Now is the time to start planning your horse camping adventure.
It takes some preparation but spending days and nights in the wild with your horse can be a bonding experience.
First, make a list of everything you MIGHT need while camping. It’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around.
Water is a huge consideration. You’ll need about 10 to 12 gallons per day per horse. Even if you are camping near water it’s important to bring some with you, too. Some horses won’t drink unfamiliar water but will gladly sip the usual stuff from home. It helps to bring their familiar buckets, too.
Check to see if the area you are entering requires certified weed free hay. This is required to keep weeds from being spread in pristine areas. Weed free hay is readily for sale on the internet. Your vet also might be able to suggest a supplier.
Bring fully stocked first aid kits for both you and your horse. I also bring along a probiotic to help keep the horse’s digestive tract working and a small block of salt to encourage water consumption.
You also will need extra “just in case” tack because you won’t be able to go to the local tack shop for a quick fix. Bring extra saddle pad, reins, girth, lead rope and the tools to do tack repairs. Both you and your horse will need an adequate supply of insect repellent. Don’t forget the grooming supplies and sponges as well as a set of hoof boots in case your mount throws a shoe. I take along fiber board and duct tape as a cheaper option to for a lost shoe.
You will need to set up a high line for tying your horse at night. There are kits available of you can make your own. Start with three-eights or half-inch diameter cotton rope. You will need 15 feet for two horses and five feet for every horse thereafter. Wrap the places you will be tying in a protective coating like a gunny sack to preserve the tree’s bark. Tie knots at appropriately placed spaces so the lead rope can’t slide in either direction. Tie the high line between two appropriately spaced trees at a height of at least five feet. Don’t tie the horse too close to the trees because pawing and chewing can damage or kill them.
Check the horse’s halter to make sure it is sturdy and tight enough the horse can’t pull its head out. Use soft cotton lead ropes. Tie the rope short enough to allow the horse to barley touch the ground with his nose. That’s here you will place his feed bucket.
Make sure all your knots are secure and can’t pull out. Keep a knife handy in case a horse gets tangled up and needs a quick rescue.
If you don’t want to high line, there are travel horse panels that can be set up as mini-corrals and some portable electric fences. Explore all the options before investing.
Of course, when traveling, you must always have your horse’s brand inspection, health certificate and proof of a negative Coggins test.
Once all the preparation is done, all that’s left is to enjoy nature with your horsey friends.