Nine Tips to Stay Safe when Horse Camping - Page 2

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Nine Tips to Stay Safe when Horse Camping

This is a discussion on Nine Tips to Stay Safe when Horse Camping within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    04-05-2010, 06:34 PM
Good point Trails. I never carry anything more than lunch with me on my ridding horse. I take that back. I do carry a rifle and glasses etc when I'm hunting or some fishing gear in the summer months. But I never load my any of my camp gear on the horse I ride. If I'm staying overnight in the back country. I take a pack horse.

I do a lot of day rides from the trailer. We like to head up Friday and do an evening ride, Stay the night in the trailer, ride saturday and head home. Plus if I camp at the trailer, it's easy to bring a dutch oven, a camp stove etc to cook on.
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    04-06-2010, 02:11 AM
Originally Posted by Trails    
If I'm reading you right you're asking about riding in and packing off of your riding horse. In my opinion the most important thing to remember when you try to ride and pack all of your gear on the same beast is weight.
You're right about what I was asking. And I do agree - at least from the depths of my ignorance - about the weight on the horse thing. Heck, I feel bad enough about asking the horse to carry my 200 lbs. My horse-savvy friend says she's a big, strong mare & well able to carry the load, but she looks dainty & delicate to me. I was cleaning her hooves the other day, and just happened to notice that her ankle bones (right above the hoof) are skinnier than my wrists

The thing is, I wound up with this horse, and am now at the stage of looking for interesting things to do with a horse. The RV sort of motorized camping didn't appeal to me pre-horse, so I'm just wondering about options.
    04-06-2010, 05:57 AM
James, What part of Northern Nevada are you in?
What breed of horse is it? Or I guess better what confirmation does it posses?

When I first got into horses, I asked much the same question. I got a horse so I could pack out deer and elk in the fall, I quickly learned that owning a horse was a 365 day per year committment. No ignoring it and just saddling up 10 days a year for hunting season. I didn't have cows, so I knew I wasn't going to practice roping, cutting team penning. I didn't have a large arena, so there was no room to become a dressage, reining or barrel racer. The young colt I ended up with had incredible stamina, and I liked the idea of seeing miles and miles of trails, So we tried Competitive Trail Riding and little endurance. I had a great time with these events and got to meet lots of fellow horse people, Many of whom I am still friends with.

After I learned alot of what I know about horses, I kinda burned out on all the travel to compete in CTR events. Got tired of judges critiqueing everything I did and decided I was just happy to go explore a new trail across the high country. My daughters also became my riding buddies about that time in my life. They were too young and unskilled to be competitive at CTR, they coudn't ride at the same speeds I did in endurance and I wasn't ready to ride off and hope they made it to the finish line, and of course having to pay entry fees for for 4 vs 1 influenced my decision. They had grown up enough that we could go spend a weekend together with the horses. Early on I didn't have enough horses to go around. So we would pack the horses and we would hike and lead the horses packing our gear into the high country. Later as I got more horses, We would camp at the trailer and day ride the various trails. This gave my teenage daughters a few more creature comforts and keep them coming with me.

Now they have left home for college, have part time jobs and dates with boys, I don't get them to come as often. I've returned to some of my early horse friends and we just enjoy a good trail ride. Some of my friends have become financially successful and have bought very expensive trailers. And they enjoy bringing them and using their equipment. Others are poor as church mice and we camp out and rough it when I join them. Regardless of which way I travel or camp. I still enjoy trail riding.

    04-06-2010, 11:34 AM
Originally Posted by jamesqf    
The RV sort of motorized camping didn't appeal to me pre-horse, so I'm just wondering about options.
The options are tremendous, Painted Horse has a great point in that you can go as luxurious or as bare bones as you like. I got into horses late in life and first tried polo (bad fit), then endurance (a little better), then found Mounted Search and Rescue which led me to camping with the beasts. The gear that horses require, and my lack of packing experience, preclude Painted Horses type of travel at this point, although I love the pics he sends and try to tag along on a couple of pack trips each year.

Prior to moving to WA we were to the purchase point for a gooseneck LQ. I'm VERY glad that the move changed those plans. We wouldn't be able to get into some of the more remote NFS areas that we visit with such a large trailer. Instead we go more the bare bones route and use a truck bed tent. It's must certainly not an luxury RV type camp experience! But it does allow us to get into tight places that a bigger rig might have trouble with.

Regarding your horse savvy friend and your horse - It's your horse; go with your gut feeling. If you do some searching you can find the old us cavalry guidelines. I believe they were no more than about 30% of a horses weight. When you consider that those beasts were in great condition, as opposed to our horses which work out say once, maybe twice a week, you can see where taking the load off will get you much further without a breakdown. I'm sure that your, and my, horses could carry a heavier load for a while, but eventually they'll break under the weight just as you and I would if asked to carry a bigger pack than what we should. I'll get off my soap box now.

