Trailer Safety & Safely Loading

Brought to you by Buckhorn Range Chapters Equine Emergency Preparedness Committee

A windy but beautiful day greeted chapter members, along with two representatives from East Jefferson County Fire and Rescue and Dave Codier from Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management.

We were hosted at Paradigm Sporthorse Training by Becky Cushman and Mike Piero. We learned about important considerations in preparing for a potential emergency which might require relocating with stock. Trailer safety fundamentals were also discussed. Four horses and their owners practiced loading into different trailers. Dave Codier, who said he had never even led a horse, successfully loaded Becky’s horse, Belle! Thank you to Kim and Pat for serving us a yummy lunch. This awesome event happened because of the efforts of Judy and Amy who did an outstanding job. Bravo!


Congratulations to Bob Hoyle, for being honored with the BCHW Lopper Award at 2023 Rendezvous!

Bob Hoyle pictured here with BCHW President, Dana Chambers


Rendezvous was held at the Kittitas Valley Event Center in Ellensburg on March 17-19, 2023
This award is for a BCHW member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication to their chapter or to BCHW by participation and promotion of what the BCHW Mission Statement stands for. This is kind of an “all around” award, with the nominee being active in several different aspects of the many things that make up BCHW.

His dedication to our chapter and BCHW as a whole are greatly appreciated. Thank you, Bob!


June 4th, 2023 Event: Buckhorn Range Chapter Members Trailer Loading Clinic

Sunday, June 4th event – 10AM to 2 PM

Brought to you by your Emergency Equine Preparedness Committee (EEP)
Mentors and Location: Becky Cushman & Mike Piero, at Paradigm Sport Horse Training
1710 South Jacob Miller Road
Port Townsend, WA

One of the key steps in preparing for evacuation emergencies is to ensure your horse loads in a trailer.  The optimal situation is for your horse (or horses) to be loaded by you in the trailer with which they are familiar.  But in an emergency, that is not always the case.

Knowing your horses will load in an unfamiliar trailer, by an unfamiliar person in an emergency is not guaranteed.  The EEP committee is arranging a day to provide an opportunity for members to audit the demo of handlers loading in unfamiliar trailers, potentially by other members, as an opportunity to identify holes in the horse’s (and handlers own) training.

NOTE: To audit this EEP Trailer Safety Loading Event, you must be a Buckhorn Range Chapter Member.

Agenda for the Event:

  • Intro To Trailer Safety and basics of loading in an emergency
  • Loading/unloading in unfamiliar situations
  • Break and debrief post exercise

There will be 3 different trailers set up in the closed stable yard (slant vs straight load, stock vs closed in, etc..). Depending on the level of experience of the horse and Chapter member, our mentors will walk through Trailer Safety differences to consider, then allow practice to each person’s comfort zone. Becky and Mike between them have years of professional trailering / hauling experience, and we welcome their mentorship.

The goal is for each participant to walk away with information on how they can better understand the gaps they need to work on for themselves and their horse.  Safety will be a priority. Trailer safety checks and regularly loading and unloading your horse from your trailer is sensible good practice, and invaluable in uncertain events!

Limiting this event to Buckhorn Range Chapter members not for liability purposes but to offer a unique learning opportunity to Buckhorn Range members only. 

All attendees must be active BCHW members from the Buckhorn Range Chapter.  


Happy 21st Birthday Buckhorn Range!

We did a little business and had a lot of fun. Here’s a picture of our 21st birthday party.
Next year? Party hats!

March 10th, 2023 Buckhorn Range Chapter Meeting at the Tri-Area Center, Chimicum, WA

LeBar/Skok Regional Work Party 5/19-21

Back Country Horseman of Washington Buckhorn Range Chapter hosts
Regional Work Party at Olympic National Forest at

  • DATES: Friday May 19th – Sunday May21st, 2023
  • PRE-REGISTER ON-LINE @ https://form.jotform.com/223516414874155 REQUIRED by April 30th
    There are 13 sites at LeBar as well as dispersed camping nearby.
    Brown Creek campground nearby has 12 sites + 8 tent-only sites.

