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View Full Version : Horses, Mules , Donkeys and gear?



Edelweiss
04-01-2012, 03:15 AM
I have been overseas with the military for the majority of my career, and now that we are headed back to Wyoming (don't know where yet), I want to hunt the wilderness areas horseback.

What saddles are you guys using, and what panyard systems and so on?

Where is a good place to go for back country tack?

Looks like the prices on quality mules are high, and I don't have a lot of mule experience.

We used to have our share of BLM Burros that guarded our sheep at night when I was younger. Kind of like a tall dog that eats grass.

Was thinking of trying to find some Norwegian Fjord mares (2 or 3) and a mammoth donkey jack. Eventually having our own mule program. Then again I have zero experience around mules. So maybe not.

(I am about 20 months from moving so if your selling horses can you please wait till I get back. I don't even know where I am going to be living.)

Elkoholic307
04-01-2012, 10:29 AM
I usually ride in my Circle Y; I love it.

There's a really nice tack shop in Frannie, WY.

chad
04-01-2012, 10:31 AM
As far as panniers go I buy from Davis tent in Colorado. They have about anything for packing. They are resonable prices too. They have a pannier that is really tough. Can't think of what it's called now but check out their site. I bought a wall tent from them too. Good people.

Bitterroot Bulls
04-01-2012, 01:40 PM
You can also consider renting horses. I have stock, and have also rented. The rental stock actually did very well for me. As far as tack goes, I prefer the standard decker packsaddle with traditional bars rather than "improved" bars. It is harder to manny stuff onto the "improved" version, IMO. The traditional bars are just as easy to hang panniers off, too.

Drelk
04-01-2012, 03:13 PM
Renting stock from Wyoming horses has worked well for my group. The horses are not perfect but most are pretty damn good.

I like to have one or two good horses that i own personally. My best 2 have passed away in the last year. I actually was pretty choked up when they died. Cancer for both of them.

The main benefit besides financial to renting is that those rental horses have been used all summer and are in much better shape

I am not a horse expert. Won't buy one unless it is ten plus years old. The number one mistake is the guy who borrows someones "good" horse that is a pasture ornament. It is a wreck more often than not. Damn horse was probably broke and in shape five years ago.

Pasture ornament=bad
Rental horse=usually pretty good

Just my humble opinion

Edelweiss
04-01-2012, 06:45 PM
10-12 years yep that's perfect. We are on the same page.

We got a lot of use in Montana and Wyoming when I was in highschool out of a blue roan appy/percheron cross named bacon he was 14 when we bought him and wasn't 100% sound but for $800 in 1990 he was a good deal. Old man road him well into my military career, and he beat the heck out of all the high dollar 6-9 year old stock horses the old man had. Even a Poco Bueno Quarter Horse geilding that was almost $14,000.

Of course the Poco Gielding could almost rip the horns off of a steer roping.

packer58
04-01-2012, 08:05 PM
Edelweiss, take a look at outfitters supply, they have a ton of riding and packing gear. You may not necassarily buy anything from them but you'll get a good handle on what you'll need. IMO your right on track with a 10-12 year old, they still have plenty of years left and you don't have the hassles that come with the younger animals. I think were all looking for 10 year old horses with 20 year old brains :)

http://www.outfitterssupply.com/

packer58
04-01-2012, 09:31 PM
Just had another thought, if you don't already have it, get "Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails by Joe Back. This paper back book is considered by many (myself included) to be the packers bible. It is very good reading and comes in handy as a refresher course for some of the rigs that we don't use very often.

mntnguide
04-01-2012, 11:54 PM
Edelweiss- Do you have packing experience or are just starting to get into it? I make my living packing horses and mules and agree with Bitteroot that the Decker system is by far my favorite as well, but it is definitely not the popular one, compared to the sawbuck system. I have packed Deckers exclusively in Idaho and Montana, but now have to settle with the sawbuck as i spend most my time working in Wyoming now adays. If you want to move past weekend warrior and be a successful backcountry hunter with horses it will definitely be beneficial to learn different hitches used for packing and not rely on one of the "TrailMax" type panyard systems for everything. The book mentioned above is a great one. Also the "Packers Manual" by Bob Hoverson is a good read, and one of my favorites is "Packin' In on Mules and Horses" by the one and only Smoke Elser.

