Join us For Mule Days at Leatherwood 2024

Big mules, hairy mules, braying mules and sleepy mules. Mules chewing tie rails, wallowing in mud, running loose and standing with their giant ears flopped out to the side. Yes, Mule Days at Leatherwood is underway this week, May May 4 to 10.

Mule Days personified (mule-ified?): Clint and his mule Billy preparing to go for a ride. Clint says Billy is a “forward” mule which explains the tinkle in his eye (and Billy’s).

My wife Julia and I are attending Mule Days with our mules and I thought I’d share some photos you’ll enjoy. This year, Julia and I helped Shannon Hoffman and her volunteers set up the event. Julia is sharing the Trust Technique with attendees and their mules. She has eight slots available and you can schedule a Trust Technique session with Julia by contacting here here.

Julia introducing Connie and her mule Waldo to the Trust Technique. We’ve had the pleasure of hanging with Connie and Waldo at the last few Mule Days and it was great to get to know them better this week.

The Trust Technique is a system that acknowledges that people and animals share feelings and helps both find peace in their relationship. You can read more about Julia and the Trust Technique right here.

Note: Julia’s Trust Technique slots have sold out, but you can still book a personal or Zoom session here.

Some Photos from Mule Days 2024

Here, in no particular order, are some photos I though you’d enjoy. I took these the first two days of Mule Days. Remember that the big hurrah events – the mule show, the coon jump (no, no coons are involved) and the parade – are this Saturday so you still have time to catch the action. I’ll post photos of those next week. In the meantime, you can check out the post what my mule Cracker taught me at an earlier Mule Days.

My mules Polly, Brick and Cracker hanging with me at Leatherwood Mule Days a few years back.
Mule Days at Leatherwood officially kicked of this Tuesday, May 11 with a three-day clinic by Ty Evans. Here, Ty (sitting on the gray mule in the distance) is doing groundwork excises with a group of participants. In the foreground, Mule Days organizer Shannon Hoffman is getting ready to mount her mule Malachi.
Ty Evans heading to the arena with his borrowed mount
Julia explaining to Christy and her mule how the Trust Technique works. Christy’s mule was unsettled at the beginning of the session and it was wonderful to watch him and Christy connect. Note the calm, relaxed look on his face, a sure sign he’s finding peace.
Saddling up
A soft bit in a soft mouth. Mules have an unwarranted reputation for requiring sharp bits. It was great to see most mules were being ridden in soft bits like this egg butt snaffle. Kudos to clinician Ty Evans for encouraging participants to use a soft a bit as possible.
Mules of all shapes, sizes and hairiness. Here, Mercy and Savvy hang out between events.
Horse puddle. Yes, horses are welcome at Mule Days. After all, every mule’s mom is a horse.
My kind of place. A sign on a Leatherwood explaining the rules of the road.

Thank You

  • Shannon Hoffman and her team of volunteers that helped set up Mule Days at Leatherwood
  • Abbie, Trevor, Wayne, Caroline, Susan and everyone else at Leatherwood Mountain Resort for hosting Mule Days

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, it’d be great to see you. The main events for Mule Days are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday (see schedule below). Mule Days is free and open to the public. No, you don’t need to own a mule to attend. You just have to have a sense of humor because even the best-behaved mules do the damndest things. The address is:

512 Meadow Rd


NC 28624

Mule Polly, who pulled my wagon from Canada to Mexico for the Lost Sea Expedition documentary (stream here on Amazon) will be joining us this weekend at Mule Days. Here, she’s hanging with her pasture mates in front of our cabin.

Julia, our mules and ponies hope you can attend and look forward to catching up with you!

Mule Days at Leatherwood 2024 Program

Get A Free Copy of my New Photo Book 19 Million Mule Steps

I’d love to give you a free copy of my just-released 134-page photo book 19 Million Mule Steps. The book contains a lot of the material that didn’t fit into my upcoming book Two Mules to Triumph, about my 7 month, 2,300 mile Long Ride from North Carolina to Idaho with my mules Brick and Cracker.


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10 days ago

Some people go to car shows, boat shows, air shows. Then there are mule shows… Now that’s a really sub-culture, maybe the equivalent of Lowrider culture on the West Coast…

I look forward to debriefing on how the Trust Technique mules did (I’m sure very well!) and what Julia learned working not only with unfamiliar animals, but in a not-so-optimal environment with all the goings-on and hullabaloo…


Bernie Harberts
10 days ago
Reply to  Christian

What a fantastic Mule Days! Julia sold out her sessions, worked with eight mules and had an amazing experience. What really shone through was how powerfully the mules reflected their owners’ temperaments – calm owners generally had settled mules, and high-thinking owners had less settled mules. It was amazing watching Julia teach mules and their owners how to lower their thinking or, if they were already calm, work on a deeper, shared bond. Great stuff!

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