The New Kid

Well I did it, as most of you already know if you follow Trailhead Supply on some sort of social media… I bought another mule. I had a good feeling about her, I trust the gentlemen I buy most of my mules from. Yet she’s young, but she’s big, and going to get bigger. She’s goofy at times although she is very calm and gentle. She is broke to drive, If I had a buggy that would be great but I’m a packer, I pack.  She has never been shod, I’ll let you know how that goes since Kate has an appointment with the farrier Thursday morning. She has never been in the mountains, yet that will change in a hurry, she came up from Arkansas. Best of all she is even the right color, Black!!! Despite all the great qualities, the breeding, the training, why was I still nervous at the trailhead?  I’ve done this thousands of times. As the sun was beginning to rise over the Great Bear Wilderness, I had and extra cup of coffee then another. Chuck said “Are you going to saddle?” “One more cup,” I said. Was it she was just to perfect? Am I getting to old to play tug a war with a 3 ½ year old?  Or maybe, just maybe, the coffee was just so damn good I needed an excuse to have another cup. I walked over to my new friend, Kate, looked her in those big gentle eyes and said I don’t put up with any shit on the trail.  I then placed the pad gently on her back, she just stood there. I stretched out my rebuilt shoulder and then swung that decker pack saddle up on her back, she stood there. I cinched it down, adjusted the breeching, and then the breast collar, and yep, she just stood there.  Chuck peeked around the back corner of the trailer and said “I don’t think you needed that last cup of coffee since your pep talk is working so well.”   I tied the string together walked them in a circle put my boot in the stirrup and swung into the saddle and said come on kids lets go.  We started up the first set of switch backs, Chuck looked down at me and before he could say a word I said “It’s going to be a great day…”  Get out there and build some trust with your stock even if it’s over a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise, you’ll be glad you did.

See you on the trail.


Comment on this post (2 comments)

  • Wendy says...

    What a sweet face! She looks like she’s been doing it all her short life.
    As a beginner packer I definitely know the apprehension you felt. But, with that being said you give me constant reinforcement that I can do it too and get on down the trail. THANK YOU!!!!

    August 30, 2017

  • Randy Wittkugle says...

    Well Andy, enjoyed your blog about your new black mule. Sounds like she will be a good one . But only way to make sure is to put a bunch of miles on her. My friend has two mules ,I have quarter horses. I told her that I have not seen a horse that I am afraid of but those mules scare me to death. Heard to many bad stories about them. Anyhow, good luck with her and keep the stories coming. Cant do much until my leg heals up from the new horse coming over on me.

    August 30, 2017

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