Confidence to get out and pack on your own is probably the biggest hurdle every new packer faces. I tell everyone just get out and go, but what holds everyone back??? It’s the fear of having a wreck, a yard sale, planting potatoes, just the plain scattering of your belongings all over the hillside. Wrecks come in every shape and size. You call them what you want and most good ones end up being named. It seems that hurting your animal and or yourself in the process is secondary in our thought process……It’s the “wreck” that scares us. So, how do you avoid disaster in the middle of nowhere?
When the turmoil starts it’s hard to stop the chain of events to follow; let it be a lead rope around the leg or the dreaded rolling saddle. It could be as little as a rattle deep down in a pack or tying an animal in the string in the wrong order. Most wrecks are avoidable; well with the exception of running over a ground nest of yellow jackets, but even then all you have to do is turn around. What made me think about this subject was as I ride down the trail and follow the other folks I pack with I notice they never turn around. They are all just looking ahead. Take last week, I’m following a buddy down the trail and I see his second saddle back leaning to the right. I yell up at him and say “Your saddles leaning left.” He never turns around and yells back ok. Then a few minutes later “HEY !!!! she going to roll” “OK I’ll find a flat spot,” 5 minutes later she rolled……….All he would have had to do was turn around, see the issue, stop and fixed it. I spend about a third of my time looking backwards at the string.
Why do saddles roll? A number of reasons. Why do horses step over lead ropes? Who knows, some are just challenged. But as those normal problems on the trail start to occur, you can spot them. Stop and fix them before all hell breaks loose. Just turn around…