still up for grabs at this point as I am learning. :wink: I definitely plan to take as much advise as possible and make it work for us.
I am trying to figure out exactly what I will need before hand as far as a back up team and such, so I can have it set up by the time I am ready to go.
I am not in any hurry at all. Really, as long as it takes me is how long it will take. :-P The Kentucky trip is somewhere in the area of 450 miles. That shouldn't take too long. It's mostly through rural Illinois which is easy travelling and is familiar territory to me.
As I said above, it would be easiest to set up pre-appointed stopping points where I will have my supplies waiting for me. Though a 450 mile trip wouldn't take all that long in the grand scheme of things, so early fall is actually the best time besides late spring. The heat is moderate and we generally are getting some good rains which gives the grass a second wind for the year.
I just ordered The Horse Travel Journal written by one of the Long Riders Guild on the subject as well as some US Military journals on the care of the cavalry animals while on march. Hoping to learn a lot!
Well, I think you'll find that you are the easy part. It's your horse that will be the hard part. Without a pack horse you are going to have to load your horse pretty heavy, even if you travel light. I've done a couple multi-day trips without a pack horse and it's no picnic for the horse. All the little things you're going to need will add up to big pounds and quite a bit of bulk. The stuff you will have to do without for an extended period, without a pack horse, may end up becoming a real problem as the trip gets long.
Several years ago there was a fellow who started out from Florida and headed west. Several months into his trip he ended up in New Mexico without any money and without a horse. His horse was so thin and poor by then that it could not go on. I guess it finally collapsed outside Farmington, NM. A woman I knew bought the horse from him for $200 and fattened it back up and it turned out to be a pretty good horse, but it was about dead when she got it.
If you can find feed and water, and not push too far every day, and let the horse have a day off once a week, you might do ok, but I would certainly take a pack horse along to lighten the load on the saddle horse.
I read recently about a rancher from Oregon who rode from coast to coast a few years ago. He rode alone and didn't take a pack horse, but he had a support crew shadowing him all along. He did it in seven months.
I also know of another fellow who lives in the saddle, riding all over the country. He has a pack horse and no support staff. Does it all by himself. Stops occasionally to do odd jobs for a while and rest up. I don't know whether he has other income or not.
You're going to need to check into regulations regarding moving livestock across state lines as well. Back east the rules are a bit funny in some states.
I think if I were you, I'd plan some shorter overnight trips to nearby places and see how it goes without a pack horse, before I decided to set out on the big trip without one. One good thing about back east for that kind of trip is that there are towns every 15 miles or so. I'm sure that would make a difference.
Good luck to you.
There was recently an article in a magazine here in Australia about a woman who trekked around Australia on horseback. She took 3 horses with her, changing which she rode every day so that they could all have a break. Even so, halfway through she ended up having to sell those three horses because it was too much for them and buy 3 new ones.
There have been a few horseback treks around Australia in recent years, I might do some research and see if I can't find anything. I'll definitely be keeping up to date with this thread, as this is something I want to do too.
I found the blog of the woman the article was about.
Catch up with the Sun | How I rode through Australia with a short fat horse, two grumpy camels and one feral Kelpie
Check out Free Range Rodeo's website as well. One woman riding across the US at the moment. Same riding horse, two pack horses.
Hi, I would love to do this... but there are so many questions I have for anyone who is going to ride this far and long!
1) I know out west the roads are wider and have larger shoulders to ride on (I am from rural Texas) but here in Georgia the shoulders of our rural roads are almost nonexistant. I would not ride my horse down our small country road for anything.. Plus the crazy idiots who honk and try to scare the horses.
2) how do you get thru towns/cities. I know for the most part you would try and go around but do you miss all towns?? how do you get across some of the larger Bridges?
3) How in the world do you plan a trip like this, how do you figure out where you can camp at night.
There are so many questions I have and none of the diary's I have read actually talks about that sort of info.
I have gone to the long rider guild but I have not found the answers to this type of questions
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