08. March 2020 · Comments Off on Solar Power for your Horse Trailer · Categories: Around The Campfire, Education, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

READ the Whole Story: solar power for your trailer

18. July 2019 · Comments Off on Scoot Boot · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Visit Web Site 


Fitting Video

Evaluation after 1 1/2 years

04. July 2019 · Comments Off on GPSMAP® 66i – GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Part Number 010-02088-01 Available at REI

27. November 2018 · Comments Off on Hands On Grooming Gloves · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Love them! We discovered HandsOn Grooming Gloves in the winter of 2016 and have been using them continuously ever since. Learn more about HandsOn Grooming Gloves and get yours at https://handsongloves.com/

Being flexible the HandsOn glove make scrubbing difficult areas such as joints and ears easy and enjoyable.
The Gloves come in various sizes to fit hands on any size. If you have smaller hands, now you don’t have to worry about trying to grip awkward large grooming tools.

The curry combs, mitts, and scrubbers in your grooming kit may well start gathering dust once you try a pair of HandsOn Grooming gloves.

18. September 2018 · Comments Off on Tips from TrailMeister · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Cleaning your saddle pad

Cleaning your saddle pad

Saddle pads get dirty, really dirty, really quickly.  Sweat and dirt happen when we ride and it’s up to us to stay on top of the filth lest our mounts suffer. It’s time to clean our saddle pad.

I’m not about to say that I wash my pads after every ride. What I do is let them dry between rides (I have three pads that I alternate using) and prior to the following use I gently brush them in a circlular motion, with a rubber curry to break up any dried grime and sweat chunks.

But, by the end of summer those pads have seen a lot of trail miles pass under them and it’s time for a more thorough cleaning to remove the more stubborn deposits.

My fabulous first idea was to put the pads in the washing machine. My much better half said that wasn’t going to happen and that I should find a better alternative. Being too lazy to visit the local laundry mat I opted for a fence gate and a hose.

I use Skito saddle pads that have laminated foam shims inside a fleece pocket, so my cleaning process may be slightly more involved.

1 – Remove the foam inserts and let them soak in a bucket of cool water. I don’t use any detergent because it’s next to impossible to get out. Any soap residue that remains will irritate my animals and that’s a bad thing. Scientists consider water to be the universal solvent because it’s capable of dissolving more substances than anything else (barring oils which I don’t generally find inside my saddle pad). I use this property to my benefit and simply repeatedly squeezing the foams to slowly work any accumulated salts out of material. Dump and refill the bucket with fresh water as often as you can. I’ve been known to put a small amount of vinegar in the water to help kill any lingering beasties.

2 – With the saddle pad securely supported, it’s going to be heavy, use a garden use to spray the saddle pad from the inside out. I want to force the grime out of the material not push it further into the fibers. I also try to work from the middle outward, again always trying to push the dirt away from the pad. I’ve found that once the pad is completely saturated with water that rubbing the material with my fingers is easier on the fabric and works better than brushing with curry combs. This phase takes a while and yes, you will be cold and wet, but keep up the good work until the water runs clear.

3 – Once the pads and the foams cease releasing dirt into your clean water it’s time to dry. Help the pads keep their shape by hanging them over a saddle rack, out of the sun and away from direct heat. Leaving the pad hanging over the gate will cause it to stretch and lose its contoured shape. Direct heat or sun can cause the materials to shrink. Yes, drying this way is slow and takes a while. That’s why we have spare saddle pads.

I wish that I could say that these three steps to a clean saddle pad are a great secret that I discovered. Unfortunately, equipment cleaning is just another part of riding horses and mules. What I have discovered is that by ensuring that when this vital piece of equine tack stays in good working condition it makes for a better ride by continuing to provide the support, protection, and comfort that my animals deserve.

How often do you clean your saddle pads?

For more TrailMeister trail riding tips and thoughts visit www.TrailMeister.com

Keeping Paradise Possible

Keeping Paradise Possible – By Robert Eversole – North East Chapter, BCHW

Paradise. For some that’s an image of a tropical beach, for me it’s a dirt trail that twists and meanders to a backcountry camp deep in the wilderness. It’s a quiet solitude punctuated by the peaceful clip clop of hooves and the far scream of an eagle aloft. It’s the sweet perfume of pine on a warm summer day. It’s the
companionship of a trusted horse who will faithfully take you home.

Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases paradise has padlocks.

In only a few short generations we’ve “improved” a lot of backcountry and rural areas into suburbia and shopping malls. Trail Closed signs are both dreaded and unfortunately frequently encountered. Least we lose them, we’d better take care of the equine friendly country that remains.  Paradise needs protecting.

You don’t have to be a trail rider, or even have your own horse, to recognize the importance of conserving horse trails. There are many things that each of us can do to preserve equine trails. Unfortunately, often it’s sometimes hard to explain why groups like ours are important. Here are some of the reasons to join that I talk about during my expo clinics.

Horse clubs are focal points for both social events and trail stewardship efforts. For me the biggest reason to join an equestrian club is for the comradery of people who have the same interests. Being able to talk about trail conditions, feed, training, etc. is priceless.

