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Update to Forum Rules: Criminal Allegations

In our continuing effort to provide an avenue for individuals to voice their opinions and experiences, we have recently reviewed and updated our forum policies. Generally, we have allowed users to share their positive or negative experiences with or opinions of companies, products, trainers, etc. within the industry, and that is not changing.

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Forum rules and no-advertising policy

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(Revised 5/9/18)
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Horse Camping at Land Between the Lakes (KY)--need recommendations and advice

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  • Horse Camping at Land Between the Lakes (KY)--need recommendations and advice

    This will be my first horse camping trip! I'm going to take my kids and our horses/ponies for a few days to LBL, where we have a cabin and stalls reserved at the Wrangler's campground.

    First of all, I'm trying to figure out what I need to bring. I'm used to packing for shows and trying to figure out what I need to do differently. Obviously hay, feed, and bedding--but space is tight on the trailer, if I'm short is there anywhere to buy hay or bedding there? I'm guessing I'll need to bring a muck tub and fork, water/feed buckets, etc? We will bring our tack and grooming equipment, extra halters, a first aid kit... Anything else that we should bring that a newbie to horse camping might not think of?

    We've done a lot of trail riding, but always close to home and for short periods. Is there anything we should pack to carry on the trails? Any recommendations for saddle bags for english saddles?

    Does anyone have any recommendations as to particular trails to be sure to do (or not do) at Land Between the Lakes? Are the trails well marked? Should I bring a compass?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for other things (non horsey) to do in that area when we aren't riding?

    Also, this is more of a general question, but how do you handle security of your horses and horse items (saddles, etc.) when horse camping? Trunks? Lock stuff in vehicles?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    My husband and I and some friends went camping there last year. Some of our friends stayed in trailers w/ living quarters, others in the cabins, and we camped in a tent.

    I believe you can buy bedding there, though I'm not 100% sure. We ended up bringing wood pellet bedding because it fluffs up and makes a nice bed once you get it a little damp but doesn't take up a whole bunch of space when you pack it. Some of my friends felt the permanent stalls were a bit small (they had larger horses), but my medium pony and my husband's QH mare seemed quite comfortable, evening laying down to sleep each night despite a wedding reception occurring in the pavilion directly opposite their stalls!

    We basically packed like we were headed off for a weekend of horse showing or fox hunting and brought a few spare things (halters, reins, etc.) I don't have saddle bags, but we have english saddle pads with large pockets on them that could hold a couple bottles of water, treats, granola bar, etc. and we used those. We found the trails to be well marked and easy to navigate with the maps provided there. Riding by the lake was gorgeous - so I'd recommend any trail that goes right by the shore.

    One of my friend's husbands brought his boat with him, so on the really hot afternoons we took a break from riding and went out on the lake instead. That was also really fun - I believe there may be options for boat rentals but don't have details on it.

    I kept everything in my vehicle or trailer when it wasn't in use (other than buckets and hay nets in the stalls and horses halters hung on the front of the stalls). We camped very near to our stalls, which was great. The people we met there were super friendly and I never felt concerned about my stuff. One thing to be aware of is that they are VERY serious about people having up to date Coggins and health certs for each animal - every set of papers for each animal in our group was checked.

    Hope that helps! I'm new to horse camping too but we had a super time there and plan to go back this summer.


    • #3
      Good info here about approved hay and feed; limited camping and equestrian supplies for sale at the Outpost; and trail alert updates.

      Sounds like a fun place! Hope you'll post pics for us afterwards!

      "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- George Bernard Shaw


      • #4
        LBL is pretty remote, so plan on hauling it in and having to drive 30+ minutes if you need to run to a store and pick something up.

        As far as packing it won't be much different than a horse show. Pack all tack, feed, hay, bedding, etc... Most campgrounds have hay or bedding for purchase but they may run out. So I always pack my own.

        Trails are great, nice open and wide. Well marked. And you can ride as much or as little as you want. They will have trail maps.

        I wish it wasn't so far for us as it's one of my favorite places to trail ride.


        • Original Poster

          RiderInTheRain , thanks for sharing your experience. Your idea about the pelleted bedding is genius--we are bringing 4 horses so we need a lot of hay and bedding and I think those pelleted bedding bags will be much easier to pack vs. the bags of shavings. I'm also glad you reminded me about health papers, I'll double check that everyone is up to date!

          I think we will look into the boat rentals. Not sure that the weather will be hot yet, but we probably will want to do more than just ride.

          RPM I checked out the website, thanks and I'll hopefully figure out a way to share some pictures.

          SouthernYankee That's good to know re: distances to run to the store. I really hope I don't forget a bunch of stuff! And, I'm a little relieved to hear your description of the trails. It's going to be me and the kids out on the trails, and while we are experienced riders on good horses/ponies, I have a terrible sense of direction and would prefer not to get lost or deal with anything trappy or dangerous.


