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Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails Paperback – June, 1994

24 customer reviews

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About the Author

Joe Back was born in Ohio in 1899 and moved to Wyoming when he was thirteen. He served as machine gun instructor during World War I, then took up trade as a cowboy, guide, and packer. Later he spent four years at the Art Institute of Chicago where, to use Joe’s words, he "damn near starved to death." Art education changed his life, however, and although he went back to packing and guiding, he also became nationally known as a sculptor. Joe Back died September 7, 1986, at the age of 87.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Johnson Books (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555661416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555661410
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,251,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence P. Straight on March 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a repurchase of an old friend. Years ago my career and life took me to Wyoming. Like many, I fell in love with the high country and soon realized that the only way to get to the best of it was with horses. As a relative greenhorn, however, I had a lot to learn about getting to and living in the high country, with or without horses. A friend gave me Joe Back's book Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails. Somewhere along the way, I misplaced it. I'm glad to have it back.
This book is more than informative. It delivers all its name suggests, telling all I needed to know about the tack, rigging and techniques of handling horses in a pack string. By simply following his advice, I found myself not only able to do it, but do it without embarassing myself in the company of real mountain men.
Beyond that, Joe's earthy narrative and humorous, but informative, illustrations make the book a joy to read. Even after you read it cover to cover, you'll want to spend some time looking at the illustrations and re-reading the tidbits of wisdom. If you have an interest or plan to go into the primitive areas of the mountain West, I encourage you to read this even if you never intend to pack a horse yourself.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone interested in packing horses into the mountains. Weather you are a experienced or inexperienced packer. The writing and illustrations are one of a kind,and with a style of the west.When reading the book you feel like your there packing your own string into the mountains. I would recomend it to any packers past present or future.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert L Stevenson on January 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is probably the single best work I've ever seen on the "science" of packing. Joe Back lived and worked in N.W. Wyoming, and was a legend in the area. His humorous annecdotes, and extremely accurate hand drawn diagrams, combined with his obvious knowledge of the subject, make this a "must have" for anyone seriously interested in learning how to pack horses or mules, and survive. This little work deserves a place in any packer's library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "maylewis" on November 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have had a copy of Horses, Hitches, & Rocky Trails for eighteen years. It has been taken to the field many times and read in total and in part many times. For the past eighteen years I have been alert for books that would provide new information or expend on Joe's presentation. If there are better ideas out there they need a literate, artistic, and humorous champion like Joe Back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BC30cal on August 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was given my first copy of the book in the early '90's when we first got into horses and began to train them for riding and packing in our local mountains.

To say it was an eye opener or even extremely helpful is understating it. Besides being entertaining Joe Back had an easy to understand way of teaching beginners the basic fundamentals of horse packing.

I carried a dog-eared photo copy of the saddle packing knot in my saddle bags for years and ended up using it on many occasions.

When we gave away our last horse I lent the original copy to the person who took my beloved mare and it never found it's way back to me.

I signed up on Amazon and picked up another lightly used hardcover, just to read on the days I want to recall the cool fall mornings on the local mountains a bit more clearly.

Hopefully that was some use to someone out there and all the best to my fellow mountain horse folks wherever in the world this finds them.

Regards,
BC30cal
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Toni Leland on June 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This charming book is sure to please anyone interested in good old-fashioned prose created around the subject of packing into the wilderness. Not only is the writing and story-telling fascinating, the artwork that accompanies each of the pieces is wonderful. Joe Back is not only a writer, but an artist, wildlife sculptor, a rustic poet, back woodsman, and most of all, a humorist.

The book covers the method of packing into the wilderness for both the amateur and the professional. Most of the information in the book has never been written down before. Western Horseman magazine reviewed it as the "greatest little book ever written on packing into the back country." For my money, just looking at the detail drawings is worth the price of admission.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are packing horses or going to the mountains horseback you need this book. Even if you are like me and had everything else you could find published about horse packing.

To call this the Bible of Packing horses is almost an understatement. It covers camping, safety in the mountains and how to survive a tough spot.

If you ride horses it is a great book to have. There are so many tips in it on knots for tying, extras to have and how to's. The only time I ever had to put a shoe back on a horse without a shoer in miles was on a shale rock climb up West Goose Wing Creek in WY. Guess what I dug out of my saddle bag! And it stayed on a week in ventures through the Gros Ventre Wilderness.

This is one of my all time favorite reads. Joe Back was an amazing gentleman. I never knew him but after reading this book you will wish you did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book was first given to me in 1982, when I took on the Backcountry Ranger position at Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. One of my jobs was packing supplies into the backcountry for the fire crew. It was a book I needed. Years later I gave that book to a good friend who needed it, and then bought another. Recently, I came across another friend who was trying to learn packing, now, almost a lost art. I figured he needed the book more than I did, so gave him that one. I write, and have a need for that type of information, so I bought a kindle edition. Although the diagrams are hard to figure out, the text is still there, and the information. There aren't many books on packing, fewer good ones. This is one of the best.
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