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camp-banner (26K)

deb-camping (18K)Horse owners know that one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is to go camping with your horse. It's a perfect fit because horseback riding is such an outdoor sport and most horse owners get a lot of enjoyment from spending time outdoors. Camping with your equine pal is a great way to combine the two and really get to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with your horse.

We are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a beautiful National Forest with countless opportunities to ride and camp. The Apache-Sitgreaves web site is a great place to begin planning your trip because it has so much useful information about the campgrounds, trails, elevations, access, seasons, facilities and more, way too much to list here. Most importantly, you will find which areas are horse friendly and offer the best riding opportunities - not that there is such a thing as a bad riding opportunity anywhere in the White Mountains!

corral (10K)There are several campgrounds in the forest that have permanent corrals that make it very convenient to camp with your horse. These locations include; Tutt Creek, Red Hill, Hannagan Trailhead, and Strayhorse, to name a few. Most of these corrals are approx. 12'x12', made of pipe or panels and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending upon the location, there are anywhere from 2 to 5 corrals with varying types of facilities such as restrooms, fire rings, Bar-B-Q's, picnic tables and so on. Most of these are conveniently located at trailheads that are popular with equestrians and are commonly used as staging points for backcountry riding and camping. While it is not required that you use one of these areas when camping with your horse, they do offer some conveniences that are welcome by some campers, especially if you have a camper or trailer with living quarters. Within the Springerville District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest there is one campground that is devoted to horse campers only. Gabladon Campground has 5 units with corrals made of treated wood poles and sits in a beautiful location right on the edge of Mt. Baldy Wilderness area and trail 95. There are several trails in the area including Railroad Grade Trail 601 that is 19 miles long and follows a historic railroad right-of-way with gentle grades and unbeatable scenery. A unique feature about this trail is an 80-foot long trestle bridge similar to those used at the turn of the century. Gabaldon Campground is not far from Big Lake and if you take highway 261 from Springerville, it is paved much of the way. The Springerville District also has a very comprehensive trail guide that you can download from their web site.

Before you pack your bags and load up your horse there are a few things you should know. First, you can only camp in one location for 14 days - which is a lot of time to take off work but not much time when you are having fun camping! You will have to bring your own feed, don't count on grazing your animals and be sure to research if the area you will be camping has water. At some locations water is not readily available so you will have to haul your own. Be sure not to camp within 200 feet from lakes and streams and scatter manure and excess feed before leaving. ./pics/horse-only (6K)If you are not using one of the corrals you will have to use a hitchline with tree straps, electric corrals, hobbles and/or pickets to secure your stock. It is also a good idea to get your animals conditioned so they are in good enough shape to handle the trip.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of being out in the wilderness with your horse. It really gives you a sense of camaraderie with your animal and I think the horses enjoy being out just about as much as we do! Camping with your horse and spending time outdoors is always a fun adventure that somehow seems to put everything in perspective. Challenge yourself and make the commitment to plan a fun camping trip with your family, friends and of course, your horse!

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There are several helpful articles including: 'Surviving an Equine Emergency' and 'Just a Bit of Information' about choosing the correct bit for your horse.

Two Bar Training
P.O. Box 30 Nutrioso, AZ 85932
Phone 928-339-4211 Fax 928-339-4393