Why your height/weight matters
McGee Creek Guidelines
Our weight limit is 225 pounds and this is why:
For your safety, we also address your height : weight ratio. The ratio of height : weight is vital for balance in our backcountry terrain. Please call us to check you are able to ride before arriving ~ 760 935 4324.
Our goal is to ensure a pleasurable ride for all of our riders. We give notice of our weight restrictions and ask that everyone submit both their height and weight so that an appropriate horse/mule can be matched to the rider.
All riders who cannot ride because of weight restrictions are always invited back to try again.
An Explanation of Our Weight Policy:
All saddles at McGee Creek have been designed and manufactured by Lee Roeser Saddle Co. Be assured you are riding the finest quality saddles available for this kind of activity. Over his lifetime, Lee has likely fit more riders, horses and mules to saddles than any contemporary saddlemaker in the west. This experience and expertise is part of what makes your trip exceptional.
Imposing a weight restriction on riders is not a matter of prejudice against heavy persons. It's a matter of your safety and of the soundness of the horses & mules involved.
It goes without saying that extra weight, especially if unbalanced, can make a huge difference to the horse or mule. Every pound that is added puts strain on an animal’s back. Too much weight can cause rub-sores from the saddle, strained muscles, and pinching of nerves. Permanent damage such as a "sway back" or deteriorated muscle function can even occur over time. A horse that is child-safe and completely docile under normal conditions may become agitated, frustrated, fatigued, irritable and even unpredictable when over-stressed by a heavy rider.
There are several factors that limit the ability of horses to carry heavier persons. One is that the conformation, condition, and soundness of the individual horse are all very important factors: two horses of identical height and weight might have vastly different builds and weight-carrying abilities.
After all, it is the interface between the horse and rider. Saddles need to fit both the horse and the rider. If the saddle fits the horse perfectly, a rider for whom the saddle is too small will cause pain in a very short time. A saddle can fit a horse well, causing it no pain or injury, until it is sat in (or upon) by a too-heavy and too-large rider; at that point, the rider's weight will be in the wrong area of the saddle, and will be causing portions of the saddle to create severe, physically damaging pressure on delicate areas of the horse's back. Your ability to sit properly and follow our guide’s instructions as to proper seat and balance are key. If all factors are correct and a rider sits slumped and disengaged in the stirrups, then your center of gravity (and hence the majority of your weight) sits disproportionately on the horse or mules back.
Our mules & horses at McGee Creek Pack Station are in phenomenal condition to ride into our terrain. It takes time and effort to train and condition mules & horses for a good guest riding experience, and they must be looked after if they are to continue their work year after year.
Likewise, we want you to have the best experience in our backcountry!