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SunnyK01 04-27-2010 11:27 PM

Camping with your horse
Hi all,
I'm new here, so please bear with my novice-ness :) I have a 15 year old Half Arab who has been a show horse most of her life. We have recently been getting more into trail riding, and she loves it and does well at it.

My question is about what to do with her if we start doing overnight trips. She is used to being in unfamiliar places over night from showing and going on weekend trips to friend's homes. These excursions have always had a stall or a permanent corral for her to stay in. I am pretty sure I will purchase a portable corral eventually, but would like to gain some more experience with longer trail rides, etc. prior to making an expensive purchase.

In the meantime, I am considering taking her to an overnight clinic on camping with your horse and wondering whether I should try to put her on a picket line - which she has NO experience with - or leave her loose in the trailer overnight. I have a decent sized Sundowner 2 horse slant load that she could stay in overnight and be able to move around. It has drop down windows so she could stick her head out and see her surroundings. The clinic is in 2 weeks, so the weather should still be quite cool. Is it wrong to leave a horse loose in the trailer overnight? Are there dangers I'm not thinking of? Would trying to introduce her to a picket line be better? Any opinions will be greatly appreciated!

Painted Horse 04-28-2010 06:26 AM

I have left horses in a trailer over night. But i prefer to get them out. But if it's really raining hard, or if I just had to pull off someplace to get some sleep and worry about the horses safety, I leave them in the trailer. ( such as parking in a truck stop)

But i don't get a lot of sleep if the horses are in the trailer. I feel every movement. They shift their weight and you feel and hear their feet move. Nope I prefer them out side.

For years I did Competitve Trail Rides and we had to tie to the trailer over night. So my horses have spent MANY a night tied to the side of the trailer. I put a hay net full of hay and a bucket of water in front of them and they will do just fine. I can still feel them tug at the end of their lead ropes all night so it affects my sleep some. but less than being in the trailer.

Best is to highline them. I do this a lot with my horses. Remember the rules of 7 when you set up a highline. At least 7 foot high. 7 feet between horses and 17" of lead. I give them a little more lead during the daytime when I'm watching them, Maybe enough to get their nose to the ground. But at night I tie them up short.

churumbeque 04-28-2010 10:01 AM

I tie mine to the trailer for the weekend just long enough so they could get there nose to the ground. On my younger horses I will use a tie blocker ring. Alot of campground will not let you use a corral

Trails 04-28-2010 10:19 AM

Painted Horses is spot on. Trailers are ok in a pinch but it's much better to get the horses outside. If you're concerned about the cool evenings a blanket is MUCH better than keeping them in the trailer.

If your horse is used to corrals and one isn't available then highlining is the best option. Tying to the trailer is good but if the horse isn't used to it you and he/she will be up all night as it tugs, pulls, and paws on the trailer.

If we're talking about the same thing in a picket line (a stake driven into the ground and a soft line attached to a single hobble) I would caution against it as you could be in for serious trouble or injury if the horse isn't used to the device. I picket my horses but never overnight. If the picket line you're referring to is a chest high line, it's a different situation, but a highline is still much preferable as it allows the horse more movement through the night.

Here's a link to primer for how to set up a highline

BTW - You've got two weeks to practice highlining with your horse to get used to the concept. If you have some rope and a couple of trees you both can get very comfortable with it in just a few hours!

Have fun, stay safe, and have a great time horse camping!

SunshineAcres 04-28-2010 12:10 PM

Many place where I camp do not allow tying to trees or portable corrals. I'm not a fan of the corrals anyway. Seen too many horses get loose from them.
Introduction to a picket line can be done when you go camping. Start out with using a halter. When you can, I highly suggest changing to a neck collar. Less likely to get tangled. I put a stopper at both end of the line and use a cross tie (NOT a bungee) to tie my horse to. I then put a hay bag at one end and the water bucket at the other This encourages my horse to move and not get stocked up from standing in one spot for a long period of time. Make sure the tie snap is 1 foot off the ground. This will allow your horse to lay down but not get tangled. I also put a bell on the line. That way if there's too much rustling or a panic, it will ring violently and I know I need to go check on my horse. I've heard that bell go off and have found a loose horse at my picket line eating my horse's hay! Then I had to go find it's owner at 5 am!! Grr.

SunnyK01 04-28-2010 10:37 PM

Thanks Everyone :) What you all seem to be describing as "high lining" is what I've always heard people around here call "picket lining", so that is what I was considering. Good to know that many places don't allow the corrals too :)

Painted Horse 04-29-2010 08:38 AM

Sunny its easy to teach your horse to high line. Your hardest part will be getting the rope up high enough in the trees and pulling it taught enough.

Always place your Knot eleminators on the line before you pul it tight. They are pretty much impossible to move once the high line is tight.

Bring a bucket or step ladder or find something to stand on to help you get the tree savers up high enough around the trees.

Tie knots that you can untie when you are ready to go home. If you use the wrong knot, It can be a real bugger to get loose after 3-4 horse have tugged on it for a weekend. I prefer a Bowline Knot. If you think a granny knot in your shoe laces is hard to untie, wait till you have a granny knot that is 8' up a tree and has had 3000 lbs of horses pulling it tight.

Learn to use the Truckers knot to pull the rope tight. or bring a mechanical device to help you leverage your strength. Remember the highline you are working on settin gup, Will be above your head and probably above your normal reach. So its going to be ackward to get any real leverage to pull it tight.

smr 04-30-2010 02:09 PM

Like you My arab was a barrel horse when I got her and didn't know about camping. I started out putting her on a picket line at some and even putting the hay bag on there. She took to it pretty quick and does real well now.

To get my line tight I bought a rachet strap (good one) that I put on one in.

Qtswede 04-30-2010 06:38 PM

If you can - an easy way to set your lines high enough is to do it from horseback. Yes, I use my horse as a step stool sometimes.

rum4 05-01-2010 01:39 AM

Qtswede I never thought of using my horse to tie that highline, great idea.... might borrow that

Sunny a highline will be fine and your horse will do fine on it. Try it at home with her during the day and see how it goes

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