Tips to help you have a great backcountry guided horseback riding or hunting trip

Riding horses in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho regions around Yellowstone National Park is an experience that you’ll cherish for your lifetime.  If you’re a seasoned equestrian or a first timer, please keep in mind that you’re going to be sitting on the back of a living creature as you wander along a tree lined trail in a primitive area where bears, wolves, moose, elk and many other “critters” call home.  Put the ego away, listen to your guide and exercise caution and you’ll have a trip without incident and hopefully one that will be relaxing and pleasurable.

Dean Johnson, an award winning Cody, Wyoming outfitter, with over 38 years of experience in the industry, shares a few guidelines and tips that are helpful when you are heading into the back country with your outfitter or guide:

1. Always remember horses and mules are animals. They don’t have an on / off switch. Even the gentle ones can be unpredictable. If ones asleep and you startle him, he could kick. Always talk to them and let them know you are there. Be extremely careful of young children, they can dart behind or under a horse in a second. A lot of horses won’t put up with this.

2. Don’t “cowboy” the horses just because you have some experience riding.

3. If you would like to help your guide or outfitter with what’s going on you can offer to help.

4. For those of you planning a western hunt, it is extremely important to get in shape before hand. Most hunts are very physical and it is important to get in good shape. Lose the excess pounds. If you are coming out for either a hunt or a pack trip do some riding before you come as this will help you to stretch out the muscles in your legs.

5. If you have a medical condition let the outfitter or trail guide know about it.

6. Gratuties are accepted by all, including cooks, wranglers and guides.

Dean Johnson