Don’t have a local Back Country Horsemen group nearby, or don’t care for the one that is? Start a new one. These organizations are always looking for new members and new chapters. A quick google search will put you in touch with someone who can help.

Here are four reasons to join a, or start, a horse club. And quotes from those who have.

  • You’ll meet like-minded people and make new friends

“Share activities with like-minded people both socially and out on the trails.”

“The diversity of a club’s membership allows members to ride and camp with others who have similar aspirations and at a whole range of experiences. It makes it easy to find people to ride with when their regular partner is unable to get away.”

“There’s a large group of us who don’t just go out on club rides, we’ll meet up on other weekends too – it’s great to have lots of different people to go riding with.”

“Looking for love?  I know lots of couples who met through horses!”

  • You’ll see new places and do new things

“You can expand the scope of your own activities by taking part in those organized by more experienced members”

“A lot of clubs have a range of social events which complements the riding scene”

“If you want to go to a new trail area there’s bound to be someone in the club who has already been and willing to give you info on the place”

  • You’ll learn new skills

“Many clubs offer training opportunities, however chaotic or informal, and there are always more experienced members around to provide guidance and help.”

“Practical peer-to-peer coaching so that we all learn together”

“Knowledge transfer from more experienced members, a bit like an apprenticeship”

“As a new member I doubt that I’d have made the steps to ride outside the arena without the support of the club”

  • It’s fun!

“It’s more fun spending your day out with others.  And they can get great photos of you and your partner on rides too.”

There are more benefits than just being a member of a club. There are new friends to be made, information to learn and most of all the comradery of people who get what it means to love horses and trail riding.

We live during a time when equine trail use is being curtailed. Most Americans live in urban settings, removed from our version of paradise. Most of them don’t understand the importance of conservation, outdoor recreation, and the protection of trails.

Please, don’t wait until you’re faced with a crisis before you get involved. Volunteer with trail projects, join a club that will help protect your trail access, and educate yourself and others on best practices.

02. October 2017 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of Oregon Sawyer Certification Program · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Training Events

BCHO Sawyer Web page

Saw Certification Program Documents

USFS Manuals and Other Information

Work Party Documents

  • Tailgate Safety Briefing – Cover Sheet – MS Word or PDF
  • Tailgate Safety Checklist – Work Party Leader – MS Word or PDF
  • Tailgate Safety Briefing – Work Party Members – MS Word or PDF

Safety Information

Instruction Videos

02. October 2017 · Comments Off on Sawyer Information & Video’s · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits, Training Events

PPE: Do Not Pick Up a Saw without it!

How to Properly Operate and Maintain Your Chainsaw (STIHL USA)

Danger! Chain Saw Safety – Training Video

Chainsaw Chaps – Why wear them?

520-120 / 410-120 Chain Grinder Operating Instructions

Sharping you saw chains with a power grinder

Chainsaw How To – Notch and Hinge Techniques

Time to refresh your Saw Skills

BC Sawyer Training Video’s

BC Sawyer Training #1        BC Sawyer Training #2        BC Sawyer Training #3        BC Sawyer Training #4

BC Sawyer Training #5        BC Sawyer Training #6         BC Sawyer Training #7       BC Sawyer Training #8

03. February 2017 · Comments Off on SPOT & InReach · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

SPOT offers peace of mind by allowing you to track your assets, notify friends and family of your GPS position and status, mark waypoints, track your progress on Google Maps™ or notify rescue officials in an emergency.

The SPOT product family offers peace of mind beyond the boundaries of cellular. Whether you want to check in, make calls or monitor your prized possessions, SPOT uses 100% satellite technology to keep you connected to the people and things that matters most, all while using the world’s most modern satellite network.

Who Needs SPOT?
Anyone who travels by land, sea and air! Since its launch, SPOT’s satellite technology has provided peace of mind by helping initiate more than 4,000 rescues and counting and providing GPS tracking services. Over the past five years, recreational outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, government agency employees, National Geographic explorers and photographers, and researchers are just some of the people that have benefited from using SPOT.

Garmin products that include inReach technology can empower you to stay connected, even when you’re venturing off the grid. All inReach solutions offer you these essential capabilities:
100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage enables 2-way text messaging to any cell phone number or email address from anywhere in the world
Interactive SOS with the ability to communicate back and forth with the 24/7 global monitoring center
GPS location sharing, tracking, device pinging and access to your own personalized MapShare webpage to invite others to follow your journey
Convenient cloud-based device management portal with unlimited trip data storage, route and waypoint planning tools and account customization options
The included Earthmate® app lets you pair your inReach-enabled device with smartphones and tablets for ultra-convenient messaging and map viewing

17. January 2017 · Comments Off on LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES · Categories: Around The Campfire, Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Camping with horses & mules
Marybeth Conger, BACK COUNTRY HORSEMAN OF IDAHO Education Chair


It is important to remember that LNT principles are guidelines, not rules. Consider your surroundings, local regulations, weather concerns, and your skill level when choosing the best way to Leave No Trace. Anything we do is better the nothing. Read More:BCHI LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES ARTICLE
Please share this information with others!

