Planning an overnight trip with your horse
The single truth every experienced trail rider knows is that there is nothing more important than having a good horse, and being a good rider who understands and takes care of their horse.
If you’ve been on the trail for any length of time, you know that the best equipment on the planet is useless if you don’t really know your horse, and if you don’t always put your horse’s needs first, before your own.
Your horse always comes first. They are dependent on you in many ways, but you are also dependent on your them.
You wouldn’t take your truck out on a long drive without making sure all the fluid levels were topped off, and neither should you take your horse out on the trail without being guaranteed, as much as possible, that they are fit for travel and that you truly know and understand your best friend on the trail.
Yes, super light saddles and all the latest gear are marvels to behold, but they don’t add up to a pile of wet coffee grounds if you don’t know your horse and have a deep understanding and compassion for horses.
There is no substitute.
Those of you who have been riding on extended overnight trips probably know what’s to come, but even so, I sincerely hope there will be some bits of information that are new for you or that you might see in a different way.
Training Your Horse Before You Go Oh, sure, your horse is trained with the basics, but are they trained for the variety of experiences waiting for you along the trail?
Here are some useful activities you might consider doing to make sure the surprises that are coming your way don’t get out of hand.
- Sacking Out
Take a nylon grain bag or a small plastic tarp and work with your horse in a round pen using a lead rope.
For starters, introduce this object to them, then rub it on the neck and shoulders, and on the their back and legs over and over again, letting him/her get used to this.
They will likely be a bit buggery at first, but a gentle and calm approach will help it learn that the noisy and strange-looking plastic is harmless.
This particularly helps your horse when it’s carrying loose items that may flap or rattle, teaching them to resist the urge to run away.
You could also saddle your horse and tuck a grain bag or two under the back cinch and longe it around.
When they are accustomed to this, add a grain bag to the saddle horn and continue lounging.
This process really gets them accustomed to objects blowing in the wind, like rain slickers, tent flys, etc.
A horse that is trained using this method won’t spook easily, which is a great benefit for both of you.
If anyone has any suggestions to add to this topic, I sure would appreciate hearing from you and please comment below or join us on our Facebook page!
Next week I will be talking about my next tip… “securing your horse”…