Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Camping with Horses: Checklist

It seems I cannot go anywhere or do anything without making lists, a legacy from my mother most likely! I especially need my lists when packing for camping trips, with or without horses, and I have gotten so that I have a standard list I use for all the gear I need. Before I start loading up the horse trailer, I print out the list and take it out to the barn with me which saves endless trips back and forth to the house.

The following is my checklist for the horses while camping, which might come in handy for others to use also:

Riding
Saddle, pad, cinch, breast collar, bridle, helmet, saddlebags, halter* and lead ropes (for tying the horses to the trailer but also an extra to take along on the trail), small first aid kit

Horse Care
Grooming tools, first aid kit, sponge, small bucket for rinsing off either horse or tack, bug spray, liniment, electrolytes, manure bucket, manure fork and shovel, blanket (preferably one that is water- and wind-proof)

Feeding
Hay (take a little more than you figure you’ll need as we have found the horses eat more during a heavy work weekend!), grain, feed bag or pan, hay bag or net, water buckets**

Tying
Picket line, tree savers, step stool (also used for mounting), extra lead ropes (to leave on the picket line), tool kit

Extras
(we take along a few extras of these items in case something breaks or someone else in the group has forgotten it): Halter, lead rope, cinch, breast collar, water bucket

It always seem like so much work to get ready for a long weekend of riding, but it's essential when we're away from home we have everything we need to make the camping experience safe. Once we arrive at our camping spot and get set up, we have so much fun that it’s more than worth it!

*We've found it's easiest to bring 2 halters per horse: a 'normal' buckle halter for tying to the picket line/trailer, along with a rope halter for on the trail. The rope halter fits more easily into saddlebags and is also less bulky for the horse to wear underneath the bridle. Just be sure you're aware of how to tie a rope halter properly before using it on the trail.

**Depending on where you'll be camping, you might also want to bring along your own water for the horses. Also, some horses are very finicky with drinking water while they're away from home; we've found for those types of horses if we bring their "own" water they're more likely to keep well hydrated.

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