What to Bring

GEARIN' UP TO HIT THE SADDLE

 


A Guide to Help You Prepare for Your Horseback Adventure Experience


Pre-Trip Preparations:
     This is a summary of some preparation tips that we want all of our guests to know about before their equestrian vacation. This information will increase your odds of an enjoyable vacation and reduce the number of negative factors that can affect it. It is very important that you read and study this information carefully and completely before beginning your horseback adventure. Call if you have any questions or need anything clarified.

Physical Conditioning = CORE STRENGTH!
      You need to be in above average physical and mental condition and lead an active lifestyle to ride successfully on a Blue Sky Sage horseback adventure. We highly recommend workouts that include Pilates and/or yoga, to build your core strength and breathing. We highly recommend the practice of core building and awareness in a neat little book by Tom Nagel entitled "Zen & Horseback Riding: Applying the Principles of Posture, Breath and Awareness to Riding Horses", Second Edition, Foreward by Sally Swift. This little gem is the best guide to explaining the importance of core strength as it relates to riding, and how to engage and build those muscles.
     Extensive walking, 5-10 miles per week at a brisk pace will help you get into shape, as will bicycling, and especially climbing hills or a step machine. These activities will work some of the same muscles you will use while riding. A pair of form-fitting Lycra-blend biking shorts (no padding) or leggings worn under your jeans often help reduce chafing. Being overweight by even 20 pounds will make it more difficult for you to ride successfully and can actually cause injury to our Horses. We are not too fond of gel or sheepskin seat padding on our saddles, so contact us to discuss if you have a physical issue that you feel necessitates the use of one.
      If you have any medical problems or physical limitations, we need to discuss these issues with you before you choose a ride. Let us know of any dietary considerations or special medical conditions you may have; within reason we can accommodate a gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian diet IF WE KNOW WELL IN ADVANCE. When you complete the Guest Information Form for us, there is a place to detail all of your diet and health conditions. For vegans, you will need to plan on bringing supplemental protein. A reasonable exercise program, starting now, will help you avoid many sore muscles as well as prepare you better for the horseback riding you will be doing. We want you to be healthy and happy when you are on vacation here. There is more information regarding physical fitness and riding skill level on the website.

Horses:
      Because we are Cowgirls and Cowboys here at Blue Sky Sage, we ride Cowboy Horses. Our saddle remuda is composed of ranch-raised Quarter Horses, Quarter/Draft cross and a few mustangs that are gentle, sound and active animals. These Horses are intelligent and wise, and are not the stereotypical "dude horse." They are all well-suited to the faster paced riding in rough country that our experienced riders engage in, yet quiet and gentle for the less vigorous pace that we start out at with for everyone. There are no gaited horses used in this operation.
      For years, Blue Sky Sage has practiced and promoted a "native horse" philosophy, which is used continuously in our year 'round Horse operation. It provides a safe and effective environment for both humans and Horses. This philosophy is a blending of the horsemanship methods of Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman, as well as a good sprinkling of open range Cowboy practices. This style of horsemanship creates a well-mannered, safe, willing and enjoyable trail and ranch Horse and a willing and effective human riding partner. For mental preparation, we recommend you read any books by Ray Hunt, Tom and Bill Dorrance or Buck Brannaman.
     Also, we have developed our own custom trail saddle, the Blue Sky Sage Signature "Double Wade", which every guest and staff member will ride. Here is a link to the evolution of our take on this exceptional close-contact trail saddle.

While We Are In Camp:
     The camp is your home while you are out here. Please keep litter, cigarettes and other trash picked up and placed in trashcans. Fire safety is a critical point in our area, as the country is dry with much grassland, sagebrush and some timber that can go up in flames fast. Smoking is not permitted while riding or on the trail; smoking is allowed during a lunch break or in camp. Please extinguish the cigarette or cigar properly and put it in your pocket or saddlebag to be disposed of in a trashcan back in camp. Please do not throw cigarette or cigar butts on the ground anywhere. The same goes for trash - carry everything you take out with you back to camp and dispose of it properly. Non-burnable items are to be disposed of in the proper trashcans in camp. NO CANDLES OR FIRE ALLOWED IN THE TENTS.

