The Savvy Station

Overnight Camping with Your Horse

bis Parelli Professionals auf Feb 14, 2024

Overnight Camping with Your Horse

By Tom Pompei—3-Star Parelli Professional

Overnight camping with our horses is our favorite of all the things we do professionally, recreationally, or competitively.  How much time does your horse spend bonding with their herd?  It’s likely a LOT more hours than when you’re interacting in their world.  Often that time is spent moving them around, ‘demanding’ in their minds even though that’s hopefully not our intention.  Camping overnight is a terrific way to be in your horses’ world for a significant chunk of time. It gives you time to get away from humanville, unplug (literally), and create enough mental space to think like a horse. All the better if you can be your horses’ source of water and food by taking them to the food and water. This is a very strong way to invest in the horse/human relationship bank account.


I’m fortunate to live in the Midwest United States, where many places are set up to overnight camp and ride: horse camps near trailheads that are either primitive or have water/electricity for tent camping or RV trailers.  We are also close to some terrific scenery; the Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, and multiple national and state parks.  When I was younger, that meant sleeping in a tent beside my horse.  Now that I’m entering a certain age stage, sleeping in a living quarters horse trailer next to my horse is much more appealing!


Preparation and experience are key for you and your horse.  There are multiple horse containment options when overnighting.  Here is where the brilliance of the following the Parelli Levels program comes into play.  Regardless of what containment system you’re using for overnighting, our job is to prepare our horse to understand that standing tied is ok—not just tolerating being tied, but believing mentally and emotionally that it’s not a trap.  Following the level's blueprint is the foundation key to a safe overnight experience (Level Two Online, Porcupine Game, Tie Your Horse).


Set it up for success by preparing to stand tied at home first.  Don’t just wait and see how bad it can be.   Here are a few Savvy tips:

  • Have high-quality forage/feed available when tied
  • Tie next to a well-seasoned buddy horse
  • Use a ‘Blocker Tie Ring’ so there is drift, no trap.

 Gradually work up to hours of standing tied at home with confidence. If you’re having trouble or have questions, seek help from a Licensed Parelli Professional in person or virtually (find us on the Parelli Network).  We’re here to help you!


Mike and I average thousands of trail miles and 15-20 overnights per season.  That’s more experience than most, but the horses quickly learn that standing tied is an opportunity to relax.  It all starts at home, playing with our horses and then tying them after.  This is an extremely valuable positive pattern.  Last season at home, we let our horses go at liberty after playing, and they walked over to where they are usually tied and went to sleep! 


I know that sitting around the campfire on a cool fall evening, sharing meals and horse stories, under the stars is idyllic.  But being able to get away from modern life is like pressing a reset button. If horses are nature in its finest form, we have much to learn from them.


For more information:

Level Two Online, Porcupine Game, Tie Your Horse

Touchstone 8: Ride in, Ride out


Tom Pompei is a Licensed 3* Parelli Professional in SW Ohio and SW Florida.  Contact Tom at TomPompei.Com for more information and savvy trail riding and camping tips!


Makes about 4 to 6 servings.



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