Bring Water – LeBar is a dry camp
For more info contact: Bob Hoyle: 360-531-2337 Email: bobhoyle@usa.net

We need volunteers for camp and trail work. Tasks include: brushing/swamping , blowdown removal (sawyers needed!) and cleanup of campground/sites. Something for everyone! Bring gloves, appropriate attire. Tools, PPE’s provided (Sawyers need to bring their own saw/PPE)

If you bring stock be aware that the trail may not be open for riding yet, and there will be a lot of activity in camp with power equipment running (line trimmers/blowers, saws).

2023 Buckhorn Range Events


Are You and Your Horse Prepared For Emergencies?

Mark your calendar for Friday, October 14th, 7PM, TriArea Community Center

We have a great program to offer about Equine Emergency Preparedness (EEP).  Chief Brett Black of East Jefferson County Fire Department will present about fire prevention and awareness  for stock owners. This is open to all members and guests. This will include information on the Fire Department’s role in responding to wildfires, earthquakes, and other disasters that could require evacuation. He will also discuss the concept of YOYO, Your Are On Your Own, and the need for each individual to be prepared and take responsibility for prevention and preparedness.  He will discuss Shelter in Place and how to be prepared for that. It is a great opportunity to ask any questions about these issues to someone who has been intricately involved in wildfires in California such as the big Paradise fire. His experience and insight are invaluable and we are very thankful he is taking the time to join us.

A short business meeting will follow Chief Black’s presentation.

Jefferson County Fair is Back

And we are back at the fair!

Come see us at our booth in the New Commercial building.


Hikers and Horsemen Team Up to Open Popular Trail & Horse Camp

The drive south on US Highway 101 along the Hood Canal gave us a forewarning of what lay ahead. For 50 miles there were downed powerlines and poles, trees and massive amounts of debris piled along the sides of the road. The date was Saturday, February 26th and Buckhorn Range chapter President Kris Lenke and I were on our way to a field trip to the High Steel Bridge and Vance Creek Bridge, organized by Lori Lennox of Grays Harbor Chapter. What we were seeing was the aftermath of a heavy wet snowstorm that hammered the east side of the Olympic Peninsula on Christmas Day. 101 was closed from Hwy. 104 to Hoodsport and power was knocked out for 6 days.

After visiting the bridges, Traci Koch of Oakland Bay chapter suggested we see if we could get to LeBar Horse Camp as planned, about 10 miles further up FS Road 23. After going less than a mile the road became a tunnel through the downed trees, carved out by the firewood permit holders who had been working the road. With barely enough room to squeeze through, 3 SUVs and a pickup truck slowly picked our way through and over the logs, snow and debris, finally making it to the bridges over the Skokomish River and LeBar Creek and the Lower S. Fork Skokomish R. Trailhead. The firewood cutters had gone no further, and our journey ended half a mile from LeBar Horse Camp. https://photos.app.goo.gl/GtC3fSSVJt4X1fJ38

Seeing all this devastation, Lori suggested the idea of a regional sawyer recertification/work party to try to clear the road in advance of what was obviously going to be a very busy season of logging out trails. I sent an email the next day to Jai Lust, Wilderness and Trails Coordinator of Olympic National Forest and Rebecca Wanagel, long-time WTA (WA Trails Association) Crew Leader and newly appointed Trail Crew leader of Peninsula chapter – BCHW. Rebecca took the reins in her teeth and organized a crew of WTA sawyers who, along with Kris Lenke and me, headed up to tackle the mess on Saturday March 26th. We discovered a contractor already at work on the road (Yay!) and proceeded to clear trail. We worked to open the LeBar access trail, the 120 access trail, and the Lower S. Fork Skok trail #873 to the top of the switchbacks. In the meantime, Rebecca recertified me as a B-level sawyer. A WTA crosscut crew had already opened the main trail from the lower TH the week before. https://photos.app.goo.gl/xAxpXUbNBxRHLphG9

On April 26th Rebecca, Jai and I made a scouting trip to the area in advance of the BCHW Regional work party scheduled for May 20-22nd at LeBar Horse Camp, and we estimated that there were hundreds of trees down on the 140 spur trail (1.4 miles) alone. (I made another scout trip upriver on May 7th to Camp Comfort and the 100 spur trail where I encountered even more devastation (200+ trees/mile)).  Based on what we saw, Rebecca scheduled another WTA/BCHW joint WP for May 14/15th. They cleared the 140 trail and 2/3 of the 100 trail that weekend in torrential rain. Members of the Mountaineers also joined in to provide swamping.

