Hands down, I have said to many people, bringing in new horses to add to Pioneer Outfitters range horse herd, is the hardest, most dangerous thing we do. As Professional Alaska Guides, that says it all.
The 2013 International Horseback Adventure deserves the same respect and recognition that I have promised you always: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
LOL! Here we go!
Horses, untrained and barely broke have their own dangers, no matter where they are. Horses, trained poorly and accepted, as pets are a menace and a literal nightmare.
From loading and unloading these new horses, to figuring out which horse can do what and what horse knows what; life can be Good, Bad or just plain Ugly. Figuring out what coaxes, what scares, what sets which one off. Which horses set each other off; lunging, biting, kicking and screaming. (That would be the horses, people, not me!)
Today will be spent hobbling and packing the new horses. Some may accept both with a minimum of fuss and reassurance. Some may very well be a replay of the day I spent becoming reacquainted with my archenemy: Gravity.
The bottom line for us all, human and horse, is there is no choice. Some will be ridden, some will be packed and all will go home to Chisana.
During the transition that has already begun, from pets or wild critters to HORSE, I caution and remind those on our Team that what we do matters. To the horses they will be, certainly, but also to the guests and clients that will ride them in the future. Our job is to teach them to be horses. To be there when they tangle themselves up, to help them be comfortable with human touches and pats, voices, laughter, sudden sounds and movements; so that nothing startles or scares them.
My own children live with these range horses in the remote Alaskan mountain area. They ride them and help track and care for them during the Winter months, as they range free. As a Mother, I completely understand the caution and worries of something so big and powerful next to people so little and defenseless. This is exactly what we work towards: children and young people to be able to enjoy these special animals without undue concern.
Another trick of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is that we do not have a few months to teach these horses how to be good mounts; we have only days. We will smooth them out over the course of the 85-mile cross-country journey, but they have to be ready to leave. Some, have never drank from running water (Yes, it is funny, but it is also worrisome until they give in.), some have never crossed water, most will have never experienced bogs and all will be required to do all this and more.
I’ll continue to take notes and share what is happening in my handy-dandy notebooks until I reach Chisana and can type it all up to share with you. I hope you laugh, cry, wince and cringe right along with us, through my words. The 2013 International Horseback Adventure is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, in real life.
The 2013 IHA (International Horseback Adventure) from the Yukon to Alaska is an 85-mile journey across some of the most incredible country on the planet. To know the whole story, the links below are in chronological order to bring you up to date. The big box at the bottom of this post is for you to “Stay in the Loop” with us here at Pioneer Outfitters! There is so much more of our journey yet to come and so much happening right now in Chisana, you don’t want to miss a thing!
- The International Horseback Adventure
- The International Horseback Adventure, Part 1
- The 2013 International Horseback Adventure, Home At Last
- The International Horseback Adventure, New Horses
- The International Horseback Adventure, The Yukon