Practice makes perfect
As Shyla continued to heal, I took both horses out to practice packing, starting with duffel bags stuffed with straw on Takoda, just to get him used to the sensation of having something big and bulky on his back. We rode on our usual trails in Topanga to get both he and Shyla comfortable with the situation. Just before we left for the PCT, the vet confirmed Shyla's soundness and gave us the "thumbs up" for the ride. We decided to start easy and alternate horses on the trail for the first few days, to break them into it. Mom will follow along with all our stuff, especially food and water on the southernmost sections, and then I'll start packing with either one or both horses sometime around Big Bear.