Hey everyone! I have been riding for years and I want to plan my first ever camping trip this summer. Can anyone give me some ideas on how to prepare and things to bring? Would it be worth going for just one night to start or go for a couple days? I know these are probably dumb questions but I need to know where to start and see if it is something my horse and I can do. Maybe I need a horse camping checklist lol.
Thanks for helping!
Camping means different things to people.
Are you cabin camping, trailer camping, tent camping from a car, or back country camping?
We trailer camp but we have friends who pack horse camp. Those would be much different lists as gunslinger said. With either one, your horse needs should be the first list to make. Check out where you are camping, some state and national parks require certified weed free hay be the only kind you bring in. We high line ours using a couple of old cinches as tree saver wraps to tie them between. Some parks don't allow any tying to trees so that's another thing you need to check. In that case you can either hobble, use portable corrals or just put them in the trailer for the night. Some people prefer to bring their own water that their horse is used to drinking with them. That means getting a water tank big enough to hold the amount they will need for your trip. Personally, I'm not that particular and just take enough for the road trip.
There's an excellent book by Don West, Have Saddle Will Travel: Low Impact Trail Riding and Horse Camping. I see it used on ebay once in awhile. Another good one is Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails by Joe Back
Definitely check ahead of time where you will be camping for rules or regulations, if you need certified hay, if there are corrals or how you have to secure the horse(s) overnight, if they have a water supply there, if there are any amenities like a bathroom or porta-potties.
Are you going to need a health certificate or coggins paper? Here in the states, you need a health cert if you cross state lines. Also, if there are going to be other horses, are your horses vaccinated, including strangles?
To create a list of what you need, think of all the items you use when spending a day with your horse. If you have your horse at a stable, check with them if you could "camp" there as a test run. At least that way, you aren't too far away if you have problems or forget something.
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Go and enjoy yourself.
Teach your horses how to be restrained. At home they may be free to run around a corral. Camping they will be highlined, or tied to the trailer or restrained by electric hot wires. Make sure your horses are comfortable with this before they find themselves 100 miles from home in a strange area.
I always feed my horses way more during a camp out than I do at home. First off they are working harder trotting down the trails so the have higher energy needs. 2nd, is the extra feed helps to keep them entertained while being tied up, They will keep busy eating what's in front of them.
Learn how to tell when your horses are stressed. You should be able to take Hydration, Pulse and Respiration rates and know what are reasonable recoveries. Check your horse each evening or morning for filling, soreness or lameness. You may have a great 1st day ride, but need to give your horse the 2nd day off. Depending on your horse or the trails you rode.
I think camping with my horses is one of the most bonding activities I can do with them. They just seem to communicate better with me when I'm around them all day for several days of a camp out.
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