This is Blue. She’s one of the newest members of the TrailMeister herd.
Over the years, horse and mule packing has developed to the point where it is a combination of art and science. Most packers take pride in their animals and in their ability to pack them in a professional manner. These skills are not learned overnight, but take many hours of study, practice, and actual packing.
I prefer to practice tying loads on my live girls, Ellie and Cocoa. They need the practice of standing quietly just as much as I need the practice loading them. Sometimes, however, it’s much easier and quicker to roll out Blue than to catch, brush, and groom a live critter. Yes, I’m lazy that way!
I designed Blue for use at TrailMeister camping and packing clinics where I couldn’t easily bring Ellie or Cocoa. Blue breaks down and packs inside herself which makes for easy hauling in the Subaru! I based her off of a mule built by Back Country Horsemen of Washington member Marty B. Marty, thanks for the insights!
- Plastic 50-gallon barrel. A 6-inch wedge cut from the barrel creates a more mule shaped profile (oval rather than round).
- Plywood ovals glued and screwed at both ends create structure to attach legs, head, and tail to.
- The head is cut from plywood with angle iron braces at base of neck. These slide into grooves cut into 2 x 3-inch boards attached to neck end of the barrel.
- The legs are 2 x 4s. Cut top and bottom to desired length and angle.
- Tail is sisal rope that has been unraveled.
- Hooves are Cavallo boots.
- Use latches to securely hold the barrel together when in use or transport—one in front and one in back.
- Bolts to hold legs—two for each leg with wing nuts for easy assembly and breakdown.
- Ears are strips of fire hose cut into triangles.
I hope that Blue has inspired you to further develop your mule packing skills and knowledge, and helps you enjoy a lifetime of equine adventures!
As always for more information on trail riding and horse camping, and the largest horse trail and camp guide in the world visit www.TrailMeister.com.
Robert Eversole, ”the trail meister,” owns www.TrailMeister.com, the largest database of horse riding and camping areas in the U.S. with free trail and trailhead information, trail maps, and much more to help horse enthusiasts experience the joys of trail riding. Robert is a registered riding instructor with PATH International, a mounted search and rescue team member, and a U.S. Marine who has served on the board of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington (BCHW). He is enjoying his new career helping fellow trail riders stay found and safe on the trail. When not on the trail, The Trail Meister resides near Spokane, WA and teaches land navigation to a wide variety of outdoor groups across the nation. For North America’s largest horse trail and camping directory, trail tips, and more, visit www.TrailMeister.com.