View Full Version : Travelling with horse
Not sure if this right thread for this!!
Just been reading a book by Joe Beck on using pack horses " Horses, Hitches and the Rockies",
Also read books by Dylon Winter about travelling with horses in the Rockies and also along Offa's Dyke.
I would like to have a go myself.
Anyone had any experience of doing this?
I work forestry horses for a living so already have a the horse!!
This is something on my 'to do' list also. I've ridden and owned horses in the past but never been on a trip with one, rather liked the look of the trip RM done on horse back in the US.
Chris Kavenagh is the guy to Ask.
He does it for a living. ;)
You have the "Packers Bible" by Joe Back- Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails. There are several other packing titles with usefull bits of information, but this title is the classic. There isn't much I can add. Your having an experienced Forest horse is 90% of success. Modern considerations are mostly environmental. If you go into delicate environmental zones the animal should be fed a certified weedfree pellet ration so as to A. reduce grazing damage and b. not introduce exotic seed through the manure. Picketing can be damaging too. If you run a line between trees use automotive seatbelt material as strapping to protect the bark. If you need to train your horse to picketline, run the rope through some used garden hoses. Your horse will learn his limits without getting into a cat's cradle wreck with ropeburns to the legs. Tack is expensive, but you don't have to run out for a Sawbuck or Decker ( or countless other worldwide styles.) My recently acquired Brit U.P. saddle is a wonder ( people here wonder what it is and why I forsook my 1880s repro stock saddle.) If you have a english type saddle just have some equipment rings or strings attached, remove the stirrup leathers and get a military surcingle ( the additional belt that encompasses the full saddle circumferance in addition to the girth strap.) With care you can hang two duffles on each side and slip your sleeping bag on top.
just notice I spelt Joe Back wrong!
I have an old working harness which I was hoping to modify for packing.
It has breast collar,a saddle pad join to the breeching by a back band and loin straps.
The saddle pad has girth and belly band.
I think I would have to take the tug straps off and also the traces etc.
You have the basics there. The most important point to remember is that a pack is a dead wieght that cannot change center of gravity, post or sense when the animal is in difficulty. That is why a breast collar and some form of breeching or crupper are necessary to keep the load from shifting forward or back on uneven terrain. Tugs and traces can go away. The 'saddle' of driving harness can make an expedient packframe,IF you secure a really thick pack type blanket. You might consider cutting a opening in one to slip down and flush with the saddle and use the rein rings and checkstrap hook to tie off your matching cargo duffles. This is going to be a limited rig, as you can see by Joe's delightfull illustrations packsaddles have 2 contact points just like a riding saddle. Just go easy at first and if it works out a more dedicated unit is easily constructed. You could also sew up some saddle panniers. Imagine a large version of cowboy saddlebags made of cordura nylonthat again slip over a riding saddle for support.
A couple of years ago I met a new age traveller who was touring southern counties.He had made a pair of canvas paniers for the purpose as he couldn't find anywhere that sold tack for pack horses in this country.
There are several long distance ride routes already available,with info from BHS (iirc)
I'd also suggest that you look for a pony initially as lifting the kit up to 13 hands is easier than trying to hold and secure your pack onto 16.2 shire/clydesdale/percheron type that you probably use for forestry.
A good type that you can pick up cheap is the New Forest,the sales start soon with the first sale at Beaulieu Road on August 4th and then on 20th sept,22nd Oct and 24th Nov or nearest thursday to these dates
If I had an experienced forestry horse I'd be tempted to rig an indian travois :D I horrified my driving friends by rigging up a light packrig for my hackney pony. The little stinker still out highstepped the lot :p People over here use dogs and Andean lamas to pack small loads for extended hiking adventures. Traditional horsepacking implies your riding a horse and leading a string of pack animals. The usual breeds used what you would call a cob or light hacking horse, 14.3 to 15.2 hands with short backs and good feet. But you can use anything if it takes to the work. I saw a Suffolk Punch packing once, and they are a relatively rare breed over here. Building a sawbuck for an individual animal isn't all that difficult. You can tailor it to it's back and add the rigging. Most beginners start this way, merely hanging two balanced panniers. The fun is putting a load on top, throwing on a manty ( tarp cover,from the spanish mantea for ladies shawl) and learning the various diamond hitches to secure everything. I thought i was a knot tieing ex sailor genius until I did my first one :o
Suffolk punches are a rare breed over here as well Chris,only 600 pure breds left! The most consistant breed I know.(they're all pretty much identical)
I have a cob which meets all those criteria :eek:You could take an awful lot of kit with you :rolleyes:
I work a 15.2 coloured cob,(better size for conifer plantations)
He has been good and very forgiving to me , when I have done less then sensible things with him.
