Horses and Equipment


Philmont uses a ‘Split Rein Hold” that is traditional for cowboys in New Mexico. This means that kids are always dropping at least one of the reins.   Then, to add to the fun, several of the youth are novice riders who are not only learning how to ride, but how to handle a packhorse.  Somehow, it works.  It helps that the horses are top notch.


Philmont uses rope halters.  It is helpful if the kids are familiar with how a rope halter works.  


I did have two kids fall off their horses.  They were fine.  One of them was leading a packhorse.  When the packhorse stopped to graze and her horse kept going, she held her grip on the packhorse.  She was consequently pulled right off her horse.  It was the one and only time that happened.  I told all the kids to use the horn on the saddle to help them.  With just one wrap around the horn with the halter rope, you can take some of the strain off of your shoulder.   For some reason, most of the kids didn’t seem to get the hang of it.  They just held on to the packhorses.  For me, I used the horn and my shoulder felt great.  Everyone takes turns with the packhorses, including the adults.