Shuttle Transportation:
      Round trip shuttle transportation between the tent camp and several hotels in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is provided by Blue Sky Sage and is COMPLIMENTARY.  The shuttle will depart from the last pickup by 9:00 a.m. on Day 1 for the camp and at 9:00 a.m. on Day 7 from the camp back to Jackson, arriving around noon.  We recommend guests fly into the Jackson Hole Airport no later than the day before Day 1 of your trip with Blue Sky Sage is to begin and plan on spending the night in one of the fine hotels in town where we will pick you up.  Return to Jackson on Day 7 will again be around noon, so a return flight out of Jackson Hole at 3:00 p.m. or later is possible, though we recommend staying in Jackson that evening as well.  NOTE: The price of your Blue Sky Sage trip does not include any pre-or post- trip expenses. These costs may include but are not limited to: airline tickets, vehicle transfers, rental vehicles, lodging or meals or personal items purchased.

Hotel Recommendations in Jackson:
     We've discovered that only the really high-end places offer airport shuttle, so you'll have to catch a cab or the All-Trans shuttle bus to your hotel from the airport and back.
Golden Eagle Inn:   Off the Town Square a bit, quiet area, comfortable fishing lodge atmosphere, and very reasonable rates between $180.00 and up per night, no breakfast. Call direct for 10% discount at 307.733.2042.
Rustic Inn:   Higher end place, exceptional breakfast buffet included in rate.
Ranch Inn: Very economical, near the square, continental breakfast.
Jackson Hole Alltrans Shuttle: Transportation from the Jackson Hole Airport to your hotel, you can book online in advance.
The Cowboy Shop: Cowboy and Western Wear in Pinedale, Wyoming or call 1-877-567-6336
Flat Creek Saddle Shop:  Tack, saddles, silk bandanas, riding gloves, in Jackson, Wyoming

Alcohol and Drinking:
      It is perfectly acceptable for guests to bring their favorite alcoholic beverages and mixers into camp to enjoy while socializing, and we will stop in Pinedale to pick up liquor and sodas if you so choose. However, we draw a strict line as to when and where drinking will take place. Absolutely no alcohol is allowed while riding or in the field for any reason, by anyone. Camp is the only appropriate place to drink and only if you are done riding for the day and will not be going back into the field. All guests can enjoy a cocktail or a beer in the evening on occasion and we only ask that everyone practice moderation. The company does not provide alcohol to anyone and we reserve the right to take appropriate measures if someone gets out of hand due to drinking excessively.

Gratuities:
      We are asked each year about the proper etiquette of tipping staff members. Gratuities are by no means required, however they can make up a substantial part of employee earnings for the short season worked. If you are inclined to reward any or all of the staff members for a job well done, it will most certainly be appreciated.
      There are usually 3-4 staff members on each trip; the Cook, the Camp Jack and the Wrangler and/or Trail Boss. An appropriate range for gratuities for the service performed is between $100-$200 per staff member, per individual guest. These guidelines are just a range and are not set in stone. Individual guests may give gratuities to each person privately or the group may wish to pool the gratuities and have them divided among the crew members. Either way is an acceptable option.

Emergency and Evacuation Procedures:
      In the event of an injury or emergency situation arising while guests are in the field or in camp, and until emergency personnel arrive, standard accepted practices of emergency treatment by qualified staff members may be administered. If an air or ground evacuation is deemed necessary, the plan of action used by High Wild & Lonesome LLC (dba Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures) will be implemented and the proper authorities notified to request the evacuation. A cellular telephone is available in camp for emergency use only. All costs associated with treatment for injuries by professional, medically trained providers administering care after the Blue Sky Sage staff is relieved of their emergency duties, are the responsibility of the injured person requiring treatment. The costs of any evacuation are to be paid by the injured person or his/her legal guardian. All staff members have completed a minimum of Basic First Aid and CPR course.

Shipping your Gear or other items for camp? June 1-September 10, ship UPS, FedEx or other ground transport to:
Moosely Mail and More  (307-367-7234 or Email at mooselymail@hotmail.com ) 34 North Franklin Ave., Pinedale, WY  82941
ATTENTION: Blue Sky Sage Horseback Adventures, Bobbi or Mike Wade, 307-260-7990
DO NOT SHIP ANYTHING TO OUR WINTER OFFICE LOCATION, AS THERE WILL BE NO ONE TO RECEIVE IT OR PICK IT UP.

