Plan Ahead and Prepare
Make your plans for where you are going, for food and personal needs. Make sure you think about hazards and unexpected situations you or your animals might encounter so you can be prepared. Prepare for any weather conditions, thunderstorms can cause fires in the summer, know an alternate way out? Weather can turn from being very hot to snow quickly, carry a jacket and raincoat. Do you know how to get emergency help from where you are if someone has a serious accident? When we are not prepared, we end up making choices that create unnecessary impact.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
You create the least impact if you camp in an existing campsite and don’t make the area any larger. If you’re riding on trails, stay on the trail and don’t make it wider or cut switchbacks. Water runs down your tracks and causes erosion.
Leave What You Find
Avoid damaging live trees and plants. Don’t pound nails into trees or chop on them. Leave natural objects and cultural artifacts there.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Campfires are a favorite thing for many people but they can create change in certain circumstances. Fires definitely do leave a trace, if you choose to have a fire, the best place to have one is in an existing fire ring, build a small mound fire or pit fire without rocks and burn all the firewood, don’t leave half burned logs behind.
Avoid disturbing wildlife during nesting or calving time when babies are very young. It involves not feeding wildlife and habituating them to human food, and securing food properly so bears don’t get into it.
Please follow all campground rules and regulations. PLEASE be respectful to your fellow riders.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
This is the one that really is important to us. The main areas we influence are the camp area, the trails, the grazing area and the water. Always use manure bunkers! Walk the manure to the furthest end on the bunker, don’t just drop it off at the beginning of the bunker. Be considerate of other user groups and always, always leave your campsite clean.
Most of us are already familiar with highlines. It is a rope tied to tree saver straps between two trees/poles that we tie our horses to. Train your horses and get them use to being tied up for hours. The animals that paw continuously may need to be hobbled and have their needs taken care of which may include bug spray or more to eat. If you choose to use a portable corral please confine it to the area immediately under your highline.
When riding narrow trails, stay on the trail and don’t make it wider by riding side by side. Try to make your horse walk through water.
If you ride off the trail and go straight downhill you will cause erosion. Water will follow those tracks in a thunderstorm. That’s why you don’t want to cut switchbacks in steep country.
If you stop for very long, it’s best to tie up off the trail so others can get by. If you encounter hikers, ask them to step off on the downhill side of the trail 6-8 feet. Your animals will be more comfortable passing them and not jump off the trail. Backpacks change a person’s shape and it scares a lot of horses. Try to be courteous to others even if they are rude to you. Continuing a rude interaction just makes it worse and gives us a bad name.
What happens when horses go in water? Try not to pollute water. When riding and you stop to water, let your horse relax first away from the water. He will probably relieve himself and then you can go water without mishap.
The best place to water is on the trail in a stream crossing where it is hard or rocky. Otherwise try to use a place without banks that break down in the water. If you have to water in a lake, just get their head in and don’t ride in unless they have already relieved themselves. Just like little kids, when one goes they all think it is a good idea and join in.