Camping with your Horse

Shannon Gohr, CVT

Camping with your horse can be similar to camping with a 3 year old child who demands constant attention! As long as things go smoothly, camping with your horse is a lot of fun and very enjoyable. In this blog, we will discuss some tips to keep in mind when preparing to go camping with your horses.

  • When starting to plan your camping trip, research the location you are going to. Check into and read through any requirements and regulations for the area. For example, some places will require a trail pass to ride on the trails; occasionally passes can take time to be completed.
  • Prior to leaving on your trip, research the veterinarians in your destination area and record their phone number in case of an emergency. Create a first aid kit that includes bute and/or Banamine® paste (Banamine® can be liquid but it MUST go orally, NEVER intramuscularly), triple antibiotic ointment, a basic wound care spray (for example: AluSpray®) for minor cuts and scrapes, thermometer, and bandage material (cotton, brown gauze and vet wrap) for deeper wounds.
  • Getting the trailer packed can be a treacherous task. Be sure to pack plenty of hay for the entire trip; generally a half bale of hay per day per horse is sufficient but base the amount of hay off of what your horse typically eats. Don’t forget your horse’s grain. Try to keep as normal of a routine during camping as you do at home. Some horses can be very picky about the water offered to them while away from home; by bringing water from home, it may ensure they stay adequately hydrated.
  • Decide how you will stable your horses on the camping trip. Check with the location you will be staying at; some places offer paddocks for the horses, some do not. Some places do not allow paneling for paddocks to be brought in either, so always double check the rules and regulations before leaving home.

–  Another common way of stabling your horse is to bring along a tie line; these lines need to be secured between two large trees that can withstand tension. Tie rings are then secured in the line to tether your horse with. Hay bags are ideal for this type of stabling; however, do not attach the hay bag directly to the tie ring your horse is tied to. Attach a separate ring specifically for the hay bag. The reasoning for this is because if a horse spooks at something and breaks the tie line, the hay bag is essentially attached to the horse when the same ring is used for both. The ring will fall to the ground with the hay bag and the lead rope, which can scare the horse further and cause him/her to start running. Ultimately, the hay bag is “chasing” the horse which causes an even larger reaction.

Camping 1

  • For all those unspeakable incidents we hope never happen, it is very helpful to bring along a spare halter, lead rope, saddle pad, cinch, bridle, and leather straps (just to name a few). It is important to try and be prepared as possible if the worst is to happen.

Most importantly, enjoy your camping trip. Enjoy the time away and the time spent with your horse and friends!