02. November 2016 · Comments Off on Trail Head Blog – The Manty · Categories: Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


The Manty
Posted by Sydney Paine on October 26, 2016

What is a manty?  Well to start with depending who’s book you read or what seminar you went to maybe even the last pack clinic you attended the spelling is probably different. (manty, mantie, manty tarp, etc)  The spelling of the word isn’t the only thing that changes, the size changes as well, along with the country or origin.  Those of you who run sawbucks like 7’ x 7’ manties, the guys that run decker pack saddles run 7’ x 8’ manties and there are still a handful living in the dream world looking for the almost no existent 8’ x 8’.  Why the difference?  Sawbuck guys like that seven foot square canvas for a rain fly. They can throw that perfect canvas square right over their saddle and it covers both sides.  Decker folks like, and need, that extra foot of canvas to wrap everything up and hold everything in place while they sling it onto the side of the pack saddle and head down that long and winding trail. READ MORE

03. July 2016 · Comments Off on Salmon-Challis Nation Forest Trail Status Report · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Trail discription

12. June 2016 · Comments Off on 2016 Pack Clinic · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

A mini stock safety and pack clinic was held by Squaw Butte on Sunday, June 12, 2016.  Members of the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, Idaho Trail Alliance, and Idaho Centennial Trails Association as well as members of Squaw Butte participated.  We covered working safely around stock, Saddle fit and basic packing equipment as well as basket and barrel hitches.  All had a good time and enjoyed the informal hands on nature of the training.P1050391P1050390P1050393P1050401P105040720160612_134308

References Clinic Handouts  Stock use & LNT   Training Videos

15. April 2016 · Comments Off on Saturday April 23, 2016 BCHI Trailer Rodeo · Categories: Current Events, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Trailer Rodeo Learn More

04. November 2015 · Comments Off on Nov – Northwest Horse Source · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

NWDec Read Online November Issue

Read online October Issue

16. September 2015 · Comments Off on Chain Saw Journal · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

ChainSawxxIf you’re using a chainsaw and you don’t wear chainsaw chaps every time you fire up your saw then I have to say that you’re a fool. Yes, you read that correctly. Far too many homeowners underestimate the risks of using a chainsaw and as a result, they put their life in danger. I’m not going to show you any pictures in this article, but believe me, the injuries that occur from chainsaw accidents are hideous.

Lucky for you there are many quality chainsaw chaps to choose from and I’m going to show you some excellent options that I hope you will consider for your own health and peace of mind.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website states that “Each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chainsaws.” Please, be proactive and wear the proper safety gear. Here are additional pieces of chainsaw safety gear that will prove their weight in gold over time: Read More

10. September 2015 · Comments Off on 50 Back Country Survival Tips & Tricks · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


03. June 2015 · Comments Off on Experienced Pack – Riding horse · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Now at his new home with Bill & Marybeth Conger



(aka King aka Acorn)

His name is König (pronounced Kurnig and means King in German) – my grandson can’t pronounce it so calls him Acorn.

8.5 year old quarter horse mustang gelding (born October 2006)

Approx 14.2 hands – 800-900lbs

He has awesome mustang feet and has been all over rough country barefoot. I do put shoes on him if I am going to be doing a lot of road riding or riding on the Weiser River Trail. Most of the time, he is unshod.

König was literally born on the trial. He was part of a string whose original owner traveled from Wyoming to Idaho and into Oregon on horseback. König has carried a pack most of his life.

He travels calmly through forest, desert and on busy downtown streets.

He rides nice as well. While he is not a bridle horse (arena type work) he handles nicely and carries himself very well. He has never had a bit in his mouth so I use a hackamore. The first time he was ridden we jumped on bareback with a halter and rode all over the Eagle Caps.

On a pack trip into the White Clouds, an unfortunate turn of events left us short a riding horse. We swapped König’s pack saddle for a riding saddle and a very inexperienced rider rode him throughout the remainder of the pack trip. I’ve used him as a backup horse when my regular riding horse has been laid up.

While he excels as a pack horse, I think he would make a fun kids horse and an awesome trail horse for somebody. He would not make a great arena horse without work in the bridle – although he has a decent stop and is responsive to basic leg cues when riding down the trail. His trot is a little rough for me – but I am use to a big, thoroughbred type gate. His lope is very nice and he can out-walk anything I have. Even though he has been ponied a lot, he has no issues taking the lead when I’m riding him.

He ponies like a dream. You never know he’s back there and is extremely pack aware.

He loads, trims, shoes, hobbles, high-lines, ties, etc..etc. No bad habits that I have seen, ever. When I first got him he was picketed most of his life, so he ties very well (does not pull back and is patient) He’s been on pasture since I’ve had him the last 3 years and is usually easy to catch. I often have to catch him first in order to catch my hard to catch horse.

When I am not using him, I pony him to keep him in shape and his feet solid for packing season.

I am not packing as much as I used to and won’t be using him enough to keep him. He is too nice a boy to turn out on pasture.


