Like all camping you can make this basic or luxurious and every step in between. Most of us sleep in the float, because it is already up and mostly set out, but there is no reason why you can’t sleep in a tent – personal preference really. If you are using a tent, I’m sure you already know what to bring and how to do things – no different from ‘normal’ camping. What I want to talk about here is different options and ideas for ‘float-camping’.
There is no need to buy a goose-neck with living quarters – although that works too of course. Most of us are a bit more basic than this. Let’s start from the beginning:
A basic 2 horse float can be easily and quickly converted into a home away from home. If it is enclosed you’re all set after a quick sweep out; if you have open sides/back, the easiest way is to drape a tarp over the top and back and tie it down – now you have a nice cosy house. You can go a step further and make/buy some vinyl curtains for the sides and back. Inside there is room for a stretcher or air-bed and your gear (horse gear can stay in the car to save a bit of space). A box with your food and cooker can go in the front.
From here you can add to and embellish to your hearts content, hang a light from the roof, and do other interior decorating.
The list of additions is endless: awnings and kitchen boxes/tables on the outside, fold up beds, built-in kitchens in the front… None of these are essential but depending on the length and frequency of your trips you might add one or the other item – have a look how others are doing it and you will find plenty of ideas.
Over the years we have all adapted our home away from home to our liking and you’ll find all of us have set out our floats slightly differently to suit our way of use. Don’t be shy about asking the others for a peek at their set-ups – you might find some ideas to adapt to your own float, and let’s face it: we’re all pretty proud of our rigs and love to show it off 🙂
Now for the horse:
So, that takes care of you (I’ll get into more details like food and cooking in a separate post); what about your four-legged friend? The same as you, your horse needs some ’camping equipment’ to keep him comfortable while away from home. To contain him you will need either a portable yard, or simpler, some ‘piggy tail stakes’, electric tape and a battery powered energiser. I found that 8 stakes make a reasonable sized yard for a horse, and five more for each additional horse. Remember to keep your horses in separate enclosures even if they’re together at home – being away can cause all sort of different reactions and you don’t want your horses to get hurt. An insulated handle for the tape is nice but not essential, as your energiser sits right there to be turned off. Oh, and a hammer comes in real handy to put those stakes into less than accommodating ground.
If you rug your horse, remember to bring the rug(s) and also remember that your horse might not have any shelter in his temporary yard. Food and water bowls complete his home. And because his yard is relatively small, a shovel to clean it out is essential, not to speak of leaving a place the way you found it. There are some long handled shovel and scraper sets in the shops that I think are intended for dogs, but they make the job very easy without taking up too much room in the car/float. An old feed bag can take the collection home.
If you regularly travel to shows and the like, you probably already have a grooming bag, if not, a multi-use shopping bag with a brush, a hoof pick and whatever else you use keeps these tools handy.
Now you are all set, you will probably find that your horse gets a bit closer to you as you are usually the only familiar face around him – another positive side to trail riding / camping 😉
See you on the trail!