Idaho Elk, Mule Deer and Black Bear Blog

Here you will find information about our Idaho Elk, Mule Deer and Black Bear hunts. We will also blog about our area, as special offers, issues that affect us or are important to us.

Tia and Foster leading a pack string

It’s Easier to Find Your Favorite When There’s Lots of Choices

Hi, my name is Tia Hansen (daughter of Kelly Swingruber and George McQuiston). Mom is the head packer and George is the owner of Wild Idaho Outfitters and Castle Creek Outfitters. Mom and I ride about 2,000 miles a year from packing bear bait to taking people for a joy ride and to getting people with their gear to drop camps and back plus packing dead animals.

Being an outfitter’s kid can mean a lot of things. One of them means you not only get to ride a certain horse, but you also have a lot of options. Starting with an old and wise quarter horse mare named Annie (still my favorite horse to this day), next a thoroughbred mare named Blesser who could out travel everything we had when we long trotted, then a stubborn mule named Foster (still my favorite mule to this day). Another favorite is Annie’s daughter Shadow, I was leading pack strings off her when she was only 4! Now I also ride a little young mule named Hermosa which is Spanish for beautiful. I am currently starting a filly named Tornado (and no she is not a bronc she just has a strip on her face that looks like a tornado) who is also out of Annie. I love to ride our stallion also, he is laid back and mellow.

Annie is 27 this year and is carrying another baby, she is still my favorite horse because all my siblings and I learned to ride on her, and she took great care of us. She knows the difference between a beginner and an advanced person, she knows steep country, how to work cows, and I think my family (except George, he likes his horse named Diesel) could all agree that Annie is still the favorite! On the other hand Foster (the mule) recently passed in November of 2021. He is what we called one of our A team mules. I rode him miles and miles and miles in the back country, and even tried to show him in 4-h but he didn’t want any part of it so I just decided to ride him in the mountains. Sometimes Foster wouldn’t let anyone but me catch him because he knew where all the treats came from! Or if we were on a trip and his favorite horse wasn’t there (George’s horse Diesel) Foster would travel all the way home to be with him. He also threw me off a few times. I know you are probably thinking why did you like him so much? Well, it’s because he took care of me and in return, I did the same, and eventually he quit doing most of those bad things. I also remember one time we were on a really steep narrow trail, and everyone got off to walk but me. Before I came along he did his fair share of packing, Foster was George’s mule at first but then I started riding him and stole him fair and square!

People often ask me do you remember your first ride? Was it scary? How old were you when you first started riding? The truth is I don’t remember my first ride! I don’t remember being scared. Because I started riding horses in my mother’s womb!

So, if you want to ride 2,000 miles a year, I would suggest you have at least a few good animals that you love and cherish!

Contributed by Tia (Assistant Wrangler for Wild Idaho Outfitters and Castle Creek Outfitters)

Comment (0)

Comments are closed.