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Cavallo Hoof Boots
August 20, 2018

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
Our new Cavallo hoof boots. They’re the Trek model, a very generous gift from the manufacturer for our upcoming “Ride out the Front Gate” ride.

I use hoof boots on my mule’s hooves instead of steel shoes. I’ve done so for years, working my way up from boots I made with stuff I found in a dumpster, to the store bought kind. I use Easy Boots and Renegades.

This week hoof boot manufacturer Cavallo sent me 4 boots for my mule Brick. The timing was perfect. I was short 4 boots so Cavallo’s Treks came at the perfect time.

Thanks guys!

I strapped my new mule duds on Brick’s feet, lashed my chainsaw to mule Polly’s pack saddle and took off up the mountain. It was time to saw up that tree that had fallen across the trail.

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
The old Husqvarna chainsaw strapped to the pack saddle. The rope is from an old anchor rode.
bernie harberts lost sea expedition mule polly tiny house public tv rocky mountain pbs
Booted up: these are the Cavallo “Trek” model. A mule often has a narrower hoof than a horse. Cavallo offers their Trek model in a “Slim” version. These fit Brick’s feet really well. Like many horses, mule Brick’s front feet are larger than her hind. In front she’s a size 1, hind she’s a size 0. We did not need to fit the pastern wraps Cavallo provided. These will sure be nice to have, though, if we ever need a little extra boot padding. Ditto the gel-like inserts that go in to the shoe.
bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
Heading out from our barn.

Our farm is in the Foothills of North Carolina, 20 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mostly forested, it’s covered in stands of old growth red and white oak, white pine, poplar, maple and some hemlock. Winding through the forest are access roads used for logging and hunting access.

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
The mule’s eye view of our country.

Thing is, if you have roads and trees, it’s only a matter of time until a tree falls across a road.

Sure, you could pile your chainsaw on to your tractor and putt-putt up the hill and do the job that way. But that’s not nearly as fun as doing it with a mule.

Which is why this morning, we clip clopped up the hill in our new hoof boots so we could drop a poplar tree that had fallen across one of our roads.

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
Heading up the mountain trail.

While downed trees aren’t a big deal on secondary trails, we try to keep our main roads open. Later this month, we’re seeding the stretch of road blocked by the fallen tree. There’s enough room under the tree for a mule to pass but not a tractor and seeder. It’s just gotta go.

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
The offending tree. It feel during one of our torrential rains.
bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
Waiting: the mules hang out while I tend to the chainsawing.

After the tree was dropped we climbed back on to our mules and rode up to the orchard. The trees are young. They’re from this area: Arkansas Blacks, Winesaps and Limbertwigs. Julia and I just sat and looked in to the southern range. Soaked up the silence. Took in the sun’s low morning slant, summer’s geometric not toward fall.

This is why we didn’t take the tractor to cut that tree.

bernie harberts cavallo hoof boots ride out the front gate
Orchard Hill.

Then we reined our mules down the mountain, toward the rest of the day and breakfast.
Thanks again for the hoof boots, Cavallo. They survived their first mission just great.
More about Cavallo’s Trek hoof boots here.

Posted Monday August 20, 2018 by Bernie
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