September 3, 2010
We thought you might enjoy a video view of Gilbert Basin. I'm riding Mischief, my son Eric is riding Boss, and Steve is taking the video and narrating.
Since this is a short post, I'll take the opportunity to answer a couple of questions that might be of general interest.
Betsy and Jabblog wondered if Eric could still walk after 3 days on horseback with no preparation.
Answer: Eric did surprisingly well! He's in great shape from all of his hiking, climbing and biking, so maybe that's the explanation. In his situation, I would have been waddling for weeks!
To read Eric's version of the trip, click here.
Robert asked about any special horse care required on such a trip, and the equine mpg.
Answer: An experienced trail horse drinks at almost every stream crossing. An inexperienced one may turn down water from a strange source at first, but he soon learns to take water where he can get it. Horses need a minimum of an hour of grazing, morning and evening. We use a single hobble to tie Boss (the boss horse) to a drag log so he can move around but won't go too far. Usually we'll hobble at least one of the others. With their herd instinct, horses prefer to stay in a group, so there's little danger that one will wander off alone. The boss horse is the ringleader, but with him contained, the rest will remain close. At night, we tie them on a highline, a sturdy rope with metal loops and tree savers (broad nylon bands to minimize bark damage) to go around the trees. We use bells so we'll hear if they become upset or, heaven forbid, escape and run away! We check their feet before and after riding, groom them a little, and put boots on their hooves for very rocky trails. I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but really it doesn't take much time.
We've done similar excursions on foot with backpacks, but it's a lot easier (especially as we get older) with the horses carrying the gear.
How many miles to the gallon? Since Robert is a hydrologist, I assume he meant mpg of water. Well, horses drink about 10 gallons per day when working. We went 12-16 miles per day on this trip. So, a max of just over 1.5 mpg.
Without packs on an easy, alluvial trail, horses can travel 20 miles per day with no problem, which improves the mpg a bit. They eat 10-15 pounds of grass/hay per day, so that's up to .5 pounds per mile.
Jabblog asked about Daisy. Yes, Daisy does her own walking the entire way. We've never had to carry her or put boots on her feet. In fact, since she roams about and goes on brief chases after game here and there, she probably travels twice the distance that the horses go.