As I prepare for my journey and I discuss it with friends and associates, I’m reminded of how much preparation is actually needed to give a trip like this a fighting chance of success.
In my head I go back to the title my web designer used for my blog site:
Horse travel adventure.
I butted heads with her over that, I said it’s so much more than an adventure. It’s a research trip and it’s a journey back to where I spent several winters. Quite frankly I’m beginning to think I’m preparing to go on a long expedition.
Adventure implies a romantic, happy go lucky attitude to me, where no matter what happens good or bad, it’s all good.
To me, an expedition implies a voyage with a purpose, where specific information and/or contacts are cultivated and gathered, and where what is gained often comes at a high cost.
Looking at those 2 definitions, I am most clearly going on an expedition.
Here are some components of my trip that illustrate the extensive planning required to smooth the way and minimize the dangers and down time.
Countless hours pre trip are spent researching quality tack that is comfortable, durable and light. Same with clothing choices. As I will be traveling the first 6 months with nighttime lows near freezing I have special considerations. I will write another post closer to take off, showcasing my ultra lightweight gear, clothing and tack choices.
Route logistics and legalities also take a lot of pre planning. Crossing borders is a negative experience for many, including famed long rider Felipe Leite. I have looked into the procedures and paperwork needed to cross nations in a safe timely matter. You don’t just show up and hope for the best…To ensure the best possible transition, I have cultivated relationships with border vets and custom agents. I am in the process of getting official letters of recommendation that will help smooth the way with obstructive bureaucrats at borders and in general.
Also, I am crafting a horse health certificate template, that will be signed off by any and every vet I see along route, to counter those who feel that any animal that is used for work purposes in inherently overworked or abused.
Everything in preparation is to further my goals:
- A safe, healthy journey for me and Roxy.
- Time to gather research material for my future books.
- Cultivation of contacts for future projects and friendships.
- A support system and re-discovered health for my middle age.
- An exercise in dynamic and intentional minimalism.
The best resources for long journeys by horse are found here:
The Long Riders Guild
2 resource books I have purchased from them are:
The Horse Travel Handbook
The Cavalry Horse and his Pack
These two, plus
Endurance Riding, from Beginning to Winning
Survival Wilderness Camping
Have been my 4 go to books to help me prepare for this upcoming expedition. The info in these 4 books have helped with all components of my horsemanship, and without this guidance I would be a lost fish in the sea…