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Camping with horses

Camping with your horse allows access to trails that you may not otherwise get to experience. Plan ahead, select a campsite, and get ready for an adventure.

Radio interview source: Gary White, Camper

 
Camping is a popular way to enjoy the outdoors and bringing along a horse adds to the fun. Preparation ahead of time will help ensure a good experience.
 
Gary White of Hamilton, Virginia camps often with his horses, and says it's like camping with a three-year-old child. The horse doesn't help, demands constant attention, makes messes, and will get into trouble if given the chance. So, whether you camp in the woods or at the fairgrounds, he says it's important to have the horse trained and conditioned to stay in that environment. 
 
"They may tie it to the trailer, they could put it like I do in an electric pen or a corral pen, he needs to be comfortable being tied and stay tied all night," he says. "And if he's trained and conditioned to do that, and, the rider is capable of making the horse do what the rider asks it to do, that's a good horse and it'll do pretty good."
 
As you prepare for the trip, thoroughly research campground facilities and trails. Designated equestrian campgrounds offer many amenities including hitching posts and corrals. However, some regular campgrounds will also allow horses. Just make sure you ask about the rules.
 
Gary says to create a thorough packing list for the horse, paying attention to key items.
 
"You've got to have food, you've got to have water, and you've got to have the means to secure the horse, whether that's tying it to a trailer, whether it's an electric fence, or whatever it is," says Gary. "The other thing is that a person should take along their first-aid kit for the horse."
 
Also make sure you have proper ownership and health papers if crossing state lines or borders. It's best to arrive at the campground during daylight, and take care of the horse's needs first. Once the campsite is set up, go for a ride so you can both relax.
 
For more information on camping with your horse, check out this resource.

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