Trailhead Supply Blog

I’ll take 20 more!!!

Last weekend I was at a trade show sitting in Trailhead Supply’s booth. Between waves of visitors I was trying to finish a cup of coffee while it was still warm.  I looked up and standing there was Smoke Elser. He was looking at all our tack being displayed for sale. We chatted for a while and then Smoke said you really do have some great tack.  He looked at me and said you know you have come a long, long way from your first trade show I saw you at. You could hardly fill a 6 foot folding table.  We laughed and I said I wished you could have been here a little earlier and got to see our new decker pack saddle we are building, but just sold the last one we brought with us.  As Smoke felt the leather and stared at the wall tent you could tell he wasn’t thinking about the quality of the products, he was thinking about all his trips in and out of the Danaher deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. All the nights he slept on the ground, all the stories he told around the campfire, and all the cups of coffee he drank on cold snowy mornings.  As Smoke made his way to the door he said I really don’t need any more pack gear…but what I do need is 20 more years….I’d happily buy 20 more years, if you could get me that.  I said your almost bionic; you have 2 new knees.  He grinned and said yes, I do, but I still need 20 more years to use them…work on that for me.  I said I would.

    I often write just get out and do it, go climb that mountain take that trip, buy that mule…. Here is a man that has done it all and he still wants 20 more years to do it all again.  He was an example when I met him 20 years ago, and he is still an example now.  So get out there and make the most of it!!

Life is short…See you on the trail.


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Keep your Eye On the Prize…

We all have the plan, the agenda in mind, as we pull out of the driveway.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Take last weekend. The Trailhead Supply crew, a loaded trailer, 3 cups of coffee, pulled out and headed west for Backcountry Horsemen of Washington’s annual rendezvous.  Eleven miles down the road we blew a clamp off the turbo. We turned around and got that fixed. Back on the road 121 miles into the trip we pulled over to refill the coffee cups and the rear wheel on the trailer looked funny.  Well the brake drum had exploded and bent the axle, we were down for the count.  We made a change to the game plan and drove the 121 miles back to the ranch and grabbed another trailer. While trying to pull it out of the snow I slid into a tree, bending the rear bumper, and in the process I got stuck, ugh!!! No neighbors were home, so I called my wife, who had to leave work to pull us out with her truck.  Back down to the first broke down trailer where we unloaded the first trailer and reloaded the second trailer then back on the road and headed west.  We made it!!!  Almost everyone we talked to said I would have given up…..Failure is not an option, the show must go on.  This is a problem we often hear around the coffee pot, the campfire and on the trail. The trip was so bad we gave up, threw in the towel.  Why???  You’re there, push on, make the best of it.  These are memories. You don’t remember the plain jane vanilla trips.  In the back country you can’t just quit or go home, so cowboy up. It seems after a long hard day the fire is always warmer and the beer is always colder.  Lord knows I love an uneventful trip, but the confidence and satisfaction one gets from surviving everything hell can throw at you last forever….

Ride on…See you on the Trail



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So, everyone gets all excited over some fat fuzzy varmint that comes up out of the ground to see his shadow…Really!!!

All the old timers talk about this and that and the winter of 90 and 96…This winter in Northwest Montana has went on and on and on… I’m so sick of plowing snow and there is no place left to push snow anymore. Everyone is getting cabin fever like I’ve never seen before. Now don’t get me wrong, I love snow and the cold, but I’m getting plenty sick of it this year. At last the snow stopped falling and the sun peaked out, a chance to go out and check on the horses and mules. I even decided to brush one…They are shedding I’ve never seen so much hair its flying everywhere…With each stroke of the brush more hair would fill the air.  By the time I finished the first horse (not really finished kinda gave up) I had more hair on me than her I think… I had it in my eyes, my mouth, and my coffee cup.  I now know what it must have felt like to be tar and feathered.  I’m not complaining, I’m thrilled!!!

This is truly the real sign that spring is coming. It’s science for those of you that don’t know, here’s the scoop: Equine’s hair growth and sheading is controlled by their optic nerve. As the days get longer and we start to get more daylight, this sends a message to them to start sheading as spring and summer are on their way. This is why people who do indoor equine shows in the winter will leave the lights on in their barns with the horses, the light tricks them into thinking it isn’t winter time. Interesting huh?

So, sit back have another cup of joe, and rest assured that spring is coming (even if it is taking its sweet ass time).

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Add a splash of color…..

Well spring has sprung, well kinda!!  I know it’s still snowing, but folks are out messing with their stock dreaming of big adventures for this upcoming riding season. With all big adventure comes a trip to the store to buy new gear. The big surprise is people want color!!!   This strikes me a little odd since I’m pretty much a traditionalist.  White canvas and rope; what more does one need?  My saddle bags are even white canvas to match all the mantied loads on the mules.  But a little color is good, bright and cheery.  I sat in on a LNT (leave no trace) class the other day. The instructor was talking about staying away from bright colors…..when one sees those bright colors it takes away from ones wilderness experience she said.  I don’t know about that, but I know where folks are if I can see them.  Like orange at hunting season.  My youngest daughter, Sydney, she is as outdoorsy as one can get.  She hunts, fishes, and packs a string of horses and mules, but she likes pink.  So, for her birthday last week I got her a one of a kind set of pink panniers.  They are bright!!!  She loves them… She can’t wait to get out and use them, already making plans. So if a little color helps get someone out on the trail and enjoy the back country what’s wrong with that?  Get out there; enjoy the trails, wherever they lead you. After this long winter I may just buy some bright colored halters for the mules just to add a splash of color in my white canvas world!!

See you on the trail.


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And…Let the fun begin!!!

Well it’s trade show season!!!  It’s that time of year when all of us here at Trailhead Supply juggle our schedules, covering both the store while also taking on the weekend shows and seminars.  Every year we kick off the season with a late February show at the Montana Sportsman Expo.  This is the show we dust off our trade show hats and start really getting into the groove of talking to hundreds of guests that visit our booth, tour the wall tent, or sit in on one or more of my packing seminars. This is a great show to start off with, it’s close to home (3 blocks from the store) easy to run back and grab anything we forgot to bring…Like that would ever happen.  See all our missing customers and friends that have been hibernating all winter, with our never-ending snow.

We love to get out and show off all the new and exciting gear for the trail riders and in the world of packing horses and mules.  What we are proudest of this year is Trailhead Supply’s new line of pack saddles.  At first glance they look the same as last year, so what’s different? The decker trees are being made right here in Trailhead’s shop. Out pack saddles are 100% Trailhead made right here in Montana from the tree up!!!  We all put a lot of time, quality, and pride in every decker rolling out our doors.  Don’t worry we haven’t lost our focus on everyone who just wants to trail ride. We have an endless list of new tack and gear for you too!!!  If you can swing by one of the upcoming events we would love to meet you and get to know all of our customers on a personal basis.  

What is it about horse/mule expos? The food is always better; and it seems I always bring another mule home with me………….

See You on the Trade Show trail……..


Upcoming Events

Backcountry Horsemen of Washington Rendezvous

March 17-19 Ellensburg, WA        

Backcountry Horsemen of MT State Convention

Mar 24 – 26 Polson, MT

45th Annual Salmon Select Mule & Horse Sale

April 6-8 Salmon, ID

Mile City Bucking Horse Sale

May 18 – 21  Miles City, MT

Jake Clark's Mule Days

June 14 – 18 Ralston, WY

For more details on any of these events, visit our Events page.

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