Edelweiss
04-02-2012, 01:53 AM
I ordered a couple books and DVDS that Packing In on Horses and Mules rings a bell. Been a few weeks, mail is slow down here to us couple months.

I have zero packing experience, my father guided when I was very small in the Hoback and Shoshone in the 1970s and early 1980s. He was one of the founders of pack horse races in Fremont, County Wyoming. Saying that it's been a long time since he packed anything, he's got 5 titanium joints now. I'll get set up with those books and pick you guys for answers.

I really appreciate all the information you guys have passed along.

I am going to be teaching school somewhere in Wyoming, we don't know where yet. I am waiting on the Veterans Affairs outfit to tell me where I have to teach for troops to teachers.

Hopefully I can get a lot of summer experience packing after we get set up.

Drelk
04-02-2012, 11:19 AM
Packer58

After u mentioned the Joe back book I found It on my wifes kindle last nite. It had been twenty years since i read it. I read it cover to cover. Great book. Funny and full of good one liners. I also remember a book by Vic Lemmon.

Bitterroot Bulls
04-02-2012, 11:29 AM
Packer,

I pulled out my old copy, too. That is good info.

Something to look into, Edelweiss, is a packing class. My hunting buddies and I have packed for years, but learned a ton from a local Brand Inspector that put on a packing class three years ago. I have heard that several guide schools and private packers put on similar classes.

packer58
04-02-2012, 12:14 PM
Attending a packing class is very good advice, learning from pictures is ok but hands on practice with someone that knows whats cook'n is a lot better. Another thing that has helped me out in the past is......build yourself a fake horse out of a barrel, that way you can practice your rigging without boring your horse to death :)

Edelweiss
04-03-2012, 10:06 PM
While I know the difference between the decker and sawbuck, why would one state prefer one over the other?

Bitterroot Bulls
04-03-2012, 10:11 PM
I can't even think of the last time I saw a sawbuck in use in MT. I am sure somebody is using them, but I see Deckers out there. The guy I took the class from said, "Well you can get a Decker ... or you can get a sawbuck, sell it, and get a Decker ... it is up to you." Maybe there are regional trends, but if I moved to Wyoming, I would still use a Decker.

Edelweiss
04-03-2012, 10:22 PM
Ok,

I think I misunderstood earlier, so there isn't some kind of law or something?

Wyoming suprises me sometimes, we won't have a law on anything that another state has 30 laws on,then all of a sudden there will be some wierd law on you wouldn't expect.

Bitterroot,
Do you pack mules or just horses?

Drelk
04-03-2012, 10:32 PM
The saddle deal is a weird regional thing. Sawbucks in Wyoming vs deckers in Idaho. I'm in Wyoming and love my deckers. I have a modified decker and a regular. Love them both.

Bitterroot Bulls
04-03-2012, 11:06 PM
I pack horses only, but I don't have any problems with mules. Someday I will have a riding mule.

packer58
04-03-2012, 11:25 PM
I pack horses only, but I don't have any problems with mules. Someday I will have a riding mule.

BB, It's not that we have any problems with mules.................it's just some mules have problems with us.......:D

mntnguide
04-03-2012, 11:49 PM
Definitely not a law or anything...its entirely regional...Montana and Idaho- Deckers...everywhere else for the most part sawbucks. The sawbuck system has been around for nearly 300 years whereas the Decker system was invented by the Decker brothers in northern Idaho for hauling heavy loads of ore out of the mines roughly 100 years ago. Its just a different system but, in my opinion of having packed both extensively, the decker saddles are better for both horses or mules in terms of not preventing sores, and the packing system enables someone to pack any type of load and as long as the weights are somewhat similar, with the proper packing knowledge, you can make them ride perfectly even without the official weights being similar. . If you have an interest in a packing school, I have instructed at one for 5 years now in Montana and would be happy to provide you more information. The school has been running for 17 years as of this summer. We focus mainly in people wanting to become guides, but the whole purpose of the school is teaching backcountry techniques and horse packing. We have people each year who come just to further their own packing knowledge and have no intention of trying to become a guide.

