More and more questions coming in regarding this subject -so here’s a look at the equipment I carry and specifically how best to manage building a corral on your own at the end of a long day with two hungry horses!
Equipment I carry (photos below):
- 2 x spools of electric tape
- 2 x collapsible water buckets and a collapsible water carry container
- 8 x telescopic fishing bank sticks with rod rest tops (50-90cms)
- Guys lines and pegs
- Gaffa tape to insolate pole tops (if not rubber like mine)
- Baler twine for around trees etc to prevent conduction loss
- Electric energiser (if required) I use a Shrike Hotline 100
- 2 D cell batteries
Top Tips for Corral Building on your own:
- Get to the camp spot, untack, (de-boot if you use hoof boots), tie the horses up somewhere or if nothing available – put long lead ropes on the horses, trailing on the ground and take 10mins to just breathe!!! Most of the time they will stand on the ropes and just stop themselves from wandering too far.
- During these 10mins see where your horses gravitate to.
- Build your corral with your horses outside of it if you can, use as many trees, fences, attachment to walls / buildings as you can to make it stronger.
- Accept that you will have to stop at times to return horses to where you can manage them (if no tie up).
- I find it easier if building a free standing corral to build a square / rectangle -putting posts (bank sticks) in first -keep your lines straight, roughly guy out your corner posts, then add the tape last. Remember to create a gate way and re-adjust guy lines when the tape is in place.
- Once built, then pop your horses inside it.
The reason I suggest to build with horses outside, is that I once had Yogi panic about something during construction and he ran through the tape, took it with him, it hit the back of my knees, and dragged me a little before it unsnagged. If you can tie your horses to something, all the better but often where I am -there is only a patch of grass! Thus let them decide where they want to eat for 10mins before you begin construction a little further away… back to the tips…
- In the morning saddle up and pack up as much as you can with them in the corral.
- Have your saddle bags arranged that the corral goes in the last bag that goes up on the saddle.
- If you can leave a patch of fresh grass (probably the bit they were on when you built the corral) then they can move on to it for when you are deconstructing the corral. -Similar set up, tie up if you can, but if not use long lead ropes.
- Accept that during deconstruction you may be interrupted by returning horses to where you can manage them (if no tie up).
- Put corral gear in last bag to go on the saddle/pack everything else should be totally ready to go.
- Celebrate the frustrations of corralling on your own with two hungry horses. Self-supported travel is an amazing experience and despite the faff and hard work, you are out there doing it when many wouldn’t!
I know other people use other methods such as highlines, tethers or hobbles that are probably much easier to set up on the trail, but I like the freedom a corral gives my horses at the end of a long tiring day. They can move around to avoid biting insects or keep warm, find a comfy spot for a roll or a lie down, stand nose to tail with their trail partner and just chill. I’m also much more relaxed knowing they won’t get up to mischief or become tangled when I’m wrapped up in my cosy sleeping bag listening to their munching and snores through the fly sheet :o).