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Introduction to Horse Trekking

By: Gerry Barker

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     Gerry has been re-enacting steadily for over 20 years. For the past seven years Gerry and family have been honing their skills as an average farmer on the frontier. Three years ago Gerry and family moved the Kentucky and while living in a land who History was everywhere, Gerry focused on the frontier life of Kentucky around the end of the 18th Century. I don't know of anyone better at what they portray than Gerry Barker - Jason W. Gatliff

In recreating the Southern Colonial frontier one thing most often ignored is the constant presence of horses in the lives of the early settlers. Few people ventured into the wilderness without a horse. Long hunts were made possible by strings of pack horses. Settlers traveled west with their family's belongings on a single pack horse that would become their farm horse once they arrived at their claim and be ridden off to pursue Indians when the man was called out to join his militia company.

Adding this element to our modern attempts at frontier living takes some adjustments. Horses are always a serious responsibility and not all parks and events will allow them. They can cause injury to the participants or others. They need food and reasonable care. They require specialized items, often hard to find in today's world. Still, they bring a realism to our trekking that can be achieved no other way.

Matching a horse to a particular rider and trek is probably the most important single piece of horse safety. While the Colonial horse was small, so were the people. Almost every size, shape and color existed, however. It is more important that the rider be matched to an animal that can carry her or him comfortably, and that its personality will not endanger the rider. A good spirited horse may look great in the movies but if that horse is third in line in a slow moving party threading its way through the mountains, it can make the rider's life miserable.

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This site created 11/24/99 by Historical Enterprises.
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