Mule Packing School
The Mule Packing School is for;
- Military Training — specialized training for military personal, with emphasis on mountain terrain, awkward loads and night rides.
- Government Agencies — employees who want to advance their careers, including US Forest Service, National Parks, BLM and state agencies.
- Advanced Riders who want to break away from the trailhead and experience wilderness with their equine partners.
- First-time Riders who wish to increase their riding skills in back country conditions.
- Boy Scout Groups who wish to secure Horsemanship Merit Badges.
Focus of this Mule Packing School is long-term, sustainable use of equine in back-country/wilderness terrain. Conducting successful, safe trips with equine, students need trained skills in the following areas –relationship development with your equine partner, observational skills, technical use of hitches and equipment, equine first aid, and situational awareness.
Relationship Development with Your Equine Partner
Understand the true qualities and capabilities of your horse or mule. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses are invaluable in understanding your equine partner. You will learn six steps to enhance your relationship with your animal.
Developing Observational Skills
See at a glance, the status of your equine's health. What and how to observe, steps to stay ahead of potential problems.
Packing Mules and Technical Use of Hitches and Equipment
Training to pack and properly load mules with five hitches and tie offs. Lead a pack string over difficult terrain. Pack awkward loads. Camp with horses. Leave-no-trace behind. Shoe your animal.
Equine First Aid
Determine specific equine's health problems. Solutions to colic, dehydration, inflammation, soreness, open wounds, and saddle sores. Learn to encourage your equine to drink.
Problem solving on the trail. Stay ahead of problems and actions to take to continue your journey. Measure fatigue in yourself and your equine partners.
I must credit your schooling of me in August for making the trip a success. There were several times on the trail that I had to unfork a tree or stop on a slope to get the pack string right. Fortunately our animals did great on the mountain. Our hunting group is meeting on January 2 to plan our next adventure. I am encouraging the guys to consider your pack school or pack trip this next year. I am also interested in coming out to be a wrangler or attending a pack trip. I look forward to the next time that we can ride together. — Bill Fry, Waller, TX
Five-Day Mule Packing School
Two days training at trailhead or ranch, three days camping with horses in wilderness. All inclusive: meals, camping gear, and training books. Students arrive the day before, and leave the last day of training. Jim Mater, Trainer (PDF)
$245.00 per day, plus 9.1% tax.
Schedule for 2024
July 28th-Aug 1st
Sept. 29th- Oct. 3rd
Oct. 13th -17th
A Note from the Trainer
Leaving the trailhead behind and riding with your pack string into wild country is a journey of a lifetime. This Mule Packing School will prepare you to do just that. Emphasis is on long-term use of equine in back country exploration. Bonding with equine partners adds safety and personal confidence. Developing skills to stay ahead of problems and how to solve them will keep you on your journey through wild country. Our training group has a life time of experiences to share with you. Please join us on this life changing school to put you and your equine partners safely in the beauty of wilderness. — James Mater
When I first rode out into the wilderness with Jim I had some physical limitations from an injury. Jim was able to accommodate me and it was the first time I had been away from civilization in a long time. When I healed, I learned how to lead a pack train easily from Jim. He is an equal opportunity trainer who assesses each student without bias and trains according to their needs. Thank you Jim! — Lynn Stone
“Jim and the entire U-trail staff were absolute professionals throughout the five day Mule Packing course. Due to each trainers’ teaching methods and experience levels, my team and I were able to load, lead, and sustain pack lines through some extremely difficult terrain with little-to-no previous equine experience. This new capability provided our team with the foundational skills required to maneuver through difficult terrain in a safe and sustainable manner. If we are ever placed in a scenario where horses and pack animals were a necessity, we feel extremely confident that our training from U-trail prepared us to effectively utilize each equine in the best way possible. I’m looking forward to returning to U-trail for advanced training in the future.”
– CW2 James Hess
Your military training saved a life. Once we left your training, we conducted training with the Army. One of our solders, got caught up in in a pack string and your specific training to get out of that jam saved his life. Army trainers wanted to know how we knew that maneuver. Thanks Jim for all your help, we feel safer in the field.
David Autry W01 (5SFG)
ODA 5222 AD
Thank you 10x over, the Clinic was everything I needed, wanted and dreamed of and more. I have been waiting and saving for a adventure like this!
I also love your kindness, gentleness, observation and deep reverence for animals, you are truly a rare teacher and man, thank you!