By Ken Carmichael
Now that snow is on the ground and it is colder, some of us turn our attention to things other than riding down the trail. I am speaking about those of us that are fair weather riders and without an indoor arena.
This does not mean that we totally divorce ourselves from the horses. After all, many of us are still out there at least twice a day to feed them and check the water. Some even have to clean stalls.
Winter can be a special time to get other projects done. This includes checking and cleaning our tack. Two things we do not want to happen during the primary riding season are to have our tack out of commission for cleaning or repair or, to have a serious accident due to our tack.
So my answer for this is get after it now. This winter, after the Super Bowl, I will bring all the tack inside for a good cleaning. This is a major project as it takes several days to take apart each saddle, wash, oil and reassemble.
This process gives the additional benefit of providing us a good time to really take a hard look at the tack and see what needs repair. There are many benefits. First is safety. Damaged or weekend tack can result in a nasty accident with unfavorable results. Second, tack can end up at the repair shop when we want to be riding. Third, tack will last much longer when property cared for.
What about those saddlebags? This assumes that we all carry saddlebags with first aid and survival equipment. This is important wherever we ride or for how far. Winter is a good time to spread these supplies out on the table and evaluate them. Are you carrying everything you need, are there things you do not need, do you know how to use them and are the items in good repair and not out of date? It behooves us all to carry at least a small quantity of supplies. For example, if everyone carries one vet wrap and gauze when there is a major injury we combine our resources. I have seen that happen.
At the same time we can review what is in the vet box in the trailer and barn.
During the winter is a good time for another project. There are many great places around Spokane to ride and camp. Now is a good time to get out the maps and calendars with your riding partners and make plans. If additional information is needed about a location it is a good time to talk to friends and land managers.
When planning 2019 you should consider membership in the Ponderosa Chapter of Back Country Horsemen (BCH) and attending the Scavenger Hunt in Riverside State Park Saturday, September 28. The statewide rendezvous is in Ellensburg March 15-17. Back Country Horsemen is a place where all of these issues are discussed and we share experiences and knowledge. Contact us on Facebook at Ponderosa Chapter of Back Country Horsemen, or www.pbchw.com, or 509-466-2225. We meet the first Tuesday of the month.
Stay warm and be prepared for a great year of riding in 2019