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  1. #1
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    Horses, Mules , Donkeys and gear?

    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.)

  2. #2
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    I usually ride in my Circle Y; I love it.

    There's a really nice tack shop in Frannie, WY.
    Arise... Kill, Eat! - Acts 10:13

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  4. #3
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    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.

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  6. #4
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    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.

  7. #5
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    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

  8. #6
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    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.

  9. #7
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    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/

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    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.

  11. #9
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    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.

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  13. #10
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    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.

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