Backcountry Horsemen of California, Los Padres Chapter
Work Projects
Work Projects Director, Richard Waller

For Details on any of the following, telephone Richard at 805-489-8885
or email him at
Survive  Read this;   Veteran-climber-nearly undone
He did not have to go through this; He did not have the following, your protection against such an adventure. You may have seen me wearing my very un cowboy like camelback;  In that camelback is water, energy bars, a whistle, a cell phone, SPOT, a signal mirror (old CD works great), if you and your horse part ways, if you make a navigation error, this simple survival kit may just save your life.

Trail Corps
Work Projects
Monthly Rides
            Stock Packing School                  

To some extent we in BCHC have been fairly casual in our structuring of trail projects and trail rides. While this works well when everything goes as planned, if an emergency arises  this casualness can create problems.

At the recent State Board meeting I discussed this with other members of the executive committee and we all acknowledged that we can institute some changes which will make our activities safer, in addition to our incident there have been others that show the need for revisiting the structure of our activities.

At the October State Board meeting we adopted the “Trail Boss” concept. For all rides and activities there will be one person designated as Trail Boss, who will be the lead on that activity.  This person will have the authority to control the event, to allow or not allow riders to participate on the basis of safety, as we know, while rare, there can be stock or persons that can become a problem on a ride or event.

We will further define the Trail Boss authorities, solely with an eye to safety. If you are like me, you dislike rules and regulations, yet we must have some in place to protect ourselves.

I am designing a program for our unit which could be adopted by other units as they see fit.  I am calling it for now, The Trail Corps this will be the nucleus of our trail project program. Members who wish to volunteer for trail work will be offered training in wilderness first aid, helicopter operations, Forest Service communications, safe stock handling, horse and human physical conditioning, trail repair techniques, personal protective gear, and other areas as needed.  Will some of this be mandatory to go on work parties? Yes.  Exactly what, is still being worked out. 

Consider this, when you consider your horse’s and your physical fitness level; Will your horse carry you both in and out over our rough mountain trails, and if your horse can’t, can you walk out?  If not, what then?

I do plan rewards and awards on a point system, what those will be I am still working on. I do want identifiers for the Trail Corps, right now I am considering wild rags with the BCHC Trail Corps logo as one possibility.  I also hope to offer food on projects. Like bears, us humans respond well to food offers.

Now, someone may say, why? The answer is simple; if it is you on the ground in great pain, wouldn’t you be comforted by knowing that the others with you can handle all aspects of your accident with expertise?

This brings up another critical problem with BCHC, Los Padres Unit. If we schedule a wilderness first aid course, or a helicopter familiarization event with CalStar and CHP, and 5 people show up, we have a problem.

Please, we have around 350 members, on Presidents Day Weekend we had the largest work party in years for BCHC,  Los Padres Unit, 6 of us rode out to work.  This ain’t good. 

Again, Please, volunteer, join our Trail Corps, you don’t have to have  the fitness of a Forest Service Firefighter, you don’t have to even have a horse, just a reasonable level of fitness and a desire to protect and maintain some of the national treasure that is our national trail system, which we are losing because the agencies can no longer afford to maintain the trails.

Yes, we are losing trails and equestrian access to public lands due to decisions by agencies, but, perhaps even more, we are losing trails because of lack of repair. It is one thing to complain about lack of access, but, if we cannot ride where we do have access because the trail is washed out, or overgrown with brush, what then?  And that is something you can do something about.

Even if only 10% of our members joined the Trail Corps, that is 35 people working to keep the trails you ride, open.  We can do that.

Richard Waller,  489-8885

To be held the second Saturday of the month.

For members only.

Our rides are not simply pleasure rides, each ride will have some training component related to the Trail Corps, each member interested in trail work should attend the trail rides. We will review the new Trail Boss Manual at lunch.

 The rides are for members only, I will have membership forms at the trail head, if you know someone who wishes to join and ride, they can fill out the form at the trailhead, hand me a check, and they are good to go.

You may have noticed that we did not have an August ride or work party. The back hills have been a bit warm.  I am  planning a ride to Point Sal on Saturday October 12, meet at the trailhead at 9:30, more later.  I may have some very interesting news to share with ya'll then.

So why no ride in September?  Well, there are, multiple choices.  The California Mission Riders are coming through our area. The ride begins at San Miguel Mission on the 15th , heads to Rancho Santa Margarita, then  down to SLO to Cal Poly, on the 17th. In the evening they and some of us will ride from Cal Poly down Grand Avenue to Monterey and then to the mission.   The next ride is from Grand Avenue in Grover City to Oso Flaco (yep)  then out to the road, trailer up and go to the Dana Adobe. Then, Point Sal, Vandenberg, La Purisma, Santa Ines, Rancho Oso over the hill to Santa Barbara Mission.  While they could not handle 50 BCH'ers showing up, they can handle some.... so keep that in mind. More discussion at the General Meeting on the 11th.

Also, the unit plans to enter both the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival Parade and ag pavilion with dutch oven cooking and mule (actually, probably, Jeffers packing)  I did a week in the Sierra riding Ed the mule and packing Jeffers, no issues, well, actually, one issue, but, Idonawannatalkaboutit. This is on September 28,

Also the Los Alamos Olden Days on the following day, parade and more dutch oven cooking  Someone elected me to trail boss both parades, but, I would be supremely happy if someone took Los Alamos away from me.  For the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival Parade, I will be in it, how about, Ellie, Rhea, Terry, Justin, Cory, Kaye  and more?!  I will probably ride Ed and pack Jeff.  We will see who in the parade viewers notice things seem a little "ass backwards"


Please RSVP to Richard at 489-8885 email:

Please follow this link to curriculum page

The Los Padres Unit will have our own Los Padres stock
packing school. 
To be held  in June  2014, locations to be determined. I hope to hold the first weekend at Porter Ranch (separate from campnride)

The second weekend, pack in from Nira to Schoolhouse

There will be packing 100, for novices , pannier packing,
saddles and tack usage. Leading one animal.
  Also packing 200 the advanced course, Manties and odd load packing.
Leading longer strings

Breakfast and lunch are on your own, both Saturday night suppers are potluck.

Signups are limited to 15 per class,  as signups are limited please make your reservations forthwith.  Please RSVP to Richard Waller at 489-8885 email,