"How to" Articles

Training a Horse or Mule to Hobble
Patience really is a virtue, and a horse should be trained well before your next overnight trip.

Picketing a Horse or Mule
Being able to picket your horse gives you peace of mind and the horse a chance to graze.

Highlining a Horse or Mule
Easy to use, the highline is the best way to comfortably tie your horses overnight in the backcountry.

How to Build a Lodge Pole Tent Frame
If you can't pack in a freestanding frame, an A-frame setup can make camp very comfortable..

How to Set a Rivet
You can repair just about any harness or tack if you know how to set a rivet.

How to Pack Using The Not-A-Knot Pack System™
Instructions on how to use the most user-friendly horse or mule packing system on the market.

Attaching a Scabbard or Axe to a Riding Saddle
One of the most common questions I receive asks carrying a saw, rifle or axe while riding.

Cleaning and Conditioning Your Leather Saddle and Tack
In the end, horse owners have almost as much invested in leather products as horseflesh. Learn what causes leather to detiorate and how to keep yours in top shape.

Attaching Leather Saddle Strings with a Slit Braid
This method of attachment will work for attaching leather strings to an O ring, D ring or slotted concho on a saddle or bridle.

Russ on... Packing, Trail Riding, Camping & Hunting

Packing Equipment Recommendations
Some equipment you need to carry out of necessity, other gear will make your backcountry trip with horses or mules more enjoyable.

Trail Riding Equipment: Accessories
Some items are necessities, some just flat out make life easier on the trail.

Trail Riding Equipment: Saddle and Tack
The saddle can make or break the ride for both horse and rider.

How much water does my trail horse or mule need?
Like humans, horses sweat to cool down, and will need to replenish those lost fluids.

Trail Riding and Packing Essentials - Be Prepared for Most Situations
With many years of experience, and a multitude of mistakes, I've learned what should ALWAYS be packed in my saddlebags.

Horse Saddlebags: Packing for Success
Improperly packed saddlebags can make life on the trail miserable, even painful, for both horse and rider.

Canvas Wall Tent Basics
Select the correct size tent for your needs and care for it properly.

Disaster Preparedness for Horse Owners
We always hope disaster does not strike, but being prepared can be the difference between life and death for you and your stock.

Preventing Heatstroke in Horses
Horses are just as prone to heatstroke and sunstroke as we are. These safety precautions may just save your horse's life.

Feeding Stock in the Backcountry
Full bellies equals happy horses: how to keep your stock happy using a highline, picket stake or hobbles.

Recommended Tools for Basic Saddle and Tack Repair
Face it: horses are strong, and will eventually break something. Save yourself a small fortune in replacements by investing in the right repair tools.

Loading Your Saddlebags
Poorly loaded saddlebags can be a nuisance at best, an outright danger at worst.

Balancing Your Load on a Horse or Mule
Acommon cause of a wreck on the trail is the shifting of an unbalanced load.

Being Seen During Hunting Season
Horse and rider need to dress for visibility to avoid "mistaken identity".

What Makes a Good Trail Horse?
A poor "performance" horse will likely make a poor trail horse as well. Here are the traits I look for in an ideal trail mount.

Finding Lost Stock in the Backcountry
Everyone dreads waking up in the morning and finding their trusted steeds missing. What should you do to find them?

How much weight can my horse carry?
There is no simple answer, but this article will give you a good idea of what your stock is capable of carrying.

Overnighting with a saddle horse
Riding into the backcountry and camping without a pack horse means you may need to leave some creature comforts at home, but there's no reason you shouldn't go.

Leave No Trace Ethics
The seven principles of Leave No Trace camping, described here, should be the first thing any outdoorsman should learn, so that the wilderness can be enjoyed by many generations to come.

Lightweight Trail Saddles; No Longer Light on Quality
While a heavy saddle once meant quality, there is no longer any need to break your back to have a great trail riding saddle.

Should I Pack Horses or Mules?
This is an age-old question that mule lovers and horse lovers will argue 'til the end of time. Here's my take on the issue.

Preventing Hypothermia
The trouble with hypothermia is that it will sneak up on you, and you may not even realize that you've fallen asleep, possibly for the last time. The best cure is prevention.

Trail Etiquette
Nothing ruins a riding trip faster than coming across someone that doesn't understand or care about the often unspoken rules of etiquette, whether a horseman, mountain biker, ATVer or hiker.

Using a Wood Stove and Wall Tent
Here are a few tips you might want to remember when it is time to set up your wall tent and camp stove.

Guest Articles and Information Downloads

Conditioning Your Horse for the Mountains
Article from Dr. Ruth James
Make sure your stock is fit and ready for the backcountry journey so it is enjoyable and safe.

Exhaustion in the Trail Horse Article by Dr. Ruth James
Common sense and knowledge are vital to avoid a potential tragedy.

Feeding Horses on the Trail Article by Dr. Ruth James
Learn how best to make sure your four-footed friends maintain their health in the backcountry: when and what to feed tired stock.

The Backcountry Horsemen of America Handbook
This booklet (pdf) is chock full of information about packing in the backcountry. Even a seasoned packer will find useful information here. Download, print, read and learn, all compliments of the Backcountry Horsemen of America!

Why Trail Ride with Horses or Mules?
Article from the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington
Trail riding is not just about enjoying the scenery; your horse can greatly benefit by being exposed to the trail.

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