GameSlayer
04-04-2012, 10:43 AM
Using critters to get into the back country is great! My advice is to just get a couple animals, horses mules whatever and get out on the trail. You will learn alot of tricks on your own. But if you have a friend or someone that has been packing alot they would be great to take out and show you a thing or two. The nice thing about packing is it hasn't changed much in 100 years..

Edelweiss
04-05-2012, 02:08 PM
I talked to Dad yesterday morning about packing, and told him we were talking about it on the forum.

He said he had not met anyone in Wyoming that used a decker from his Generation (born in 1939), and most of the Vietnam-1990s time frame outfitters in Wyoming were using crossbucks.

mntnguide
04-05-2012, 03:01 PM
Yea..like i said..Montana and Idaho almost entirely decker...every other place in the U.S. sawbucks. People dont like to learn new ways if you dont have to. Sawbucks work just fine, I personally believe the Decker style is a much better style for the animals and how the saddles are designed to protect the rib cage and shoulders. Whereas sawbucks is just a pad and a wood sawbuck, nothing to protect the ribs from bouncing loads especially when heavy. Deckers have a side-board that distributes weight evenly across the rib cage on both sides no matter the size of the load. Example- A 50lb. cube of salt, though small compared to most loads, will distribute its weight across the entire rib cage when on a decker, while on a sawbuck(unless in a box) it will bounce on the same spot of the ribs all day long with nothing protecting the animal. I guarantee you will find more white blemishes, from sores, on stock that use sawbucks rather than deckers...I say this with personal experience and having packed both extensively.

Edelweiss
04-06-2012, 02:12 AM
Got it, I am on the decker band wagon.

Mail plane comes on Tuesday, hopefully those books and DVDs are in there that I ordered.

I broke my tail bone and it healed wrong so the doc here ended up cutting it out 2 months ago. I have been on med leave for a long time, and hopefully will be riding by the time we get back to the states full time.

Edelweiss
04-06-2012, 02:13 AM
Anyone using an Australian saddle? Should I get a couple while I am down here?

Big Sky
04-06-2012, 11:55 AM
I spent a lot of hours in a stock saddle while I was down there but havn't seen one sence getting back to the states. I actualy brought one back with me but is was a cheap one and I have only used it once.

Edelweiss
04-15-2012, 07:48 AM
The DVD showed up on Mule packing using deckers, kind of amazed at how different the decker system is.

Crazy amazing!

Grizbacker
04-16-2012, 12:31 PM
Definitely not a law or anything...its entirely regional...Montana and Idaho- Deckers...everywhere else for the most part sawbucks. The sawbuck system has been around for nearly 300 years whereas the Decker system was invented by the Decker brothers in northern Idaho for hauling heavy loads of ore out of the mines roughly 100 years ago. Its just a different system but, in my opinion of having packed both extensively, the decker saddles are better for both horses or mules in terms of not preventing sores, and the packing system enables someone to pack any type of load and as long as the weights are somewhat similar, with the proper packing knowledge, you can make them ride perfectly even without the official weights being similar. . If you have an interest in a packing school, I have instructed at one for 5 years now in Montana and would be happy to provide you more information. The school has been running for 17 years as of this summer. We focus mainly in people wanting to become guides, but the whole purpose of the school is teaching backcountry techniques and horse packing. We have people each year who come just to further their own packing knowledge and have no intention of trying to become a guide.

Mntnguide,

When and where is this packing school held?

Thanks

mntnguide
04-16-2012, 01:16 PM
It is located about an hour south of Missoula, MT on a ranch in the Pintler range. Schools are conducted throughout the summer. If you want some more info on it here is the website, www.royaltine.com, there is also a forum that you can join free that has many guides and past students if you wanted to get some more ideas about what it is like. If you have any other questions feel free to PM me