07. December 2014 · Comments Off on Volunteers are making a difference in our back country · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Back Country Horsemen of America Invites New Generations to Join Them

by Sarah Wynne Jackson

The tradition of traveling long distance through wild lands by horseback is older than our country itself. Back Country Horsemen of America cherishes that heritage and protects our right to carry on that legacy. The participation of younger folks who hold the same passion ensures that the tradition will thrive long into our country’s future. Back Country Horsemen of America has always put a priority on younger folks, and the Flathead Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Montana took that idea and ran with it.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

For a number of years, the Flathead Chapter has sought to attract and retain younger generations of members. The general membership, with an average age of about 55, held a wealth of hard-earned knowledge, experience, and know-how, but very few younger folks to pass it on to. Recognizing the value of maintaining the tradition of traveling through America’s landscape with saddle and pack stock, and all the skills that go along with that adventure, the Flathead Chapter started reaching out to youth and younger adults.

Life Skills

Five years ago, chapter members Andy Breland and Chuck Allen started an annual packing clinic for the vocational-agricultural students of the Kalispell Public Schools. They learn about the basics of arranging a load on a pack horse or mule, how to manty (wrap a load in canvas), how to fit a pack saddle, different ways to tie on a load, gen¬eral horse handling safety, and Leave No Trace basics.

Typically, between 30 and 35 students participate in this outstanding program each year. Past students have carried their newfound proficiency into their chosen careers, such as work with the US Forest Service; membership in a hotshot crew of elite firefighters specially trained in wildfire suppression; treating animals as a veterinary technician; and as wranglers for a back country outfitter.

Girl Power

For the past six years, Andy and Chuck have been teaching for Be¬coming an Outdoor Woman, created by the University of Wisconsin with workshops taking place in most states. This non-profit, educational program offers hands-on workshops to women 18 and older in outdoor recreation such as hunting, fishing, archery, rifle shooting, and camping. Approximately 30 women participate in Andy’s and Chuck’s packing clinic, Leave No Trace workshop, and outdoor cooking segment.

In Demand

The Flathead Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Montana also started a program with the local 4-H group. Back Country Horseman Alden Tot¬ten became a certified 4-H leader so he could conduct a packing clinic at the Flathead Valley 4-H camp. Fifteen young 4-Hers were excited to learn about packing and the work BCHA does for the US Forest Service.

With those popular programs in place, word got around. The nearby Family Life Church asked chapter member Rick A. Mathies to give a packing dem-onstration at their first Kids Camp. Children learned about lots of activities including horseback riding, horse training, camping, swim¬ming, and packing. Rick showed about 15 kids how to fit a pack saddle, how to manty, and how to tie on a load. Then each child mantied up a bar of soap with a miniature manty and string, a take-home memento of their experience.

Creating Lasting Relationships

These successful ventures brought in new members eager to learn even more about traveling through our wild lands by horseback. Veteran members invited the fresh folks to go with them on projects, sharing their knowledge one on one and building their confidence for their first packing trips.

The chapter also planned fun activities to help establish ties between the various generations. They kicked off the new year with a chapter bonfire party, then organized the annual Meadow Creek trail clearing and cleanup, which includes a campout. Members’ families, including kids and grandkids, were welcomed and put to work on appropriate tasks.

When the US Forest Service Swan Lake Ranger District need¬ed help returning Owl Creek Trailhead and Packer Camp to its original purpose as a packers’ trailhead, the Flathead Chapter used the opportunity as packing training for new members. Most of the 55 members who participated had joined the chapter recently. For many, this was their first packing trip.

Fostering a Love for the Back Country

Back Country Horsemen of America encourages members and all horsemen to find ways to introduce youth and young adults to the back country. When we build the public’s awareness and understanding of our wilderness areas, and help them to experience what got us hooked on enjoying the landscape by horseback, they also will see the need to protect our wilderness lands and keep trails open for horse use. As this generation passes, the next one will take the reins and preserve our right to ride horses on public lands for the generation that comes after them.

About Back Country Horsemen of America

BCHA is a non-profit corporation made up of state organizations, affiliates, and at-large members. Their efforts have brought about positive changes regarding the use of horses and stock in wilderness and public lands.

If you want to know more about Back Country Horsemen of America or become a member, visit their website: www.backcountryhorse.com; call 888-893-5161; or write PO Box 1367, Graham, WA 98338-1367. The future of horse use on public lands is in our hands!

31. July 2014 · Comments Off on DON’T TOSS OUT THAT BABY WIPE, IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE! · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Link to Laurie Bryan’s blog

I feel it safe to say that most of the really cool discoveries happen quite by accident. One such discovery presented itself during a four day pack trip into the Eagle Caps.

One of the items I like to carry in my saddlebags is a packet of baby wipes. They come in handy for washing up before lunch on the trail or as a bedtime sponge bath when you can’t quite make yourself jump in that cold mountain stream for a much needed bath.

The problem I’ve found with baby wipes is they dry out between trips. You might use a dozen or so out of a pack and the rest dry up like a popcorn fart, wasting product and money. Not anymore…  Read More!