LIST OF CLOTHING AND PERSONAL ITEMS TO BRING

*NOTE: After much consideration, we have decided that we will no longer be able to allow the use of any saddles on our horses except our own Blue Sky Sage Signature "Double Wade" saddles. Proper saddle fit is just so critical to the comfort and safety of both horse and rider, and even the slightest discomfort causes problems for the horses. Thank you for your understanding!

Jeans or riding britches, 2 pair. Jeans should have a smooth seam on the inside of the legs and should fit so there are no big wrinkles or bunches around your knees or on the leg. Wrangler Q-Baby women's jeans are a new option that are fantastic, as are Aura by Wrangler. There are also several types of riding britches that are fitted smooth to the body that won't gather or bunch. Any kind that does that will cause chafing and  "hot spots" around the knees and thighs.  *Special tip: thong underwear are not recommended ;) / BW

Cowboy boots or riding boots, with slick soles and a moderate riding heel. English riding boots are acceptable. Leather soles are preferred, but are hard to come by, so a smooth sole of rubber is okay, like a paddock boot.  Please do not bring any other footwear for riding. Roper brand  "Horseshoes" and Ariat brand light hiking-style boots that are advertised as riding boots (NOT!), anything with a lug sole, and any type of shoe are not acceptable. True riding boots have smooth soles so you can grip the stirrup without your foot sticking and plenty of heel so they won't go through the front of the stirrup. They may not be the best for walking, but you will be riding with them and safety dictates that only a true riding boot be used. READ THE BLUE SKY SAGE RIDING BOOT OPINION HERE

Other items to bring are:
Long sleeved, light colored cotton blend shirts/blouses with a stand-up collar, 4        
Headlamp and/or flashlight & spare batteries
Heavy shirt or sweater                                                        
Camera (preferrable to a cell phone for photos around the horses)
Heavy fall jacket or coat                                                         
Socks (2 pair per day)                                                        
Sunglasses
Warm gloves & riding gloves                                             
Hat with a wide brim & stampede (tie-down) string        
Camp shoes (sneakers)
Bath towel
Swim wear and water shoes for the river                                                                               
Rain gear (good quality, no ponchos. WE DO NOT HAVE EXTRA RAIN SLICKERS SO YOU MUST BRING YOUR OWN!)   
Sunscreen                                                                            
We provide good, clean sleeping bags, so save the space in your luggage!  Do bring a sheet liner and pillow         
Necessary medications     
Toiletries                                                                              
Knit stocking cap (for chilly nights )
Sweat pants & shirt, shorts, camp wear                           
Sport Bra (highly recommended for women)       
Lip sunscreen                                                                      
Cotton bandanas
Blue Sky Sage will provide canteens for water.

Optional Items:                                                                  
Binoculars                                    Chaps (English half-chaps or chinks like we wear out here)
Riding helmet                               Personal snacks & beverages (we do not provide liquor, soda, or specialty drinks, but we'll stop and pick up whatever you want before heading out                                                                                                          to camp)
Lycra bike leggings (to wear under your jeans, help prevent chafing NO PADDING)

For June and September you also will need the following, in case of chilly weather:
Long Underwear                                           Winter hat
Warm winter gloves                                      Winter coat
Chaps or wool pants recommended
Extra warm socks that will fit in your boots

A private shower tipi is set up for bathing in camp. Range tipis accommodate one person comfortably, with a cot, sleeping bag, and foam mattress for your sleeping comfort. We do have larger tents for couples or those who want to share a tipi.

Some Other Important Things to Know:
It is the desire of the Blue Sky Sage owners and staff to do everything we can to provide you with an enjoyable, safe and exciting adventure. If, during the course of your stay you become dissatisfied with any aspect of your trip or if you have any complaints, please come to the owners immediately and tell them what is on your mind. Many times when problems arise, they can be resolved quickly and easily with prompt attention. There are also many safety and management issues out there that are probably not specifically mentioned here. Our intent with this publication is to help you gain a good understanding of the scope of the experience you are about to participate in. As is true with any outdoors adventure, there are risks involved that we all assume, guest as well as staff, and it is important for everyone to understand that fact.

Riding Boots: They Ain't Made for Walkin' . . .

