Wednesday, February 21, 2024

2024 Bear Mountain Rendezvous


The Bear Mount Men is holding a rendezvous April 4 through April 6 at a site located east of Redding. When you download the 2-page PDF, you will find a hand drawn map that should get you pretty close to the site.

To download the Registration Form click here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Lucky's Trekking Tips - Muzzle Blasts December 2023

Saddle Up! This month we will look at saddles and blankets, which are important for horse and rider. Let’s start by talking about what’s underneath, the blankets. When trekking horse saddle blankets have two uses. First, to protect the horse and second, your bed pad. They make great padding under you at night and can provide a higher level of comfort than foot trekking.

For fur trade era the only choice is wool, which is probably the best choice of all options even in today’s market. You can find a lot of information about how thick they should be, but I like about 1 ½ inches. My base blanket is the light brown one, with a small wool blanket folded in half that goes over top hanging down further. I have found this to be a great combination to protect Bubbles and for me to sleep on. The key to blankets is really the comfort and protection of your horse.

There aren’t a lot of options to ensure you have a proper, period correct saddle as there are almost no known surviving saddles. This is where you must defer to the people who have done extensive research. My saddle was built by Mitch Alexander, the man I consider to be the expert in period correct saddles of the fur trade era and beyond; and he builds and rawhides them. His research for the St. Louis Saddle came from studying the books, Man Made Mobil by the Smithsonian and The American Military Saddle, 1776-1945, Dorsey, Stephen R. & Kenneth L McPheeters. Mitch also uses various paintings from Alfred Jacob Miller. The main design came from a sketch in Man Made Mobil of what the Smithsonian believes the Thornton Grimsley saddletree looked like.

Mitch has been building saddle trees for more than 30 years, so for a proper saddle, he is the go-to guy at Old Time Saddlery. If you are serious about getting a saddle, he gave me permission to include his contact information here: 608-732-7460, His work is superior, and you will never need another saddle!

Pictured are my saddle and another Mitch built as close to the St. Louis style as possible. They aren’t fancy and they surely don’t have gel cushions! Mine has a simple buffalo epishemore over the top for a bit of added comfort. I built and added tapaderos to my stirrups. These are fantastic in all conditions. In the sage brush of Wyoming, they protect your feet and in the cold winters of the east they help keep your feet warm. Additionally, hanging over my saddle horn is an oilcloth tarp that always rides there. In the rain I unroll it to cover my saddle and gear that is tied to my cantle.

Underneath is a Mitch Alexander handmade mohair cinch with brass rings. My saddle has adjustable rigging. While trekking, if her underside gets sore, I can move the cinch forward or backward to give Bubbles relief.

I know this is a very brief over-view, but if you really want to trek by horse, you can contact me for help, or I can point you to someone in your area. It is a real game changer and more fun to trek by horse! I hope to see you looking over your horses’ ears in the future.

Reprinted with permission from the Author.