Wagon Riding in the Sandhills of North Carolina

How many different ways can you combine horses, mules, donkeys, wagons and carts? Last weekend, I attended the wedding of my friends Kenny and Myla Tyndal in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Talk about a whole lotta pine trees, crazy knots and ways to fix a wagon with a beer can.

The wedding wagon train. Those are Kenny’s mules Thelma (L) and Louise (R). Somehow I ended up driving his wagon while he and his new wife Myla and the… Continue reading

What Mule Cracker Taught me at Leatherwood Mule Days

You can ride a mule 2,300 miles through America and still bomb the trail class.

Imperfection Exhibit #1: mules Polly, Brick and Cracker with me at Leatherwood Mule Days. I dressed up hoping to win the Best Dressed Man award. I didn’t win but got to be the parade Grand Marshal instead.

This weekend, my wife Julia and I attended Leatherwood Mule Days in Ferguson, North Carolina, about half an hour from our farm. It was a reminder of how… Continue reading

The Long Riders’ Guild: All You Need to Ride 1000 Miles

Twenty years ago, I owned a mule named Woody. Woody was cantankerous. I wanted to ride him across North Carolina – and maybe a whole lot farther. Too bad nobody could tell me how to ride a mule 300 miles. This is the post I wish I’d read all those years ago.

Woody and me trying to figure out how to ride across North Carolina. I had no idea what we were doing but figured feeding him apples was a… Continue reading

Mule Rider

It was about this time of year, a few years ago, that a TV crew for UNC-TV followed mule Polly and me on a wagon ramble through eastern North Carolina.

Mule Rider: just click on the arrow between mule Polly and me to watch the video

Director Morgan Potts and his film crew followed me from Oriental, North Carolina to Hobucken and Aurora and back to Oriental. They dropped in from time to film me as I visited with folks… Continue reading

Are you Too Old to Go?

A guy I’ll call Harold wrote me recently. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m seventy-one years old. I’ve always wanted to take a long saddle trip like yours. Am I too old to go?” This reminded me of a quote by Saul Bellow. “When someone asks for advice, they’re looking for an accomplice.” It also reminded me of my dad, Art Harberts.

My dad Art Harberts on his 87th birthday. He never was much of a cake man so I… Continue reading

Knocking on Doors

When my mules Brick and Cracker and I set out on our latest journey from North Carolina to Idaho, we did so with minimal planning. We had no chase crew, sponsor or person lining up places for us to stay. We just went.

The Uninvited Guests. A painting my wife Julia did of how mules Cracker, Brick and I found lodgings on our journey from North Carolina to Idaho. (Julia Carpenter painting)
A long way to go: Brick and Cracker… Continue reading

Is a Mare Mule or Horse Mule Better For You?

A lot of folks I know that have experience with mules prefer mare mules over horse mules. A mare mule is a female mule, also called a “molly”. A horse mule is a male mule and is also called a “john” mule. It gets even more complicated with donkeys so let’s save that for another day.

“I’m beautiful and I know it.” My mare mule Brick (Love Valley, NC)

In general, a mare mule is a little less, shall we… Continue reading

On Becoming Harriet Bighorn

My wife Julia and I are thinking about our next trip. My way of getting ready for a trip is just leaving. Julia makes lists. One of the things on her list of things to do before heading out is, “Teach Pie and Magneto to pack and remain calm even when the pack saddle flips under their bellies or they see a bull elk or a mountain lion.”

Julia with my mule Brick, on the left, and her pony Magneto.… Continue reading

The Hoof Boot Review: 3 Hoof Boots, 32 Days on the Trail

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Consumer Reports just won’t report on some things. These are the boots we’re reviewing. Here’s how they looked during our month-long mule ramble.

What’s the best kind of hoof boot for your horse or mule? My wife Julia and I rode from North Carolina to Virginia and back with three brands of hoof boots. This review is what we learned after 32 days on the road. The 3 boots reviewed are Cavallo hoof boots, EasyBoot hoof boots and Renegade hoof… Continue reading

Sailing Back to Horses

I have not always traveled by mule. When I was thirty, I decided that sailing around the world would be more interesting than sticking with my office job. I bought an old boat named Sea Bird and notified my employer that I was going sailing. I had just enough money saved to get going but not enough to make the whole trip without working along the way. I went anyway.

Sea Bird when I bought her. She was designed by… Continue reading
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