It’s a beautiful sunday morning in June and the Guide School pupils pack the pack horses with food and personal gear, saddle their riding horses and leave for the bush. After a couple of hours they stop for lunch – and one of them doesn’t get up on her horse again. She decides to walk for a few kilometres. And with every day the hiked sections get longer until she walks almost all the way back from Leckie Camp to the ranch. Choosing foot over horse back, going for a hike with a pack horse – weird, isnt’ it?No, it’s not weird! Hiking along creeks, through blooming meadows, on mountain ridges and through valleys – that’s what walking in the Chilcotin Mountains means. At least to me. And there is no time when I’m happier than when I’m walking. Ideally through beautiful scenery like here.
And last week I got to experience hiking with a pack horse. What seemed impossible at first ended up being a lot of fun! Walking a horse is basically like walking a dog that carries your pack for you. That is if the horse behaves well and doesn’t drag you around. But then you have to stand up and show it who’s the boss (to be honest: I had problems with that at first, too. One of the horses dragged me around quite a bit, I still hold a grudge against him for this).
So what is there to pay attention to while hiking with a horse? Well, at first you should check regularly if the pack moved and if so repack. Secondly the horse should walk behind you which also means that it respects you as the pack leader (pretty good feeling actually!). Thirdly you shouldn’t hold the rope too short so it can still see where it’s going. Also make sure that there are no knots where the rope could get stuck in your hand (wear gloves!) – and never wrap the rope around your hand! If the horse spooks you will hurt your hand and that’s not very pleasant. And last but not least (and it’s really annoying) avoid having to drag your horse behind you and make it walk!
That’s about it, now you’re ready to set out for walking adventures with your pack horse!