01. July 2014 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of America Expands Their Reach to Benefit Equestrians Across the US · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Read June Press Release

01. May 2014 · Comments Off on Alone in the Wilderness · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Part 1 // Part 2  //  Cabin P1 // Cabin P2

“Alone in the Wilderness” is the story of Dick Proenneke living in the Alaska wilderness. Dick filmed his adventures so he could show his relatives in the lower 48 states what life was like in Alaska, building his cabin, hunting for food and exploring the area. Bob Swerer has taken the best footage from Dick’s films and he has created 3 videos about Dick, “Alone in the Wilderness”, “Alaska, Silence and Solitude” and “The Frozen North”. You can purchase all of them in DVD or VHS format from the www.DickProenneke.com website.

13. December 2013 · Comments Off on 41 camping hacks. Some of these are ingenious. Check it out.. · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits · Tags: , ,


Start preparing now for next seasons camp! Check out this website for some pretty cool camping tips and tricks. From how to make your own lantern out of mountain dew to converting a coffee can into the perfect container for protecting that all important roll of toilet paper.


18. November 2013 · Comments Off on BCHA in the news – Getting the job done · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Partnering with the Bass Lake Ranger District, the Sierra Freepackers Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of California repaired a section of the Spring Cove Trail at Bass Lake in the Sierra National Forest. Their goal was to bring it up to acceptable standards by widening the trail, which required blasting out some rock that made the trail unsafe for horses. pionjar2

The Sierra Freepackers used mules to pack in a variety of equipment needed for the project including a specialized pionjar drill, Boulder Busters, and hand tools. The pionjar is a versatile gas powered tool used to drill holes in the rock.

Read more about this project and others.

24. October 2013 · Comments Off on Idaho’s first horses · Categories: Around The Campfire, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


by  Kimberly Williams- Brackett

I was taught in school that the Spanish introduced horses to the Americas. But while the Spanish did bring them, plenty of horses were here before the Spanish arrived.

“The Spanish did indeed introduce the modern horse to the Americas, although one could argue that it was a re-introduction,” said Laura Walkup, a ranger at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument and the Minidoka National Historic Site.

The Hagerman Horse remains mark the largest sample of this extinct species found in one area. Although remains of the same species have been found in several states, they’re all much younger. Hagerman’s is the oldest.

The first appearance of the modern genus Equus — which includes modern horses, donkeys, zebras, etc. — was Equus simplicidens, also known as the Hagerman Horse, Walkup said.

hh02“Horses originally evolved in North America, and specimens of Equus simplicidens as well as many earlier horse ancestors have been found throughout the continent,” she said. “The first specimen of the Hagerman Horse ever described by paleontologists was not found in Idaho; it was found and named in Texas by paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1892. However, the most complete specimens ever found were found here in Hagerman — hence the nickname ‘Hagerman Horse.’   Read more

20. October 2013 · Comments Off on 4H – Scary trail ride – Gem country fair ground · Categories: Current Events, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


On Saturday October 19, 2013 Squaw Butte members assisted the Gem & Boise Country’s 4-H horse programs in hosting a fun trail course with a Halloween theme at the Gem Country Fair ground. The participants were to come in costume as did a number of the adults. The trail course was set up on the track and had step overs, bridges, flags, gates, simulated water hazard and a camp site the riders had to negotiate. BCHI member worked with the riders to ensure that they had fun and were safe.
The goal of Squaw Butte and the 4-H leadership is to forge a strong relationship, that results in a couple of events each year with the goal of an annual horse camping trip, and a new generation of back country trail riders. Click here from more information on the IMG_2531event.


Mary Beth Conger | Gail Duke | Phil Ryan | Kay Ryan | Janine Townsend | Hilary Haskins

17. September 2013 · Comments Off on 2013 National Trails Day Report · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Read Report



31. August 2013 · Comments Off on Squaw Butte’s new Saws · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


STIHL MS 291 Manual


STIHL MS 391 Manual

The members of the Squaw Butte Chapter want to thank Robbin Schindele for doing “all the work” putting together a grant proposal and working with Jill Murphey, of Idaho Parks and Rec shepherding the proposal through to a successful outcome. We would also like to thank the BLM and the BNF & PNF ranger districts that provided letters of support.

IDPR Grant applcation final

30. July 2013 · Comments Off on Back Country Horsemen of America’s 2012 Volunteer Value is the Highest in its History · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


By Sarah Wynne Jackson

As the leader in protecting our right to ride horses on public lands, Back Country Horsemen of America is proud of their record of service. For 40 years, they have volunteered their time, skill, and resources towards keeping trails open to horse use and promoting responsible recreation in a myriad of ways.

BCHA commends its members across the nation who continue to make public service a priority, despite economic and weather-related difficulties. In fact, 2012 was their best year yet, with a total of $12,515,563 in annual volunteer value donated; the highest in the history of the organization.

Is There Anything They Don’t Do?

What can twelve-and-a-half million dollars of sweat, skill, and time do? We’re glad you asked! As they have every year since 1973, BCHA’s now 13,000 members from over 185 chapters and affiliates in 26 states spent the last year clearing trails of deadfall after storms, repairing gates and fences, building bridges, hauling gravel to fill washouts, and creating new trails.