Hope this helps open up the options to you.
    04-06-2010, 04:06 PM
I've never camped with horses EVER! I've always wanted to though, but it just seems like it may be such a hassel. Although, we have brought 2 of our horses down south with us for the day and night and rode them all around the area. We had a small pasture put in and we let them run around in there for the remainder of the night and than round them up and head home. One time, before we had the pasture put in, my aunt actuallly let them go and they were running around freely! I'm like you actually let them lose, you are crazy!!! She said she got scared that they wouldn't come back because they were gone for a while so she grabbed some grain and shook it around in the bucket and they eventually came back. Has anyone ever done this? Lol I would never do it, let alone let her do it if I were there.
    04-07-2010, 12:32 AM
I don't grain my horses, So shaking a grain bucket would have no effect. They don't know what it is, so they are not going to come a running.

A fellow I rode with once. Used to bring a small nose bag on all his rides. At lunch he would shake the bag and had taught his horses that they got a treat of grain when he got the bag out. He would turn his horses loose on the mountain for lunch break. After lunch he would get his nose bag out and rattle the grain around. The horse would immediately lift their head from grazing and head to him. So if the horses have been trained to come, It works great if there isn't a greater temptation around.

Trails, It doesn't take a lot of equipment to get started packing. You can use your normal saddle and just buy a set of Saddle Pannier. These come in Canvas, cordura or Iron cloth. They retail for $100 to $150. I frequently use these during hunting season. I roll them up and tie them behind the cantle. We go hunting and if I shoot an elk, I un-roll them, throw them over the saddle, oad the meat into them and lead the horse back to the truck. This gives me the opportunity to ride the horse until I need to pack. But I do it all with a regular saddle.
    04-07-2010, 02:42 AM
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
James, What part of Northern Nevada are you in?
I'm near Reno, right on the edge of the Sierra. The friends' place is actually just over the state line, in California. The good part is that we can just ride out from their place, and then could use dirt roads & tracks to get just about anywhere in the northern part of the Sierra, but the higher country is more than a 1-day ride.

What breed of horse is it? Or I guess better what confirmation does it posses?
Ellie's an Anglo-Arab. You can see her picture here: The picture is from when we brought her home last fall, so she's a bit out of condition. She'd belonged to a friend of friend who'd gotten her for his girlfriend to ride. When the girlfriend split, Ellie just stayed in the pasture with his others for a couple of years.

Early on I didn't have enough horses to go around. So we would pack the horses and we would hike and lead the horses packing our gear into the high country.
Which is something I might enjoy doing. I'm not really competitive, but like to hike &c, and have been going along with friend & others on their trail rides for years - them riding, with me on foot. Was fun 'til they started making me carry the lunch & water bottles
    04-07-2010, 03:11 AM
Arabs do well at distance sports. So any of the distance sports is a possibility. Endurance, NATRC, Mounted Orienteering, Tie and Rides etc.

But it will boil down to what you enjoy, and where you have friends to join you. It's much more fun and you will do it more often if you have friends to go with you. There is nothing wrong with walking and leading your horse. With out a pack, you can easily walk as fast as most horses walk. And since you can load 100lbs to 150lbs on your horse, you can take some nice gear with you. Or maybe eat real food instead of dehydrated food on camp outs.
    04-07-2010, 10:44 AM
Originally Posted by Painted Horse    
Or maybe eat real food instead of dehydrated food on camp outs.
HA! The first time I went on an overnight pack trip I was told to pack light so I took my backpacking gear (light weight everything, freeze dried food, ultra light tarp instead of tent, tiny camp stove, etc. You get the idea). At our camp for the night while I dined on freeze dried goop out of a plastic bag my friends ate steak and potatoes. During the course of dinner one of the guys slapped me on the back and said "The horseman that doesn't live better than a hiker isn't worth his salt!" That's when I learned that packing "light" for that trip meant no dutch oven or cots since we only took one stock animal with us.

That was also the trip where the same guy made a PCT thru hiker cry with joy when he gave her a cold root beer. The first soda she'd had in 3 months of hiking from Mexico to Canada.

Here's a link to the pages detailing more of the route we took.

    04-07-2010, 11:08 AM
Trails I can relate to that! One of my first pack trips wasn't much different. I still remember the lead cowboy pulling out a pot and cutting up carrots, potatos, onion and dumping in a can of chicken meat. Bringing it all to boil and we had Chicken and Dumplins at 10,000 foot. He packed the eggs in a Tupperware bowl of grain. The grain pads the eggs so they don't break. So we had real eggs and bacon for breakfast and the horses got grain.

I have forgotten all about Freeze Dried foods since I got horses. And yes I still sneek a Pepsi or two in for when I get tired of drinking purified lake water.

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