Mule packing practice mule

The Good Mule – A steady mule for mule packing practice

This is Blue she’s one of the newest members of the TrailMeister herd.

Over the years horse and mule packing has developed to the point where it is a combination of art and science. Most packers take pride in their animals and in their ability to pack them in a professional manner.

These skills are not learned overnight, but take many hours of study, practice and actual packing.

I prefer to practice tying loads on my live girls, Ellie and Cocoa. They need the practice of standing quietly just as much as I need to the practice loading them. Sometimes, however, it’s much easier and quicker to roll out Blue than to catch, brush, and groom a live critter. Yes, I’m lazy that way!

I designed Blue for use at TrailMeister camping and packing clinics where I couldn’t easily bring Ellie or Cocoa. Blue breaks down and packs inside herself which makes for easy hauling in the Subaru! I based her off of a mule built by Back Country Horsemen of Washington member Marty B. Marty, thanks for the insights!

Parts List:

  • Plastic 5 gal barrel
    • 6” wedge cut from barrel creates a more mule shaped profile. Oval vs round.
  • Plywood ovals glued and screwed at both ends create structure to attach legs, head, and tail to.
  • Head is cut from plywood with angle iron braces at base of neck. These slide into grooves cut into 2×3 boards attached to neck end of barrel
  • Legs are 2×4’s
    • Cut top and bottom to desired length and angle.
  • Tail is sisal rope that has been unraveled.
  • Hoofs are Cavallo boots
  • Latches to securely hold barrel together when in use or transport.
    • One front and one back
  • Bolts to hold legs
    • 2 for each leg with wing nuts for easy assembly and break down.
  • Ears are strips of fire hose cut into triangles

I hope that Blue has inspired you to further develop your mule packing skills and knowledge, and helps you enjoy a lifetime of equine adventures!

As always for more information on trail riding and horse camping, and the largest horse trail and camp guide on the world visit


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