BCHA-Back Country Horsemen of America
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Gary Staplekamp and Vern Jahnke were both asked:
How long have you been packing and how did you get started?
Gary’s Answer: Started packing in the Sierra’s in 1971. been on horses all my life.
Vern’s Answer: I've been riding horses for a LONG time. I started packing 16 years ago. I started with mules, which is in reverse of what most people do. Most start with horses and then if they have a lot of "grit" may try starting mules. I purchased all the reading material I could find, took what I thought was the best from each book and started training. The reason I've leaned more toward mules is, you can use smaller mules, which are easier to load, but they can carry the same load as a larger horse. That said, it makes no difference, horse or mule, it all depends on the willingness of the equine. I also worked with a number of "packers" and have used what I think is the best of what I've learned.
Thanks so much Vern and Gary for being willing to share your knowledge with us!
Good morning Kristie. Pack saddles are built for horses & mules. The difference is in the way the frame is made. Most packers in this area use a sawbuck frame. I prefer the Decker frame pack saddle. I have 2-3 books about packing. If you want to read them before you purchase a pack saddle, you can read them.. Gary
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Gary and Vern,
This question is for both of you.
Q 1. What type of packing equipment would you suggest for me to purchase? I don't have a mule, I only have horses (I wish I had a couple of mules), there are several types to choose from and I am sure part of the question to me would be what type of packing will I be doing? The type of packing I would be doing is supplies for working on trails and food supplies.
Q 2. How do I measure, where do I measure and how do I determine what size equipment to purchase?
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The SJBCH 2015 - 2016 Officers
L - R: Mikc Pluth - Vice-President (new)
Bob Parsons - Treasurer (2nd year)
Ted Wortman - Presdient (new)
Mary Beth McAuley - Secretary (new)
the type of pack saddle I use is a sawbuck, also called a cross buck. If you decide to use a saw buck, the most important item is the best heavy duty, thick, pack blanket you can buy. Pack equine will gain and/or lose weight between the beginning and the end of the season. A good thick HD blanket will make up for most of this weight change. As for fitting the bars on the sawbuck, it's best to wait until your equine has lost it's winter coat before you try fitting it. The way I do it, is someone help you by pushing down on the frame and run your hand under the bars. Take a marker or pencil and mark the high and low parts
of the bars. If it's a close fit, the pack pad will work on small gaps. If you need to reform the bars, use a belt sander to do the reshaping . If you make a mistake, and can't get the shape right, or buy a used saddle that won't fit, you can go on-line and order new bars, and start over. Make sure you also have a "lash-cinch "with about a 50 to a 55in. lash rope to tie everything down .
I hope this answers your questions.
A NEW COLUMN DEDICATED TO PACKING INFORMATION AND PACK ANIMALS
by Vern Jahnke and Gary Staplekamp
WITH A QUESTION AND ANSWER SECTION.
Vern and Gary will be sharing some nuggets of wisdom with us through monthly articles that will include a Question and Answer section, please submit any questions you have by emailing one or both, make sure you include your name, phone number and the date.
Email Gary: email@example.com
Email Vern: firstname.lastname@example.org
PACK - CHAT
More photos on the News & Photos page (go to the upper left hand of page to click on) NEWS & PHOTOS
Lori Beach & Ted Wortman carried the SJBCH Banner introducing our riders in the Pagosa Springs, CO. 4th of July, 2015 Parade.
Who Are We?
BCHA are men and women who belong to a national non-profit organization. We are a 501(c)(3) serving 174 local and state chapters across the country. Our grassroots members—responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organization’s mission and values—lead BCHA organizations throughout the United States. BCHA chapters are active in 27 states consisting of roughly 13,000 members who are dedicated to keeping trails open for all on our public lands. Our chapters work closely with trail partners and local land management agencies to clear and maintain those trails. [BCHA at Work on the Trail]
What Does BCHA Do?
In 2012, Back Country Horsemen of America volunteers spent 372,000 hours working to maintain trails on public lands. That equates to a value of $12.5 million dollars in trail work donated to local and federal land managing agencies. Since 1995, BCHA members contributed a value equal to $86.66 million in volunteer hours.
We invest in active participation by young leaders in the wise and sustainable use of wilderness and back country resources. We coordinate with conservation corps and youth groups, United States Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management to ensure tomorrow's leaders have outdoor and wilderness experiences. As youth groups work with us and our partners, they learn about themselves and about stewardship of our most treasured resources. BCHA, its youth partners, and other volunteers leverage funds many times over in delivering projects to clear and maintain trails.
Are you a hiker, biker, or horseback rider who gets out and enjoys trails? We do much of the work that goes unseen to clear and preserve the safety and continued enjoyment of your outdoor experience. Yup, much of our work does involve "horsepower" as well as human power. The majority of our pack trips with horses and mules assist trail crews get food, camping gear, and trail maintenance equipment into areas where four-wheeled vehicles cannot go. We help two-footed trail workers get more done by packing in what they need.
WHO ARE THE BACK COUNTRY HORSEMEN of AMERICA and WHAT DO WE DO.....
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Nancy Seay riding Leah with her dog Sillana 5/13/15
San Juan Back Country Horsemen
P.O. Box 682
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
We are a group of guys and gals who share a passion of horseback riding in the back country. Our goal is to share our knowledge and our skills with our community. We want to keep and protect our trails for future generations.