We use saddle horses and pack horses in all of our camps and on all of our Adventures and Hunts. Horses afford you the luxury of covering rough terrain, crossing rivers, creeks, and packing a very comfortable camp deep in excellent game country where no vehicle or even aircraft can go. When it comes to packing out meat and camp, I’m glad it’s them and not us!
If you do not ride horses a lot (or at all) you are going to be stiff and sore. You should be feeling fairly good to go by the time you head for home. If it is possible for you to ride a horse before you get here, for a few weeks, it would have your body ready for hours in the saddle. If not, no worries!
When you get sore, your knees start aching, have an old injury giving you trouble, or you get cold ~ give a holler, get off, stretch your legs and / or walk a bit. You will be and do better for it. You will get tired, thinking you are too tired to get back on your horse. Not so, and if you have troubles, remember that this is what we do and we are there to help.
Pioneer Outfitters accommodates beginners as well as experienced riders. We will match your individual abilities to the horse that will be your companion on your Adventure.
The unique characteristic of our range horses that spend their lives in the wilderness of the Wrangell Mountains is their inherent knowledge of the trails and how to handle themselves safely in any terrain.
When you leave Pioneer Outfitters, you will have an incredible amount of respect and a soft spot in your heart for these amazing Alaska range horses.
Disclaimer and Reminder: Always, always, always! Check with your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine!
YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITIONING
Please evaluate your physical condition prior to booking your trip. As in most places within Alaska the terrain can be difficult to negotiate. Using horses on our trips allows us to provide comfortable camps, plenty of good food and of course- saves us from packing entire camps on our backs. However, some people do not have the experience with horses to know that horseback riding itself is very hard work.
To optimize your Adventure we strongly recommend some sort of daily exercise prior. If horseback riding is available to you, this is also a good idea- to strengthen riding muscles and to toughin’ up your seat. Please give us notice and let us know if you have a handicap so that we can formulate a plan to optimize your Adventure while lessening your physical output.
There is nothing that is going to get you ready for hours in the saddle, except riding (sorry, it’s true). However, the stronger we are, the easier it will be.
Horseback riding typically uses the following muscle groups:
- Triceps / Biceps
- Inner and Outer Thighs
- Back of the Calf
(yes, I noticed that as well! It pretty much takes your whole body!)
Horseback riding is an amazingly physical activity and sport. It is flexibility, stamina and strength.
Flexibility is important. (It’s best not to have to begin stiff!) Stretching, gently stretching consistently, also makes you stronger.
Now, think about the muscle groups I mentioned above. Here is another related list:
- Lower Back
These are the joints that take all the abuse while you are enjoying your ride. These are the aches and pains that come to everyone who isn’t constantly in the saddle!
Would you like to know why I DO NOT get stiff and sore from riding, each year, after 7 months of Alaska Winter separation? Once I saddle my horse in the Spring, I ride non-stop. The only position I have ever found that relieves the aches and pains, if they are there, is to get back into the saddle.
Ride through it.
Ready to do it? It is so good for you, that it shouldn’t be so wonderful!