Read More

30. July 2013 · Comments Off on BLM Posters · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Down Load this Posters



10. July 2013 · Comments Off on TrailMeister and RMR are available Online · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Read On-Line Issues

RMR  Aug 2013

Trailmeister Aug 2013

13. June 2013 · Comments Off on My Nevada Gambler, but he goes by “Kiger” · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


His name is Gambler”. Actually it’s My Nevada Gambler, but he goes by Kiger.  He’s full mustang and 1/2 Kiger mustang. he’s 5 years old, is about 14.3 hands and may grow another inch and a half. He’s got the most calm disposition you can imagine. He seems to be unflappable.

There was great big tree blocking the trail we were on. So he sauntered right up to it, asked if I wanted him to go over it or under it, and when I didn’t reply he started eating the moss off it. That was the first time he had been to the river; he walked right into it, got a drink, and splashed around. On the way there we went through copious amounts of sticky, thick, clay mud on the trail; no lunging or lurching or trying to avoid it—just plowed right through it.

On Sunday, June 16 Janine and Kiger did his first Squaw Butte Trail ride.  They did a loop from the Yellow Jacket trail head.  Up the Telephone ridge trail, then onto the Rice Peak Trail, about 18 miles total.  Along the way he encountered mud, step overs, creek crossings, steep climbs and descents, and a football size snow field that if it had been a ski run would have been rated “Blue”.  This little horse is all heart and can do, not missing a beat, whatever came along.  If another horse did it, so did he!

What a guy!  Visit “Horse Springs Kiger Ranch

Oregon has arguably the most prized wild horses available on public lands featuring the Kiger mustangs. Oregon’s wild horses are known for their quality and color and are popular with adopters throughout the United States. The Spanish Mustang was a part of early American history, having roots in Native American history, and is the horse that helped settle the west. At one time it was thought to be extinct on the range. Since the Kiger Mustangs may well be one of the best remaining examples of the Spanish Mustang, their preservation is extremely important. Kiger Mustangs have the physical conformation of both the tarpan and oriental hotblood horses from which the original Spanish Mustangs came. They have small, round bones, small feet and very little feather on their legs and fetlocks. Their eyes are wide set and prominent. These animals also have distinctly hooked ear tips and fine muzzles. The Kiger Mustangs also look very much like the modern day Spanish Sorraias. They are indeed a unique breed of wild horse.


Janine with her trail companion “Kiger”, notice the zebra strips on the legs, typical of Kigers.

10. May 2013 · Comments Off on New Full-color Backpack Guide Details Idaho Range Plants · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits



EMMETT • If you’ve hiked in Idaho’s rangelands or forests and wondered what grasses, plants or forbs you saw along the way, a new full-color “Backpack Guide to Idaho Range Plants” might provide the answers.

The 170-page, spiral-bound guide includes information from previous editions of a guide to “Idaho Range Plants,” but it’s the first edition to be printed in color. That makes a big difference when you’re trying to identify flowering plants.

The book provides a detailed guide to identifying 69 plant species frequently seen throughout the state.

Produced by the University of Idaho Rangeland Center and the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission, the seventh edition was a collaborative project involving UI students, faculty, alumni and friends of the UI Rangeland Center. Proceeds from the book will go to the UI Rangeland Center student internship program.

The $15 guide is available on the IRRC website: http://idrange.org/store/books/backpack-guide-to-idaho-range-plants. Since the book was released earlier this year, 700 copies have been sold.

“We’re very excited that the book has been so well received,” Gretchen Hyde, executive director of IRRC, said in a press release. “Whether you are an outdoor recreationist, educator, rangeland professional, rancher or curious (about) the wide array of plants found in Idaho’s diverse landscapes, this guide is a great resource to add to your day pack, backpack, vehicle or reference library.“

It provides a guide to the plant community eco-regions in Idaho, detailed drawings of how to differentiate between forbs, shrubs, grasses, sedges and rushes, and the basics on how to identify grasses, forbs, leaves and shrubs.

Information: Hyde, 208-398-7002 or ghyde@idrange.org, or Lovina Roselle at the UI Rangeland Center, 208-885-6536 or lovina@uidaho.edu.


07. April 2013 · Comments Off on Some Thoughts on the Hackamore · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits



There are many different ideas floating around the country about the hackamore and how it is to be used. Its very makeup seems to be a mystery to many and its function even more elusive. How such a simple concept became so complex is beyond many dyed in the wool traditionalists but, be that as it may, some information about the hackamore is outlined here.

The snaffle bit came into play late in the game, in vaquero terms – showing up en mass when the British came onto the scene. Until then, the hackamore ushered most new mounts onto the payroll. It is no mystery to most that horses were started later in life in our not so distant past. Genetics, feed and the rigors of ranch life deemed it so. “Older blooded” horses were colder blooded horses – maturing later both mentally and physically. Feed, at least in many arid regions, fluctuated with the seasons and sparse times, along with long outside winters, held growth in check for many colts. It was not uncommon then for horses to grow substantially, well after their fifth or sixth year on earth.

