I’ve been “playing” with my mare, Delilah, this year to prepare her for the challenges of a horsecamping adventure! Trail riding, obstacle course, boggy meadow, and creek crossings. Self loads, and is comfortable hauling in the trailer.
Off we go! Down to Desolation Meadow to join up with friends, old and new! A seven hour haul going in, detouring for a culvert needing repair in the direct route from highway 395 out of Ukiah, Oregon.
Delilah was not legged up as much as I would have wished for the rugged and steep, near 20 mile main ride. However, just being there for the experience and some light riding I knew would be beneficial.
Delilah did many things well. Hauling comfortably, we arrived mid afternoon. I set up camp with a highline. In my experience, horses get used to highlines very quickly. In the meantime, she tied quietly to the trailer munching her haybag.
She drank from the creek, tied quietly throughout the night, even figuring how to lay down to rest completely, and settled in 5 minutes when the group left camp for the long ride on Saturday. We had some non-demanding time grazing in the meadow, listening to the drone of the many flies and bees!
We had a shorter loop first day out, about three hours. The gelding she liked all of a sudden turned into a monster horse with noisy pack boxes! I could not have anticipated that, but it is all experience!
She climbed the ridge steadily to Lost Lake, a nice reaching flat walk down the rocky roadbed to the boggy meadow with creek crossings. This is one of the main challenges of the ride, taking the better part of an hour before getting back into camp.
Delilah lost her marble momentarily, so I put her in a circle until she calmed, a few minutes, and we went back to camp in an acceptably calm manner. A horse light in experience, she got a little overwhelmed by the monster pack boxes, mules (likely her first time), and “well, just everything, Mom! Can’t I just peel out and leave it all behind?!” No, you may not!
I had her hang out in camp the next day, hitching a ride on Rosie, who didn’t want her herd to leave her! These campouts and gatherings are great opportunities to work on your “stuff”! You’ll find that you are not the only one!
One rider was riding a mule that had only been packing, two mules were being ponied, doing that and packing a pack saddle, one mule had a first time highlining lesson. So whatever you think are your challenges, everyone has them! Don’t hesitate to give you and your horse these opportunities!
In the past when I’ve opportunity to stay out a week, ten days, or two weeks with my horse, I have felt that I could do anything with my horse after that!
Any horse camping adventures out there? I’d love to hear, see your post, message me on facebook!
Here’s to happy trails in natural horsemanship!
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