SubscribeGift a Sub

Camping with Your Horse

If you love horses and you love camping, why not combine the two? Horse camping is one of the most fun activities you can do with your horse.

Before you hit the campground, you need to make sure your horse is up for the adventure. Your horse should be:

    • Reliable on the trail. You’ll be riding on unfamiliar trails on your trip. Your horse should be calm and relaxed on trail, and well trained to your leg and rein cues. If you’re not there yet, start working with your horse in the arena to teach him to respond to you. Once he’s listening well in the arena, take him on local trails and reinforce what he’s learned.


    • Comfortable in the trailer. You’ll need to trailer your horse to get to your campsite, so be certain your horse loads easily and is comfortable riding in the trailer. If your horse resists loading, work with him to get him to go right into the trailer. Feed him inside the trailer, and take him for short drives. Make the experience pleasant so he will come to associate the trailer with good things.


    • Good with tying. If your campground doesn’t have corrals, you will have to tie your horse to your trailer on a longer lead rope. This means your horse has to be comfortable being tied for long periods of time. If your horse paws or prances when he’s tied, he needs to develop patience. Tie him at home for periods of time after a workout so he learns to stand. Make sure some of that tying time is at the trailer. Once he’s calm and relaxed when tied to the trailer, he’s ready for a camping trip.


  • In good condition. If your horse has been standing around for weeks at a time, don’t take him camping until you’ve had a chance to condition him. At least a month before your trip, start taking him on shorter trail rides and build up to the amount of time you plan to ride him when you camp.

Once you are certain your horse is a good candidate for camping, you need to prepare for your trip:

    • Campground rules. Be sure to check ahead to find out the rules of the campground. Some areas don’t allow hay to be brought in, but require pellets be used for feed. This is to protect native plants from contamination with seeds from invasive plants. Some campgrounds require proof of a Coggins test or a health certificate. Check to see what you need to bring before you hit the road.


    • Amenities. Find out in advance if horse water is available at the campground or if you need to bring your own. See if corrals are set up, and whether a round pen or arena is included at the facilities.


    • Maps. Do some research on the trails you’ll be exploring before you get to your campground. Many parks offer trail maps online. Scope out blogs and other online sources for user reviews of the trails you are considering. You want to have a sense of how long each trail ride will be, and the type of terrain you’ll be negotiating.


  • Supplies. You’ll need to pack everything you and your horse need to live, for the amount of days you’ll be camping. For you, this means food, water, clothing, a tent, sleeping bag and personal items. For your horse, feed, tack, grooming tools, fly spray and everything else he usually uses at home. For a complete list of items to pack when horse camping, visit

Once you’ve gone camping with your horse, you’ll want to do it again. Help your horse enjoy the experience by scheduling your first few camping trips close to home, and just for two or three nights. Your horse will soon learn that camping is fun, and will be ready for an even bigger adventure.

Liked this article? Here are others you’ll love:
Camping with Horses
Leave-No-Trace Horse Packing

Audrey Pavia is a freelance writer and the author of Trail Riding: A Complete Guide. She participates in long distance competitive trail riding with her Spanish Mustang, Milagro.

Audrey Pavia

Audrey Pavia is a freelance writer and the author of Horses for Dummies. She lives in Norco, Calif., with her two registered Spanish Mustangs, Milagro and Rio.

View Comments

Recent Posts

On Top of the World on Clydesdales at the Covell Ranch

The deliberate footfalls from your 1,800-pound mount punctuate the rhythmic squeak of your saddle. You wind your way up the…

8 hours ago

Fostering a Horse

Nexus Equine Rescue, a rehoming partner of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Regional Support…

1 day ago

Lend Me Your Ears: What Does Your Horse’s Ear Position Tell You

Horses coexist as herd animals with complex social relationships that depend on visual and auditory cues to tell friend from…

2 days ago

Shades of the Southwest with Turquoise Jewelry

When it comes to turquoise, it’s not all created equal. Prices for this valuable stone vary due to the demand,…

3 days ago

Horse Career: Daily Life as a Barn Manager

Have you wondered if riding will have to take a back seat to your career once you’ve graduated from college?…

4 days ago

German Warmbloods

Despite fighting a number of regional conflicts over the past millennium and ultimately losing two World Wars, Germany has managed…

5 days ago