I feel I can trust him , he has taught me more about working with horses than any book or peson.
I am looking to take on a highland as I have used them in Scotland on the estates they have proved sound. I have seen they carry stags of the hills without any effort.
At the moment just working on very tight budget, so using what I can from my tack helps.
I will have a look at BHS for routes, thanks for the info.
15.2 H to me is the ideal sized horse. I rode a Shire once and got dizzy just looking down :eek: If your horse is rideable, You could simply go ultralight as endurance riders have. There is a website I'll have to find with a good forum on the subject. I've found my U.P. can carry a sensible and balanced load, as did the cavalryment of past. It certainly did yesterday! We had the first of our annual summer brushfires locally. It shut down the freeway and a home with 3 horses was in danger of burning. I had time to throw the U.P. on, which allready had a tightly rolled wool blanket behind the cantle spoon, canteen,daykit up front onto a recently half broke Bureau of Land Management Mustang mare. We tore up a half hidden old deertrail to the corralls, opened the gate and pushed the 3 out. Then it was back down the trail with embers starting to rain down and the blanket got draped over us. I came galloping down like some Headless Horseman and the horses wound up inside a fenced tennis court :eek:
That sounds like it could be of interest.
We ride a bit, the trouble is most areas are ful of bad drivers!!!
We do head out in north of Scotland it is a long drive up, but when you can ride for couple of days without seeing roads let alone cars it is worth it.
Do you know where Ultralites can be found?
Does anyone know of any groups etc. that run horse treks - week or so long affairs where you camp out? I am really keen to do this sort of thing but don't own my own horse or know where it could be done?
I highly recommend this company.
They will be able to do anything for half day ride upto seven days long distance.
It does not matter what level of rider or even if you have never riden before.
As long as you tell them first they will make sure you are looked after and given the right sort of horse etc.
Seven days riding kills me, so make sure you get used to it or you might not be walking very comfortable for a while!!!!!
Cheers Redflex. Your post encouraged me to get looking myself. I've now found a bunch of options - it seems overnight camping is not a UK thing!
I've found what looks like the ideal thing. Now I've just got to fit it in with everything else I want to do!!
Horse riding in Sweden (http://www.responsibletravel.com/Trip/Trip900058.htm)
Not exact match - used a cart etc.
But maybe useful seeing if Simon King still contactable - he did Crawlely to Lands End then J O Groats year before last.
Dont have direct website address, but it can be located via the Allied Special Forces Association website under Suppport Menu - Simon King/ Return to the Land.
He was an OK guy - learnt a lot from others and was on a budget of pennies. Things got a bit silly for him after the journey, but nothing detracts that he made it.
Good luck Marts,
I think you will be buying a horse when you get back!!!
Just let us know how it went post some pics.
If it takes a year before you can do it still go it will be worth the wait.
I really enjoyed reading this. It is my wifes dream when the children have left home to travel the uk by horse. :)
Swyn, Why do you not take the whole family on holiday in a Gpysy caravan, it would be fun,
I know of a few places which do this.
Thanks for the offer redflex. I would love to have some of your contact addresses for gypsy caravan trips. We have made all our plans for this year. There is always next year though. Part of our main holiday will take in the Wilderness Gathering in Wiltshire. Never been before but it sounds interesting. Cant get to the Merther Mawr B.C.U.K. summer moot. But had a great time at Braziers park, highly reccomended by my children! :D