trail ride

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.We reviewed Cavallo, Renegade and Easy Boot hoof boots. Here’s how they held up after 32 days on the trail

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 hoof boot review is what we… Continue reading

Dogged: How Adeline Hallot Crossed the Pyrenees With Two Dogs, a Cart and a Cat: Part 1/2

Adeline Hallot lives in France. She owned two dogs, a cat, an old van and had always wanted to go to Spain. Then her van broke down. “I could have fixed my van but it was going to be too expensive,” she said. “So I sold everything I had, loaded my cart and started walking. I only got two kilometers the first day and couldn’t walk any farther.”

Adeline Hallot
Adeline begins her journey. Her dog Aiyana is walking beside… Continue reading

The Long Ride: Melissa Priblo Chapman Discusses Her Book “Distant Skies” (Part 2 of 2)

In the early 1980s, twenty-three-year-old Melissa Priblo Chapman rode her horse Rainy 2,600 miles alone across America. She encountered rattlesnakes, thunderstorms and Great Plains busters, but she also encountered kind ranchers like the one who hooked her up with a pack mule. Almost forty years after her trip, Melissa wrote a book about her voyage called “Distant Skies”. I recently interviewed Melissa about her book and trip.

“Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback” by Melissa Priblo Chapman / published… Continue reading

“Distant Skies”: Melissa Priblo Chapman Discusses Her New Book (Part 1 of 2)

Melissa Priblo Chapman dreamt of “riding through some distant town on a trustworthy horse” in elementary school. It was the late 1970s. When she was 23, she saddled her horse Rainy, hauled her puppy Gypsy into the saddle with her and headed west to live her dream. This week, I interviewed Melissa about her new book “Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback”. Here is Part 1 of a two-part series of our conversation.

“Distant Skies: An American Journey on… 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

Mule Mushroomimg: Hunting “Aeyer Schweumli” from the Saddle

My mom used to point them out to us as kids. We’d be walking through the forest in western North Carolina and she’d point down at an orange mushroom and say, “Lueg. As Aeyer Schweumli”. “Lueg” means “look” in Swiss German, her native language. Aeyer Schweumli is what she used to call chanterelles. *

Aeyer Schweumli: aka chanterelle. It’s also called “Pfifferling” in German. Pfeffer means “pepper” in German. The mushroom has a peppery taste.

My brother Christian recalls a… Continue reading

How Hoof Boots Work 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, this post will interest you.

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. We ride… Continue reading

Is a Mare Mule or Horse Mule Better?

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” mule. A horse mule is a male mule and is also called a “john” mule. So what’s better for you, a mare mule or a horse mule?

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

Mare Mules Compare to Horse Mules

In general, a mare mule is… Continue reading

From Starved to Star

The transformation of Magneto

A kind soul rescued him from a herd of eighty feral horses, some of which were starved, others of which had broken legs. And yet, he survived. Read the amazing story of Magneto the Magnificent, my wife Julia’s new horse, at her blog Saddle Under the Stars.

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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