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[RC] saddle bags & newbies - Dream Weaver

I carry a lot less these days than I used to. When I was sponsoring juniors I carried more stuff. For just me, I am a bit more of a minimalist:

small first aid kit (with benadryl, aspirin, stronger pain relievers)
two rolls of vetwrap (with duct tape tabs added so it can be opened easily)
chap stick
snacks - gu, balance bar, licorice, etc.
2 water bottles

I keep everything in a pack on the front of the saddle and like to keep room open so that if I want to can add stuff during the ride. I usually will start a ride with a polarfleece ear cover which gets put into the pack later. Or gloves, etc. I always ride in shirts with pockets so that I can carry my map and some other things on me - usually chapstick and a packet or two of Emergen-C or Propel powder, extra tissues or snacks.

I also have a couple of extra clips or caribbeaners and strong string on the saddle. That way I can clip or tie stuff on that others drop on the trail. I also have a hoofpick that I clip onto the side of the saddle - that way I can reach it quickly and easily. I hate to have so much stuff that I have to dig through packs to find it.

On the back of the saddle I usually tie on two boots. One for me in case I need it and one to lend out. Because everybody always comes to me for stuff like that. I also will tie a rump rug on if I am using one that day and have elastic strings (rubber bungee) to use to add rain gear. If I take off a jacket while riding I usually tie that to the front of my saddle: http://enduranceridestuff.com/blog/2008/09/easy-way-to-attach-a-jacket-to-your-saddle/ and http://pets.webshots.com/photo/1149473386055011139EiDqvP

As far as being a newbie goes - I think that every time I start a new horse or go to a ride after not going for awhile, I feel like it's all new to me. Even if you are riding the same horse for a long time you are continually learning because the horses learn, change and evolve just like we do. I don't think there is a time limit or magic mileage # that indicates if somebody is a newbie or not - it has more to do with how somebody handles a new situation or problem. Or, how I like to look at things - what do you do in order to avoid a problem in the first place. Having the experience to know in advance that something is going to cause a problem for the horse or rider and avoiding it is a good indicator that somebody isn't new at this any longer.



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