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Mountain Horsemanship

...veterinary care and horsepacking in the wilderness

As fun as it was, the Mustangs trip isn’t the main business of Rock Creek Pack Station. As the name implies, Rock Creek primarily operates pack trips throughout the Sierra Nevada, which vary in length from 3-10 days.

When I enrolled for the Mustangs course, I happened across one such pack trip – Mountain Horsemanship: Veterinary Care and Horsepacking in the Wilderness. The description sold me on another horse class:

This seven-day pack trip covers the essentials of horsepacking with the Golden Trout Wilderness of the High Sierra’s as your laboratory… You’ll learn about packing equipment, fitting saddles, making loads, hitches, leading strings of mules, back-country shoeing, veterinary skills… and more…

We rode into the Golden Trout Wilderness making camps at Ramshaw Meadow, Little Whitney Meadow, and Big Whitney Meadow. During the days we would either pack the mules and ride to the next camp, or ride the horses to a nearby landmark and have lunch.

In total, there were four packers and seven students. Kaelin, our cook, prepared delicious breakfasts and dinners; Phil and Clay took care of the animals and taught us about hitch tying and horse shoeing; and Sean helped Phil and Clay with camp setup and teardown.

By definition, the wilderness is far from civilization – quite literally, you’re on your own. Mountain Horsemanship was arguably my longest and deepest wilderness experience to date; apart from seeing people on the first and last days, the only other people we saw were 6 hikers who came through our camp in Little Whitney Meadow on a trans-Sierra hike. Packing your entire camp with mules, however, allows for a certain amount of luxury… From past hiking trips I could sympathize with one of the hikers when he said how nice it would be to sit in a chair – it was very nice.

The lunchtime view of Sequoia National Park and Mt. Whitney from Kern Peak.Camp near Ramshaw Meadow.Dust is good for denim.The bell mare in Little Whitney Meadow.Testing out the telephoto lense.Off the beaten path and on the way to Big Whitney Meadow.Packing the mules and learning the box hitch.Phil shoeing a mule.Sean getting a close-up of Jigsey.My sure-footed and hungry horse, Shane.The Mountain Horsemanship class of 2009: myself, Phil, Michael, Kaelin, Paul, Doris, Jan, Noel, Clay, Ann, and Sean.

3 Responses to “Mountain Horsemanship”

  1. Kaelin Says:

    WOW this is awesome!!!
    I feel famouse!!!!
    I love the pics that ya sent!! i cant believe you were able to narrow down all the pics that you took to just those few!!! its really amazing!! I think we schould have an official picture taker on all our trips!
    take care,
    your cook,
    Kaelin

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