What seems to stump most folks is the reasoning behind schooling the horse with the absence of a bit. Since the use of a bit is the end result down the road and since the horse has, in most modern day cases, already accepted the snaffle bit in its mouth, why then would we “change up” in mid stream and go to the hackamore? The most basic answers can be found straight from the horse’s mouth.  Read More

22. March 2013 · Comments Off on Vaccination & Deworming · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits



Click here for a suggested schedule

22. March 2013 · Comments Off on Noxious Weeds in Idaho · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


ISDA is responsible for administration of the State Noxious Weed Law. The State Weed Coordinator and the other program staff provide support, training, and organizational assistance to the counties and Cooperative Weed Management Areas throughout the state.

A Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) is a distinguishable hydrologic, vegetative, or geographic zone based upon geography, weed infestations, climatic or human-use patterns.  CWMAs are formed when the landowners and land managers of a given area come together and agree to work cooperatively to control weeds.

Idaho has over 30 CWMA’s covering 87 percent of the state. These CWMA’s participate in the ISDA cost-share program, which assist the local agencies in the fight against noxious weeds.

Staff also represents the director and the department on the Idaho Weed Coordinating Committee and various other weed-related task forces, associations, and committees.

For more information on the program, please review the Noxious Weed Program Overview.

Idaho’s 64 Noxious Weeds

Don’t Pack a Pest

22. March 2013 · Comments Off on Pasture Management for Small Farms & Ranches · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


The University of Idaho has published a very informative paper on stock and small farms and ranches.

10. March 2013 · Comments Off on Stethoscope and How To Use It · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Read More   Watch Video

15. February 2013 · Comments Off on Say that again? BCHU · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

 Back Country Horsemen of Utah

Say that again…
With all the public land available for Utah’s horsemen to ride, we often have a
difficult time realizing the threat of restrictions and regulations is real.  However,
not every citizen in the United States shares our view of Wilderness. Viewpoints
of “city” people often are so foreign to our way of thinking we’d never consider

To illustrate the increasing number of urbanites checking out the backcountry,
journalist Tom Wharton read a few actual comments collected last year from
registration sheets and comment cards at entrances to the Bridger Wilderness in
Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains.
•  “Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands.”
•  “Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce world-wide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness.”
•  “Ban walking sticks in the wilderness.  Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals.”
•  “All the mile markers are missing this year.”
•  “Found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse.”
•  “Trail needs to be reconstructed.  Please avoid building trails that go uphill.”
•  “Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs.  Please spray wilderness to rid the area of these pests.”
•  “Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow during the winter.”
•  “Chairlifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them.”
•  “The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake.  Please eradicate these annoying animals.”
•  “A small deer came into my camp and stole my jar of pickles.  Is there a way I can get reimbursed?  Please call me at ….”
•  “Reflectors need to be placed on trees every fifty feet so people can hike at night with flashlights.”

Comments such as these reinforce our belief the best way to preserve our heritage of using horses in the backcountry is strong and active local Back Country Horsemen units.

Back Country Horsemen of Utah has a excellent website that contains a lot of timely and useful information, I highly recommend that you visit it.

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’!


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.

25. January 2013 · Comments Off on Before there were chain Saws · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

big saw

Men, muscle and fine steel (Read More)

25. January 2013 · Comments Off on Mules & Gravel Buckets · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

using 5 gallon buckets

A very innovative way to transport sand, gravel or fish.  Read more

01. December 2012 · Comments Off on Forest Service turns to private groups · Categories: Current Events, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

West Brownlee Creek

Forest Service turns to private groups to fill in gaps left by dwindling dollars for work on trails

By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

 Backlog stats more than 20 years old
Both locally and nationally, nobody knows just how bad the trail maintenance backlog is. A 1989 audit by the Government Accountability Office, now more than 20 years old, estimated the agency faced a $200 million maintenance backlog that resulted in the loss of 5,000 miles of trail. Since that time, Forest Service budgets and the agency’s workforce have shrunk, recreation demand has grown and wildfires that exacerbate the problem have grown in size and intensity.  Read more.

new trail

Marble Creek

25. October 2012 · Comments Off on News & Updates · Categories: Current Events, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

40 bumber sticker

BCHA Bumper Sticker designed by Robbin Schindele

Richard Newton

Welcome, Boise Nation Forest new District Ranger, Richard Newton.  Before coming to the Boise Nationa forest, Richard was a district ranger of  the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Richard has a long relationship with volunteer organizations like BCHI and SCA.

trailer wreck

Trailer wreck near Ola, ID

18. October 2012 · Comments Off on The Wildest Place SBFC · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Selway Bitterroot

The SBFC has released the Fall 2012 Edition of our newsletter, The Wildest Place.  This edition features:

A complete list of all of our 2012 projects and accomplishments, including our first season of projects in the Frank and our biggest season ever in the Selway!

Click HERE for the Fall 2012 newsletter!

Live in the Boise area?  If so, we’ve got a treat for you.  We’re hosting our 1st Annual Fall Gathering and Fundraiser on Friday, November 9, at the Linen Building in Boise.  The will run from 6:30PM to 9:30PM and is free to the public.  Keynote speaker Cort Conley will deliver a presentation entitled “Five River Tales”, spinning yarns and truths about the Middle Fork Salmon, Main Fork Salmon and Snake Rivers.  Please come down and enjoy our fantastic silent auction and raffle, as well as wine, beer, hors d’ouevres and music while supporting our efforts to take care of your backyard backcountry.  You might even find a good holiday gift to boot!

