Mule Packing School
Focus of this Mule Packing School is long-term, sustainable use of equine in backcountry/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.
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
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. Arrive day before, leave last day of training. Jim Mater, Trainer (PDF)
$219.00 per day, plus 8.69% tax.
Dates for 2019
The Mule Packing School is for;
- Riders who desire 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.
- Employees of government agencies who wish to advance their careers, including US Forest Service, National Parks, BLM and state agencies.
- Military Training — specialized training for military personal, with emphasis on mountain terrain, awkward loads and night rides.
- Boy Scout Groups who wish to secure Horsemanship Merit Badges.
"I had the pleasure of attending the 5-day Mule Packing course taught by Jim and Libby of U-Trail. The curriculum of the course is extensive. Jim and Libby conveyed to the students, the importance of continuously observing the animals in order to properly address any issues before those issues become a serious problem. I was also very impressed about the level of care and concern regarding the welfare, quality of life and overall comfort of the stock. You can tell these folks really care for the horses and mules (and dogs) and not just because they are Jim's livelihood. I had a wonderful time, the other students were great, the instructor/Wrangler attitudes were positive and engaging. The food was great, too. I left the training feeling confident about my starting place in stock care and packing and look forward to practicing more to hone my skills. Due to the in-depth and hands-on practice during the course, I was offered a job at a packing outfit within two weeks of finishing. I hope to return one day and spend some more time with Jim and his Wranglers in the beautiful Gila wilderness."
— Dallas Bryan
"I came to Jim Mater's packing clinic with several seasons of horse packing on sawbucks through the Colorado Rockies under my belt. However, I wanted to learn more about different styles of packing and working with mules off Decker Pack Saddles. I was not disappointed. Jim and his crew really know their stuff. They treated me like royalty and still packed more knowledge into 3 days than anyone could learn over years of doing it on their own. The crew at U-Trail have my respect and admiration for a job well done. I hope to return and ride with them again one day. Thanks again Jim and Happy Trails."
— Bob Belknap, Winchester, WI.