Traveling with your horse, a few good friends, and maybe a barn dog can be one of the most relaxing and freeing things to do in the world. You’ve got all you need in your truck and horse trailer to disappear into the outdoors for a few weeks at a time. The one thing that can ruin a trip for an endurance rider is to be unprepared. Don’t forget to pack the essentials for your next adventure.
Experienced travelers have a checklist and a system for packing for a long-distance trip. There are items that stay stored year-round and others that need to be replenished with every destination. Obvious needs like hay (pending state requirements), grain, and salt licks need to be refilled with each trip. They are things you never want to run out of when camping far from home. Items that should stay year-round like extra girths, bits, rains, blankets, and protective boots should always be available…just in case. You never know when you or a traveling companion will have a need. While these are great to keep, be sure you’re also taking proper care cleaning and oiling when necessary.
Lodging Your Horse
Choosing appropriate lodging for your horse while traveling can be a difficult task. You never really know what you’re getting until you get there. It’s always a good idea to do a quick check of the space before you turn your horse loose.
If you’ve reserved stall space, take a gauge of where the water hydrant and hoses are for easy refills. Make sure the stalls lock well or add an extra bungee or chain for additional security. Take a quick look for wasps or protruding metal and make sure electricity is available. You may need to hang a fan during the summer months or if your stall catches a lot of sun. Be sure to bring hay bags and additional straps for hanging buckets.
Some locations offer round pens or grass lots for long-term borders and horses that don’t do well in stalls. Be sure to check for shade trees or a lean-to with an adequate roof, like a bitumen roof, to offer shade and keep the elements out. It’s also a great idea to get an identification sign to hang on your pen or stall in case of emergency when you’re not around.
What’s in Your Saddlebag?
The most essential packing might take place in the saddlebag. Snacks, treats, sunscreen, and bug spray are all necessary items, but don’t forget the things that can really help out in an emergency. Always bring a roll of vet wrap, blood-stopping powder, and consider hydration tablets if you find yourself without water for long distances. It’s also smart to pack a compass, wire cutters, a multi-tool, and hoof pick. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll need them.
Traveling with your horse, whether trail or show, means traveling with precious cargo. Extra precautions are never a bad idea. Owners would do anything for their horses even if it means giving up a little packing space for themselves. It’s worth it!