Horseback Riding

Horse Camp

August 29, 2011

Tips for camping with your horse.

Go out and explore with your horse! Journal photo.

From America’s Horse

Tired of riding around in circles in the back pasture?

Ready for some real adventures?

Commune with nature and go camping with your horse!

This outdoors, back-to-nature excursion requires a good deal of planning, but it will be worth it. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Destination questions:

  • Are Coggins and health papers required?
  • Can I reserve a horse-friendly campsite in advance, or is it “first-come-first-serve?”
  • Is there accessible drinking water for people and horses? Are streams and lakes safe for livestock?
  • Are the horses allowed to forage?
  • Is certified weed-seed-free hay required?

The Horseback Riding Program is designed to reward AQHA and AQHYA members who spend time riding American Quarter Horses, as well as other horse breeds.

  • Are there stalls available, if so are they concrete floors?
  • What terrain is covered on trails?
  • Are campfires or grills allowed, and is wood available?
  • Is there adequate parking space for a truck and trailer?
  • Are electric hookups available for campers or trailers?

Is my horse accustomed to:

  • Loading and hauling
  • Standing tied
  • Hobbles
  • High picket rope
  • Crossing water and streams
  • Crossing downed trees and other obstacles
  • Crossing boggy areas
  • Crinkling noise of maps or plastic rain gear
  • Fly repellant spray
  • Sudden movement of wildlife or birds
  • Sudden appearance of hikers
  • Other animals on the trail (dogs, burros)

The All-Breeds division of the Horseback Riding Program offers a unique opportunity to earn awards outside of traditional competition.

Horse supplies:

Camping etiquette:

  • Haul out what you haul in. Burn your burnable trash in a designated fire circle if campfires are allowed. Pack out cans, tinfoil, plastic and other nonburnable items.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from the edges of lakes and rivers. Cooking utensils and clothes can be sloshed around in a bucket or tub — not in the lake, river or stream. Never dump soapy water near natural water sources.
  • Spread out manure with a shovel, pitch fork, rake or tree branch to aid in the natural decomposition process and reduce flies.
  • Use picket line or take a portable corral if it is allowed by the campground. Do not tie your horse to a tree. Picket lines keep horses from damaging tree and roots, and are long enough to allow the animals to lie down without the danger of becoming entangled.

What other things do you bring on your horse camping trips?

Equestrian groups and individuals can participate in trail maintenance and restoration projects. Thanks to a partnership with Tractor Supply Co., AQHA funds groups or organizations that have the most impact for community involvement and trail sustainability. Click here to find out more.