The Pack Animal Speed Index

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Well-known member
Mar 2, 2004
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Northeastern BC Canada

Normal Speed: Two steps per four seconds slower than the horse you're riding. One attempted mouthful of grass every 11 steps.

2nd gear: Passes your saddle horse, on either side every 62 feet. Needs to be slapped with rope, but will pull back when you do...and jerk you out of saddle.
Eats grass at a trot. Ducks leadrope under your saddle horse's tail every 600 feet. Result: two wrecks per mile.

3rd gear: Likes to walk ahead of lead horse by at least two feet. Goes on wrong side of most trees. Catches your horse's rump (or your leg) on pannier.
Your temptation to turn pack horse loose is strong. Don't do that...your supper is in those packs.

4th gear: You turned him loose. Eddie Arcaro aboard Secretariat couldn't keep him in sight on a fast track. If you can head him off, he'll run into the timber.
If you can't, you'll be running an ad in the paper.

5th gear: He saw a bear and sold the farm. In rough country this situation is worse, because he gains speed jumping logs. Shoot him if you can -
the horse, not the bear.
Yeah, that's why I love that one. Definately has a 'been there, done that' ring of truth to it.

Reminds me of this time a couple years back when I was packing salt into the pasture. I was riding a fairly good horse, and had decided to pack a big four year old colt of mine that needed a bit of 'seasoning'. You know the old saying of "the best laid plans of mice and men'? Appartantly that should have had 'women' in there as well.

Everything had actually gone pretty well on the trip in, although it was pouring cats and dogs. The colt had tried normal speed, 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear unsuccessfully on the way in, and heading home was trailing along nicely like an old packhorse.

The problem was that due to cold weather, I had imbibed in one too many cups of camp coffee on the lunch break, compounded by a couple of Hubby's guy friends that had come along for the ride and the fact that my jeans had gotten soaked right through my chinks due to the downpour (hard to peel wet jeans up and down)I was hard pressed to find an opportunity for a bathroom break. I had decided to just hang in until we made it to the corrals (nice bunch of modesty perserving spruce trees growing there), and with my back teeth floating I was overjoyed when we turned the bend and they came into sight.

Right about that then, I had to flip the colt's lead rope over my horse's rump because the colt had changed sides for the umpteenth time. Apparently umpteenth plus one equalls explosion in colt mathematics, because that's exactly what that son-of-a-gun did. Explode! He pulled back, jerked the rope out of my frozen fingers, bogged his head between his knees and proceeded to put on a fine display of athleticism that I'm sure would have been appreciated in the Calgary Stampede.

Much to my dismay (and with the appropriate squealing and grunting) he not only bucked off the paniers, he ended up with the pack saddle half hanging off of him. This added to his general frame of mind, because now he was being chased by the long scary snake of the diamond hitch rope, and being mauled by the killer pack saddle under his belly. This of course did nothing to impress my saddle horse, because by this time he had gotten heartily sick of the knothead, and if that snake was going to eat the packhorse, he had no intention of being the second course.

Ten minutes later and a lot of cussing, I managed to catch the colt up. It must have been the slowest rigging re-set in history, considering that the boys were laughing themselves silly, because apparently there's nothing quite so funny as a soggy woman hopping from one foot to the other holding a worked up saddle horse and a snorting colt while trying not to pee her pants. God bless 'em for at least having the decency to gather up the paniers and tie them back on - they weren't feeling that mean. And they sure got left in a hurry, 'cause old Pete and I must've broke the record for the quarter mile dash to get to those spruce trees. ;-)

Take care.
You sho is complaining alot, Annie. I guess the part that I don't get is, if your jeans wuz wet ANYWAY......? You must be the wash woman, too!
Texan":1uh7x8ne said:
You sho is complaining alot, Annie. I guess the part that I don't get is, if your jeans wuz wet ANYWAY......? You must be the wash woman, too!
It was pouring down, raining cats and dogs!!!!!!!!
Ah, not complaining, Texan. Actually it was funny as all get out. And yep, I'm also the queen of the laundry room...oh yay. Willing to resign from that position. Interested? Will feed anyone who wants the job!

Take care.
Probably have to pass on that job, Annie. The title of "queen" of any room is not one that I would be very comfortable with. Anyhow, I don't speak French. I don't like hockey. Probably gets colder up there than it does here, huh? Nope. Count me out.