Equestrian Survival For Bugging Out, Recon, Rescue, Projection of Force, or Hunting- Part 4, by R.M.

You can buy a lance head and boot at Cotswoldsport to make your lance. Bamboo is a good staff to use, but other woods work. Your ability to control the lance can be influenced; it’s the weight.

I don’t really know western gear. I was trained in the European tradition– German, Austrian, and English styles. So I use that kind of gear. Saddle, cinch, stirrups, bridle with snaffle and bit (eggbut/something soft on the mouth). Know your horse’s teeth. If they need to be floated, do it. All western bits look too hard on the mouth to me. You might know better. If you are controlling your horse (hard mouthed horse) mostly by the mouth, you might not have a horse you can count on in stressful situations. If that’s all you’ve got, make do.

I bring a rasp and prefer a horse who doesn’t need shoes. You can shape his hooves if anything happens to prevent cracks.

I use a small collapsible brass hoof pick, which works quite well and fits in a normal shirt pocket or small pocket on your rig. Pick out the hooves at the start and end of the day as well as any time you think something might have gotten caught up in there. Anything you can do to prevent lameness is worth it.

I bring a curry comb and brush. If gear becomes a problem, you can bring just the brush. Comb and brush the horse at the beginning of the day, and do it again at the end of the day’s labors after removing the saddle.

Hobbles go on now and are an important item to pack. For most horses a halter and lead is a good idea. If you have to hide, you might want to have this to tie the horse away from any action. Some people put these over the regular leather bridle with the lead coiled and tied to the saddle while riding, if there is not enough room to store them elsewhere. This can have a negative effect on your horse’s performance and response to signals.

As you probably know, the halter does not go in the mouth, so it’s used to tie the horse at night. If I am fairly confident of seclusion, I won’t use a halter, just hobbles. In capture the flag exercises, it was better to have a halter, but I must admit I hate bringing a halter and lead on long rides. Having a pack horse eases the issue, but water can be a problem. If you think your horse will be found out, let him graze while you rest out of sight. If you have enough people for a watch, you should be good. If you have a good dog, you should be good. Another issue is what kind of socializer your horse is. If they try to say “hello” to other horses within earshot, they might not be the best choice. I had to train Cloud not to do that. It was slow going and required a lot of patience, but he stopped. The worst thing is to be in the deep forest when your horse decides to say “hidey ho” to a passing horse you can neither see nor hear. Cloud would do that, and this is a good way to get caught.

Fritz has a back pack for his gear; however, I prefer not to use that. You can get a collapsible fabric food/water bowl for your dog. There’s a lot of fancy MOLLE rigs out there for dogs.

You can get a three-day pack for your back, if you don’t have saddle bags or in addition to saddlebags. Compensate for that weight when signaling the horse.

For saddle bags, cavalry style are my choice. You can make them and stitch them together with raw hide strips, or buy some really nice ones. But…yet another but, you have to see how your horse relates to weight on his back. The bags go on behind the saddle, and a water bag might have to go on top of that. If your horse doesn’t like unexpected weight on their back, start slow; hopefully, they will get used to it. Add empty bags at first, then slow degrees of weight introduction. A fit horse should not have a problem with this. They have to know it’s okay.

The same is true for weapons. When you shoot a bow, you have to get the horse used to the bow. Put some of its slobber on the bow. Take a few shots while dismounted. Show them the slobbered bow after each shot. Let them smell it. Pet them. Tell them all is okay. Then mount up with someone on the ground holding the horse, reins on the saddle. Take a shot. The horse is encouraged and rewarded. Progress in kind. Apply this with all weapons and gear if there is a weird response to them.

For example, when running a course of heads on poles for sword practice, a green horse in this practice needs its slobber on each pole. Walk him through it. All is good. There is nothing abnormal, and he will realize a good time as you weave at a full gallop between poles practicing your clean cuts or knocking down heads. Tent pegging is a good way to practice with the lance. Spear throwing or lancing animal targets where the lance is left in the animal all may require the horse’s scent on the weapon, so the horse gets used to it. My experience is, horses are smart. Once they know there is nothing to fear, they deem a thing normal, just an extension of the fun of riding.

The M1913 Patton Sword is good for horse. It can be used as a lance as well. Forward cut back cut at the charge was the common use, but it performs well as a sabre too. There was a company making new ones for $200, and several on sale on Ebay.

For archery gear, use two quivers mounted on a belt around the waist, one on each side with a bow case attached to the saddle. The bow remains strung all the time you are out. Remember an extra bow string and wax, stored in the bottom of your quivers.

A bar of saddle soap* is a good thing to have, depending upon weather conditions. If it’s dusty or wet, you definitely want to soap your leather. Bridles get saddle soap at the end of every day. If sweat goes through saddle pads, the saddle has to soaped. In war-like situations, the bridle always gets cleaned; the saddle can wait, as long as any mud is cleaned off. I prefer cleaning all tack at the end of every day.

Don’t let your horse eat with a bit in his mouth. If you don’t clean it fast, it’s hard to clean. If you put it in his mouth the next day dirty, it may irritate the horse’s mouth, which is a sure way to force yourself into uncomfortable situations.

Your personal gear is a matter of choice. What you might need in addition to these things is based upon your horse’s individual needs. Most people will opt for one long gun and one hand gun. You inevitably have to assess the situation, your comfort levels, your estimate of your horse’s abilities and stamina. You will have to determine how much ammunition you will need, based upon what demands could most likely be placed upon you. How many mags you need and quantity of rounds for potential use of the different arms you bring will again vary.

If you are riding with others, techniques of covered withdrawal, of organized lanes of fire, overwatch teams, techniques of spontaneous ambush, and other 4GW methods are advised, and skills and expectations of your point (should have dog) person, should be understood and incorporated into normal routine for your group. A firm set of signals with people is as important as signals between you and your horse. Simplicity is best in most circumstances. Don’t confuse the help. Also realize that it is better to get off the horse to shoot. Try to plan accordingly. Practice shooting on horseback, because you might not be able to dismount.

Hope I haven’t taken too long. I could probably add more, but I tried not to over do it. The picture I’ve tried to paint is that there’s many wonderful things to do on your horse. They are smart companions and an important part of the war band. If nothing else, lots of skills can be learned through them. Be careful. All the practices I have described can be dangerous for the inexperienced. Be constructively critical of your abilities and performance.

Though we may be passing through apocalyptic times, we should rejoice at the coming of the Messiah and the final Judgment. We must pass through the tribulation in order to embrace the resurrection and the light. There is an inexhaustible number of possibilities, and we must all do our part in preserving and enjoying God’s creation.

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