14. October 2012 · Comments Off on Feedback Survey Results · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Take Survey

Click here to see Survey results as of 15 October 2012

10. October 2012 · Comments Off on 11 Chances to Win $500 or the Grand Prize in 2013 · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Click here for full size printable poster or calendar video.   Calendars are available from Rob Adams, Janine Townsend or Kay Ryan for Pick-Up, or can be purchased on line

09. October 2012 · Comments Off on Hooves on Pasture · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Read what Doctor Hardy DVM has to say on the subject

17. September 2012 · Comments Off on RIDING “THE BOB” · Categories: Horse Camping, Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

For those of you who live in the west, the term “The Bob” is probably very familiar.  The Bob Marshall Wilderness in western Montana is a very popular riding area.  My friend Bill Conger of the Squaw Butte Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Idaho and his wife Marybeth have ridden “the Bob” for many years but for me it was my first pack trip there.  I’ve spent a great deal of time in Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and was excited to see the famous China Wall in “the Bob” of which I had only seen pictures.    Read More

07. August 2012 · Comments Off on Eight Hoof Care Myths (Idaho Horse Council) · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits


Like a bike with a flat tire or a tennis racket with a broken string, a horse with poor hooves has limited usefulness. But how to keep a horse’s hooves in their best condition is an often discussed and sometimes hotly debated topic. There are theories regarding horses’ feet that constantly keep horse owners contemplating the fact and fiction of hoof care.

Often misinformation is accepted as truth simply because it has been around a long time. In this article we address a few of the most common misconceptions about hoof care, and ask top experts to explain the truth behind the myths.

Myth: White hooves are softer and have more problems than black feet.

The color of the hoof is influenced by the color of the skin above it, so if a horse has white markings directly above the hoof, the hoof itself may carry the same pigmentation. Many people believe that hooves with black walls are stronger than hooves with white walls.  Read more

01. July 2012 · Comments Off on Cross Cut Saws · Categories: Tips, Tricks and Tid Bits

Cross Cuts

With more and more BCHA volunteers using crosscut saws to help clear wilderness trails the question comes up, how to sharpen a crosscut saw?  Unlike a chainsaw that you can sharpen in the field or change a dull chain in a few minutes, crosscut saws do require some skill, special tools and a considerable amount of time to properly sharpen.  With the idea of offering some support to BCHA volunteers I have put together a web page that should help with the issue.  The new BCHW crosscut saw sharpening page can be found on the BCHW website under the Tech Tips link.  It offers information on where or how to learn to sharpen as well as sources for some professional sharpeners.  For those without web access many of the resources listed are available in other forms.

It does take some commitment of time and tools to pickup the skill but most anyone can learn to sharpen crosscut saws.  There are formal week long training classes put on every year at the Nine Mile USFS Training Center, Lolo National Forest, Montana.  The classes are open to anyone and the cost is reasonable.   In addition the the formal hands on training  there is some very good information available.  The USFS Crosscut Saw Manual has step by step instructions and there is a new video/DVD by the Forest Service that is scheduled to be released soon.  This video is very highly rated and should prove to be a valuable learning tool.  In addition to the USFS resources there is other information and training aids linked on the BCHW Crosscut saw sharpening web page.

saw team

Another resource is an online crosscut saw forum at crosscutsawyer.com .  This is a privately ran forum that has a wealth information on sharpening as well and other things related to crosscut saws.  It is a little contradiction to have a modern internet forum for primitive tools but the knowledge of literally hundreds of years of experience from the forum members is amazing.  If you do not find needed information in past posts, you can always ask.

In addition to the formal training or do it yourself learning there is the possibility of interested folks learning from BCHW members that are experienced saw filers.   Both Gary Zink and myself have offered to help new filers pick up the skill.  This would likely involve having members watch and ask question during a sharpening job.  The timing and location of any of these sessions will depend on the interest and need.  For BCHW to hold a week long, hands on training session is beyond the scope of any proposed training but we do have the resources to help and provide direction to anyone that is interested.  No matter how a new filer picks up the skill, it will require quite an individual commitment of time and practice to become proficient.

Simonds Saw

So the main purpose of this message is to let folks know of the resources available for those that want to learn how to sharpen a saw and offer any help in the process.  Please have anyone that has any questions contact me or Gary.   Also I do know that other BCHW members do sharpen saws and if they want to help out, let us know. Comments or suggestions are always welcome.
Jim  Thode  ( Webmaster and crosscut saw user and filer )


Subject: USFS Chainsaw and Cross cut saw certification programs

Good afternoon,  BCHA .  There is some information in this news letter about the new Chain saw and Cross cut saw program that is in the works.  BCHA and some of the states have been supplying input to the agency, USFS, about this, including bringing it to the attention of the Deputy Chief, Leslie Weldon and the Director of Wilderness, Leanne Martin at the BCHA national board meeting.  It appears there will be a document to read and comment on out pretty soon.  It will be interesting to see what they have come up with.

Michael K. McGlenn
Chairman BCHA