          • #6
            There is a camp store there, but limited on what they carry, but do have the essentials if needed. Soap, shampoo, etc. We were there last year and I did not care for the stalls we ended up with, there were mats in them, but were thrown over large wallowed out centers, not leveled at all. You need to clean up your stalls behind you, but don't expect to find that everyone does, we had to clean those stalls before we could even put our horses in. We tied our horses out while at the trailer, we always carry a rope for a high line on posts provided for them. We only put our horses in the stalls at night or when we decided to run to Cadiz for a meal out. Trails are nice, but rocky, so be sure to have boots or shoes for your horses.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, pasolover2! The horses are all still shod all the way around from hunting season, but that's still good to know.

              Ok, dumb question, but what kind of rope do you have that you use to create a high line? And then how do you attach the horses to the high line? Do you just tie the lead ropes to it? Or do you use some kind of a clip? I have tied the horses to a high line before once, but the high line was already there and I just tied them with lead ropes since it was just for 30 minutes while we ate lunch.


              • #8
                We have just the standard brown sisal(?) type rope, about 25' in length, but have had one around 50'. We have just knotted it through one of the loops on the post provided, all are metal, then stretch it as tight as we can to the next one. You can use any type rope, as long as it is strong enough to hold a horse, even nylon. I tied loops so far apart in the rope, but then found some clips with large loops that I can slide the rope through and then loop it over the clip so I can then just clip the horses lead ropes to that, plus extra to hang hay nets on. If people tie out all night they usually have come-a-longs, that they can tighten the rope as it loosens up as the horses pull on them. Our horses stand quietly when on a high line, but just their moving around can cause the rope to get slack in it. We have tied out all night using a come a long to keep things taut, forgoing the stalls as we saved some money, but that was when we were not leaving the campground, we got stalls this last time as we were going to go out to eat at least one night while there. When you go, just ride around or walk around the campground and you will see the different ways people tie out, many there will be glad to talk to you about them.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks pasolover2! My husband has some rock climbing ropes, maybe one of those will be repurposed! I don't anticipate leaving the horses tied for extended periods, but I think they would prefer not to be in the stalls the entire time.


                  • #10
                    We always have something to tie ours out with as they can move around and see more while on a high line, plus less cleaning of stalls, though it is necessary to clean up around your high line area as well.


                    • Original Poster

                      My husband has volunteered the climbing rope and accessories
                      Someone warned us about ticks--so I'm also packing some extra flyspray that is effective for ticks as well.

                      I wish we had better saddle bags for our english saddles. All we have are the little cases we use for fox hunting. I'll have to look into that for next time. Someone recommended Snug Pax for the english saddles. Thoughts?

                      One more question--is there a spot where it might be possible to take the horses swimming, or just out into the water? I think my kids might really like that.


                      • #12
                        I highly recommend the EasyCare Stowaway saddle bags. I tried 5-6 other brands, and have found these to be the best. They don't move if you attach them correctly and hold a ton of stuff.
                        "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


                        • Original Poster

                          We are back from our trip. It was really a great time. When we arrived I was first completely impressed by the horses everywhere standing patiently and obediently on their tie lines. My next thought was that I wasn't sure the trip was going to work out--the stalls were small, dirty, sloped and had widely slatted sides so that the horses could visit with all their neighbors and doors that any respectable pony could open. As soon as we pulled up at the barn it started to pour rain and the area in front of the stalls quickly was ankle deep in water. Somehow we got the horses tucked in and they didn't seem to care a bit. I reinforced the door latches with baling twine to prevent escapes.

                          We went out riding first thing the next morning and the trails didn't disappoint. The trails were wide and well marked and really beautiful to ride on. We found several places where we could ride out into the lake, though we didn't actually take the horses in very deep. There were a lot of rocky spots so I was definitely glad that all of the horses were shod. There were also a few patches of deep mud, but there were typically little detours around those spots. The terrain varied widely depending on what trail we were on. On one trail we galloped alongside farm fields, other trails were slower going picking our way through beautiful forests and creeks. We passed the site of an old iron furnace, and also passed the ruins of old cabins and graveyards.

                          We set up a tie line and experimented with it and all of the horses did fine (we still used the stalls at night). In the evenings we rode the horses around the campground bareback. It was really heartwarming to me to see so many people just enjoying their horses. The Wranglers campground is huge! There were beautiful horses of all kinds peacefully minding their business on tie lines everywhere. I will say though, I did not see any other english riders!

                          We had reserved a cabin, which was clean and comfortable and made it easy to relax when we got back from riding. We are already planning (tentatively) our next horse camping trip! For this trip we didn't ride more than 10-15 miles in a day, but there was one longer trail down to the bison prairie that I would like to do next time. However, I think we would need better saddle bags to bring supplies for an all day trail ride. So, thanks for the pack recommendations

                          Thank you to everyone for the advice. Using the pelleted bedding really helped make our supplies fit, I also dumped an extra few bags of shavings on the floor of the trailer before we left and then used that to replenish the stalls.


                          • #14
                            Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip/ride. In the fall they do hunt at LBL, some trails will be shut down due to this, but not enough to interfere with any riding. I am not a fan of the stalls there, but since we usually tie out I really don't worry about them, but the times we have used them we make do.


                            • Original Poster

                              Yes, the stalls were the only downside to the trip, and our horses seemed to adjust to that just fine. We will probably use the tie lines more next time.