The Regional BCHW work party began Friday May 20th to clean up LeBar Horse Camp and finish logging out the Skok trail as far as the 100. Rebecca ran the sawyer crews made up of WTA sawyers Martin Knowles, Tom Griffith, Tien Vo, Bernt Ericsen, and Paul Hornberger. Peninsula chapter sawyers Jim Hollatz and Rick King, with Suzanne King and Kris Lenke swamping.  Harold Weise of Olympic chapter provided pack support for the sawyer crews while Larry Sammons of Buckhorn and I demolished and removed the old rotting roof from the vault toilet in camp in preparation for the new roof.

On Saturday the trail work continued, with sawyers Traci and Wayne Koch from Oakland Bay chapter joining the party. Larry and I worked on extending the highline poles to raise them higher in sites 3 and 8 while Peninsula chapter members Theresa Percy and Stephanie Burns and friend Dean joined Kris who worked all day to clean up campsites, while Peninsula members Linda Morin and Judy Sarles helped Dutch Oven Queen (and Buckhorn Secretary) Kim Merrick make and serve everyone a delicious dinner!

Dutch Oven Queen Kim serves dessert to Martin Knowles – WTA and Larry Sammons – Buckhorn

On Sunday the mighty sawyers completed the last difficult mile of trail, which opened about 6 miles of main trail and 3 miles of spur trails, making 3 possible loops of riding using FS road 2353 to return.https://photos.app.goo.gl/9KvYYDhDHsYtbCxV6

“Toothpick” (Paul Hornberger) watches on as Bernt Ericsen (WTA sawyers) makes a cut

Another work party has been scheduled by Rebecca to continue logging out the trail upriver to the ford at Church Creek and beyond, eventually opening the entire 12.5-mile trail to the upper TH parking lot and the Upper Skok trail.  Other WTA crew leaders have several trips planned to get this trail back up to snuff.

I want to thank everyone who pulled together and worked so hard to accomplish all that we did over the last 2+ months and apologize to anyone I may have left out. The collaboration between Backcountry Horsemen, WTA and the Mountaineers was truly inspiring. I especially want to acknowledge Rebecca for being an extraordinary human being who has more energy and enthusiasm for trails than anyone I have met and was instrumental in pulling this collaboration together.


In her own words, “I cannot begin to describe how many trees we have cut out. The efforts put forth by everyone involved have been inspiring. The teamwork between agencies is heartwarming, and the stock support we had all this past weekend from Harold Weise (Olympic chapter) was a lifesaver. Special thanks to Magic, Archie and Frank, the 4-footed volunteers. It was lots of talented, generous, hard-working, tough, trail-loving people from multiple agencies and chapters. This was a herculean effort by so many who were involved. The blowdowns were in the many, many, many hundreds. A final, but important note: all these many hundreds of trees have been cut with full attention to safety and not one mishap or incident. We are proud of our safety record and the communication we maintained between crews using radios.” LeBar Horse Camp is now open to the public and the trails are open for riding. Please consider making this beautiful camp and trail one of your riding destinations soon!

Submitted by Bob Hoyle

Director/Work Projects Coordinator

Buckhorn Range Chapter -BCHW

(And long-time WTA member)


LeBar Horse Camp Regional Work Party May 20th – 22nd

We are hosting a regional work party in partnership with other chapters in the region to get LeBar Horse Camp and the Lower S. Fork Skokomish River trail ready for the season. Winter storm damage is extensive – there is a lot of work to do! We need volunteers for camp and trail work. Tasks include: brushing/swamping (a lot of swamping!), blowdown removal (sawyers needed!) and cleanup of campsites. We will also be removing the rotten roof on the vault toilet and (hopefully) installing the new roof. Something for everyone! Bring gloves, appropriate attire. Tools, PPE’s provided (Sawyers need to bring their own saw/PPE)

Pre-register online at https://www.bchw.org/lebar_horse_camp_regional_work_party.php


Check out our new Equine Emergency Preparedness Page.

We have added a new page to our site to give you resources to assist you in preparing for emergencies and natural disasters.


Horseplay: Animal Rescue Group Seeks Volunteers

Buckhorn Range Chapter member Jeanne Buchanan is featured in this article about WASART (Washington State Animal Response Team).