Since I started riding last fall I figured I could go "backpack lite" camping with my horse and carry everything I need on him. One small problem: it doesn't all fit. It all fits in the luggage I have for him, but it's such an unstable load that I'm not sure it's worth it.
It'd be fine for an overnight, maybe a weekend, but for a longer trip? Forget it. Of course, part of the problem is that now I'm older than I once was and insist on more Creature Comforts, even when camping.
So, a pack horse is in the works. Hopefully this coming weekend I'll be getting a 4 horse trailer so I have room to haul a pack horse along with our two saddle horses. Mrs. Thinks that our little Arabian can make a fine pack horse, with some training. He's 25 years old so he's pretty settled down but he still seems to have plenty of energy and endurance. Last weekend he carried a friend (200 pounds total load) for 8 miles up and down hills, mostly in the snow. A 150 pound pack should be no problem for him--especially without the snow!
So, time to start training him. As soon as we can haul three horses to the trailhead we'll start with his riding saddle and some loaded saddle bags and see how well he ponies on a trail. If he seems to be working out, we'll get a Decker pack saddle and panniers and try to have him ready for a serious trip by early summer.
'Cause one way or another, I'm taking some serious pack trips this summer!