There’s no denying the romance of taking your horse out into the wilderness. The practical implications make it a sound choice as well; having a horse allows you to explore further, stay out longer, and gives you the companionship of your equine friend. Whether you’re a City Slicker or Aragorn at horsing around in the wild, safety should be the first thing you think of when planning your outing. Without adequate preparation to keep you and your horse happy and healthy, the trip can be a disaster — or worse, harmful for both you and horse.
If you’re a beginner, start small. Don’t plan to go out for weeks on end. Take your horse out for a one night and make it a night with access to good roads, horse corrals or any other amenities that makes you feel safer, more comfortable, and in better control of your friend. Once you have an idea of what camping with your horse is like — the necessary supplies and the particulars of keeping your horse comfortable — you can increase the difficulty in your journeys. You can camp for longer periods of time or go off trail. Above all, don’t push yourself or your horse past the point you’ve prepared and feel ready for.
Consider the logistics of your camping locations. While it might be tempting to bring a snazzy pair of flip flops or sandals to the beach, you’ll still need sturdy riding boots. It might be warm where you are, but in the mountains, it gets cold — maybe even snowy. Bring whatever you need to keep both you and your horse comfortable in the climate you’ve chosen. If it’s hot, plan to bring water and electrolytes to keep your horse’s energy up.
The Right Trailer
Transporting your horse to the camping ground of your choice makes the right trailer a necessity. You want to make sure your horse is comfortable, secure and protected. Make sure to perform regular maintenance on both the trailer and the truck you’ll use to haul the trailer. If you’re not certain what all to check, use a safety checklist to be thorough. Like your first camp, your first trip in a trailer should be short to help your horse acclimate to the experience. Verify that your designated camping grounds have a good place to unhitch.
The more prepared you are, the better your chances of a successful camping trip. Plan ahead. Make lists of items you’ll need to pack. Scout out camping locations in advance. Take your horse on some quick trips in the trailer to get them acclimated. See how well your horse does corralled or tied with other horses. Make sure their shots and paperwork are up to date and ready to travel with you.
Put together an emergency plan, just in case. Preparedness is every bit as important as skill, and it will help your camping trip be a fun, easy outing for you and your horse to enjoy.