Horse Camping provides a great opportunity to explore new trails and uncharted territory
Horse camping offers a great family experience and will help you build a stronger bond with your horses. We will cover the training your horses must have before camping, the knowledge you must have before hitting the trail, horse camping supplies and where you can camp with your horses.
It is best to use well-broke and bombproof horses, although camping and trails can be a great way to put miles on young horses. It is wise that you properly desensitise your young horses if you plan on taking them with you. Horses must also be well shod if riding through rough and rocky terrains. Horses must be in good condition and able to ride for several miles in a day. Out of shape, horse will tire easily on the trail.
Hobble training your horses helps you out on the trails immensely. Hobble training allows you to let your horses graze at the campsite while you cook and hang out with friends. The more vegetation available at your campground, the less hay you will have to haul with you. If you plan on travelling far from your trailer, be prepared to pack a few things. You may even need a horse that can pack and carry your supplies. A horse trainer knowledgeable in packing will be able to help you learn how to pack a horse properly. Mules are perfect for packing as they are sturdy and reliable. You should also bring a long tether rope that can be tied about 6 feet off the ground. The tether will allow you to tie your horses on the trail. To use a tether, your horses will need to be properly trained to tie. Horses that do not tie well may cause other horses to spook or tangle.
For your first horse camping trip, you will want to have easy access to your horse trailer. If you plan to leave your trailer and camping elsewhere, then you may need to use a horse for packing your personal supplies, animal feed and tents. For your first trip, it is handy to have a horse trailer nearby for storage of feed and other supplies. You will also be able to put your tack up somewhere safe for the night and protect it from the weather. If the weather gets too bad, you can use the trailer for shelter as well. Many parks and horse camping sites allow you to park your trailer nearby your campsite. If you are camping near your trailer, you can also bring along round pen panels, and this will keep you from having to tie or hobble your horses.
Unless you are camping near a water source, you will need to bring plenty of water for both you and your horses. Fifty-gallon water barrels provide excellent storage for water. You should also bring your horse’s regular ration of hay and grain for the time you will be away from home. Other essential items include extra clothing, food, flashlight, first aid kits, fire starting materials, canteen with water, knife, rain gear, a cell phone, horse shoes, hoof pick, nails and a hammer. If your horse looses a shoe on the trail and you can’t tack it back on, pull all of his shoes. If the terrain is not rocky, he will be fine until you can get to your farrier. He may even enjoy the time barefoot.
A cell phone is essential even if you may not be in good range. You can never be too safe, and it is better to have one. Despite your location, the 911 feature will still work on your phone, and they can trace the call via satellite. You should always have the cell phone on your body and not attached to your horse. The phone does you no good if your horse has it and he runs off from somewhere. You may also want to bring feedbags so you don’t have to carry feed buckets with you.
For new trail riders, keep to areas with designated trails. If you go out in the country or dessert where there are no marked trails, the terrain can be difficult to judge. If you explore an unbeaten path, be sure to remember or mark landmarks so you can find your way back to camp. Cattle and wildlife will make their trails. Cattle will typically use the same path that they have used previously to find their way back to the barn or water trough. These trails provide good routes for trail riders. When riding in rough terrain or an area with a lot of hills, you can save your horses stamina by leading him down hills instead of riding down them. When going up hills, you should always let your mount find his way on his own. He will choose the best way for him based on the footing that he feels and where he can go.
Many state and national parks across the country allow horses. Many national parks and forests provide horse trails and campground areas. Some areas will also have stock corrals so that you don’t have to tie your horses. Some campgrounds will require that you spend the night in designated areas to keep horses from ruining trails. If you can’t find a nearby campground, set up camp in a pasture or a friend’s ranch. You can camp and cook as if you were at a campground, but you will know that home is not far. Camping near home provides an excellent opportunity to allow young horses to learn about the trails and will prepare you for future campouts.
Horse camping offers a fun and rewarding experience. Your horses will appreciate the time from the barn and out in the country. They will gain much-needed miles and will train them to watch where they are going. Horse camping also offers a great opportunity for families to spend time together and to bond with your horses.