[MSAR] Hydration for Mounted
una at lanl.gov
Fri Jan 16 10:47:41 EST 2004
Most of my unit's missions are in high altitude cool or cold desert.
Which means that most of the year there is absolutely no surface water
in the environment. For this reason, we do not expect to remain more
than 12 hours in the field (ie, away from base camp); we cannot pack
enough water for our horses. But perhaps we should be more prepared
to spend up to 24 hours in the field on wilderness searches when water
is available. (NM SAR requires personal packs for 24 hours; limited
water is the only reason we don't stay out longer.) The orienteering
event that Ian Vowles has scheduled for this June in Colorado is an
opportunity for MSAR teams to practice overnight trips into the field.
I do not leave base camp with less than 2 liters (quarts) of water.
Liter #1 is on the saddle in a canteen, which I drink first. Liter #2
I carry in a fanny pack or backpack. I have never "lost" my horse but
if I ever do, I will be properly equipped to get myself back to base
camp on foot. (For the same reason, I carry maps; I do not put them
in one of those "map holder" pommel bags sold in most tack catalogs.)
On many occasions, I have tied my horse and continued on foot (eg, in
ravines choked with boulders and treefalls), always wearing my little
pack with water, food, first aid kit, radio, compass and map, and any
other important gear (raingear in monsoon season, extra warm clothing
It always dismays me to see MSAR volunteers on missions with no gear on
their person or, still worse, no gear on their horse either. And you
had better believe this dismays SAR managers too!
Santa Fe County Sheriff's Posse, in New Mexico
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