10. February 2013 · Comments Off on “Thirty Years of Stock Packing Mistakes” · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

 (Rob) I found this very interesting essay on packing and back country camping on the “Greenway Seed & Industry” web site.

“Thirty Years of Stock Packing Mistakes”

I’ve made lots of mistakes in over 30 years of horse packing! I hope that by outlining those mistakes you might be saved a lot of distress. One can cuss the horses or mules, but in 99% of all cases it always boils down to human error, either errors in choosing the wrong equipment, or errors in judgement about your stock, pecking order on the trail, choice of knots, choice of tightening cinches, etc. All right, let’s get on with the rat killin’!

CHOICE OF STOCK

I’ve ridden both horses and mules, and I can honestly say that once one has ridden a mule in the hills you will never again ride a horse! Mules, because of evolutionary pressure on one parent, the wild burro, have become more cautious over the eons. Mules are smarter than a horse. They are more careful! Mules don’t walk off the trail. They don’t cut their legs and fetlocks as much as a horse. When a pack slips under their belly they don’t explode and keep bucking until they rid their entire load 120 feet down to the bottom of Big Creek (I’ve been there). On that particular trip all our toilet paper got wet from just such the aforementioned incident. By the end of that hunting trip we became expert botanists. We learned just the right leaves that substituted well for toilet tissue.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had excellent horses on hunting trips as well. Horses usually never ride as smoothly as a mule, but a good mule is more expensive than a horse, so be careful when you buy a trail horse or mule. Don’t make the MISTAKE I made when we first bought our horses. We went to the horse auctions, and over a 30 day period, had purchased four head of horses. Two of them turned out, two of them didn’t. The two who did not turn out had names; but we soon changed their names to “Dink” and “Dummy”. Well I was the “dummy” for being naïve when buying these two at auction. We looked over the horses ahead of time before bidding began. Pretty smart, huh? Well, now I know that many horse traders will “ace” the horses 1 ½ hours ahead of time, and one can crawl under the belly, lift up their feet, look in their mouth, shake a plastic bag at them and come to the conclusion that this must be a gentle horse, perfect for trail riding. Dumb, dumb, dumb! After a good shot of “ace” the wildest, bronkiest mustang, green off the B.L.M. will just plain be in “lala land”. Man, when we took “Dink” and “Dummy” home the ace wore off and, like someone once said, “Are you ready to Rodeo?”

Two of the four horses we bought turned out, but if I had it to do over again I would scan the paper and visit the prospective horses unannounced two or three times before making a purchase. I would also ask the seller if I could do a vet check on the horse. If the seller hem haws – run as fast as you can! I never understood elk hunters/horse packers who always said, “well, I take a green colt on every trip, and by the time we get back he’s pretty well broke.” Let me till you something-life is too short for that non-sense. Bronk busters like this suffer from “cranial-rectal inversion”!

 Read the rest.

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