Travel by Mule

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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

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

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

Hoof Boots in the Snow

This week we had our first snow of the season. It wasn’t a blizzard. We only got about five inches of snow. Still, it was fun taking Cracker and Pie for a spin in the white stuff. If you’ve ever wondered how hoof boots work in the snow, I think you’ll find this post interesting.

Heading out with Pie and Cracker.

About Hoof Boots and Me

None of my wife Julia’s or my horses or mules wear steel shoes.… Continue reading

“Trash to Triumph” Book Update

Last day of the “Trash to Triumph” voyage. Here is my last day on the road after riding from North Carolina to Idaho. Sign up right here to hear when the book comes out.

A little over two years ago, I finished riding mules Brick and Cracker from North Carolina to Idaho. I am currently working on the third draft of the book. The title of the book is “Trash to Triumph”.

Writing the first draft… Continue reading

Off With Her Shoes (Part 1 of the 3 Part Series on Transitioning to Hoof Boots)

A while back my wife Julia and I pulled the steel horseshoes on her pony Pie’s front feet. I thought you’d be interested how we’re transitioning her (Pie, not Julia) to bare feet. From here on out, she’ll go barefoot. For extra protection Pie might need on rocky trails or abrasive surfaces like asphalt, we’ll slap on a pair of hoof boots.

Julia removing the nails from one of the horse shoes she’s taking off Pie. Pie looks pretty chill… Continue reading

Snake Bites Mule

Snake bites mule: Brick tangles with a non-poisonous black snake.

A while back, Julia and I rode spent six weeks traveling with two saddle and one pack mule from our farm in western North Carolina to Virginia and back. We posted a lot of stories on this trip but here’s one I never got around to sharing with you.

Julia was riding a mule named Dusty we’d borrowed from our friend Ronald Hudson. I was riding my mule Brick. As… Continue reading

Robbins Farmers Day: Wagons, Faces and Feet

A teamster, a parade and a mule. This weekend mule Polly and I hung out with Ronald Hudson at Farmers Day in Robbins, NC. He and I were in the parade and I made some photos I thought you’d enjoy. They’re loosely in the order they happened.

Hurry up and wait: my dear friend Ronald Hudson. I bought mule Polly from him 15 years ago. This weekend he and I drove her through the Robbins parade.
Heading to the start… Continue reading
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