As an aspiring horsewoman and professional horseback vacation provider, little things come to my attention every so often that manifest into rather monumental revelations. Take BOOTS for instance and what the definition of that word encompasses. For the purposes of horseback riding, I'm going to discuss RIDING BOOTS here.

In spite of all the technology and marketing the major boot manufacturers of the world have pummeled the consumer with in recent years, much of what is being touted as a "riding boot" in the marketplace is anything but.  I think if we are sincere in our efforts to be better riders, and sincere in our horsemanship, we owe it to the horse and our own safety to equip ourselves properly and the choice of boots for riding makes a big difference toward that end. Many of  today's so-called "riding boots" are designed more for the comfort and ease of the human while on the ground than to have a sensitive feel in the stirrups or the irons. It is our belief that a true riding boot has these characteristics:Mike's riding boot, an   Olathe brand, leather sole, used  slightly!

a) A smooth, slick sole that is thin and will allow your foot to actually feel the stirrup through the bottom of your boot.  Leather soles are the only sole material that affords this feel and lets your foot actually grip the bottom of the stirrup or iron. Soles that are made of composite materials or have any "stickiness" to them, or any kind of traction-type pattern not only elevate the foot away from the stirrup, but they are too "tacky" and can prevent you from sliding a foot out of the stirrup in a hurry if necessary. HOWEVER, it is really hard to find leather sole boots off the rack, so if you have to get a composite sole, make sure they are smooth, with no traction lugs at all.A genuine cowboy boot  with the traditional underslung  riding heel. Mike's fancy boots!

 

b) A definitive heel that is separated from the forward sole of the boot. This is especially important to reduce the chance of the foot going too far into the stirrup and getting wedged or even worse, going completely through. If your heel isn't slightly elevated from the ground and there is no daylight showing between the boot heel and the ball of your foot when you look at the boot from the side, then the boot is not designed for riding.  Of course, proper stirrup size enters into this equation as well.

Custom-made White Cowboy Riding Packers, for Bobbi's "special" feet, well broken in!
c) The boots fit properly on your feet and are "broken in".  Some of us have feet that do not comply with to the standard shoe/boot sizes that are available "off the shelf." Many things affect the shape of our feet, i.e. bunions, low or high arches, width, etc. If you have feet with unusual characteristics, you may need to have good riding boots custom-made to accommodate those issues. Of course they will cost more, however a quality pair of custom-made riding boots should fit your feet comfortably and properly, and they will last many years if taken care of. Once you have a pair of boots that fit properly, you will have to go through a little suffering to break them in, probably having to walk and ride in them to get them conformed and softened to your feet, but this is true with any boot and getting them broken in gradually is better than jumping right into a 25 mile ride in brand-new, stiff boots and ending up with blisters.

d) Proper riding boots probably won't be the most comfortable boots to walk in for any distance.  And if that's the case, your riding boots are probably just right for riding. Riding and walking are two totally separate endeavors for us as humans and footwear that is correct for one is not correct for the other. We have to choose what is right for our horse and our safety while mounted, above what we may have to do on the ground on our own feet, so walking comfort for the human takes a backseat to what's required when we are riding. If you're going to walk, get a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots; if you are going to ride, you gotta have riding boots and the two are mutually exclusive. We keep our riding boots in the tack trailer and put them on just before we catch our horses and saddle, so we don't have to do much walking in them. When we get in from a ride, we put our "walkin' shoes" on after we've turned the horses out.

The other question to be answered here is lace-ups vs. regular boot tops. There are advantages, in my opinion, to the lace-up option in that they offer more ankle support which some of us need, and they are more accommodating to those of us whose calves are larger than what many regular boot tops are sized for. Only you can decide what your needs may be on this one.

That's our take on RIDING BOOTS. How much money you spend and the brand name you choose are not as important as the features we recommend here, whether you are riding in English or Western boots. Don't get caught up in the hype or the techno-jive; choose what helps you to be safe in the saddle and be more attuned to your horse.

    This style is the
absolute minimum for heel height and
clearance in the arch, roper-style. Barely Legitimate!                                                 Composite Sole, NO, NO!       Walking Boots/Shoes,
wonderful on the ground, NOT FOR RIDING!This boot/shoe is made for walkin' only!               Not even close!Any boot with a sole even
close to looking like this is a big NO for a riding boot.

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