Tag Archives: Horse packing

Packhorse equipment to hire in the UK

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While preparing for our six-week ride along the Colorado Trail, I did a lot of investigation into the best packhorse equipment to use. After reading many, many recommendations from those who should know on the Long Riders Guild site, which is an incredible compendium of knowledge on the very specialist subject of ultra-long-distance riding, we opted to buy almost all of our kit from Custom Packrigging in Canada and have it shipped to a friend in the US. (On the way home, we taped the packs up and used them as suitcases.)

Kelly at Custom Packrigging was extremely helpful, and advised me on the best combination of items to fit three as-yet-unseen horses (who turned out to be very different in size and shape), and we were very delighted with how it all worked out. We had some issues with the Western riding saddles the horses came with, but none at all with the packsaddle, which I fully endorse.

It’s very difficult to procure packhorse equipment in Britain, so I don’t want to sell it – but I would be willing to rent it out to anyone planning a long distance journey who doesn’t want to pay for new equipment outright, plus the extortionate shipping costs that would incur.

If you’d be interested, drop me an email at cal [at] calflyn [dot] com, and we can discuss the details. Location depending, I could also help you tack up the first time. I have some tips on packhorse use here.

Available packhorse equipment is as follows:  Continue reading

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Thru-riding the Colorado Trail: Week One

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I spent the summer of 2017 riding 500 miles through the Rocky Mountains with my partner Rich and three horses called Pinto, Pepper and Numero. I’ve posted logistical information about the trip online for anyone with an interest in the journey or backcountry horsemanship more generally. All previous entries on this subject can be found here.

Just before my partner Rich and I set off on our 500-mile adventure, a problem with transport left us scrabbling to find a new arrangement at short notice. We were overwhelmed by how the trail community rallied round to find us a friendly local with a horsebox (especially Bill Manning, chief executive of the Colorado Trail Foundation, who made a lot of calls on our behalf). In the end, we received two offers of help – from Richard Johnson, an excellent horseman who came to pick all five of us (two nervous people, three unknown horses) up the following morning and dropped us at the trailhead, and from Pam Doverspike, a true trail angel who we would finally meet a month later at Spring Creek Pass. (Hikers call this ‘trail magic’. this generosity from strangers one meets along the way.)

Both were proven CT experts, Richard having thru-ridden the trail twice and Pam, a trail sponsor, having also completed the trail (on horseback) in sections multiple times. They passed on a huge amount of hard-won advice, which was much appreciated – setting off for a six-week expedition, unsupported, was a daunting prospect for both myself and Rich. I’d love to pay that favour forward, so have typed up extracts from the diary I kept throughout our journey in case it might assist anyone planning the same or a similar long-distance journey by horse. Entries from our first week on the trail can be found below. It was our wettest and perhaps our most challenging week, as we grappled with the basics of backcountry horsemanship and life in the outdoors.
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Pack horses and box hitches: a how to

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I spent the summer of 2017 riding 500 miles through the Rocky Mountains with my partner Rich and three horses called Pinto, Pepper and Numero. I’ve been posting information about the trip online, as well as my trail diary, for anyone with an interest in the journey or backcountry horsemanship more generally. All previous entries on this subject can be found here.

I was warned before we set off that the majority of long distance journeys by horse fail due to problems with the pack horse. Certainly it’s true that this is an aspect of horsemanship that is rarely explored and mastered, at least in the UK, and I found  relatively little information about it readily accessible. So here is a brief explainer for anyone who might be interested.

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