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COWBOYS COMPLETE SADDLE MAKING
Review by Sheila Cross, T Cross Farm, St. James,
Cowboys Complete Saddle Making by John Hopper is a
one of a kind leather crafters how-to book. If you are
experienced, or a beginner, this book is for you. The price
($44.00) may seem a little steep, but it has so many project
instructions that you should be able to make, or repair, any
piece of tack you might need.
Of course, as the title implies, it gives very detailed
instructions on building a saddle of your own, as well as
explaining many different trees, which, as a mule rider is
always informational. He shows a diagram of all the parts of
a saddle and many options for swells, cantles and horns. The
author shows how to make your own leather trim for stirrups,
as well as how not to do things when making a saddle.
There is a section on packing equipment, with many photos
to show the different types available.
As a novice at making leather tack and accessories for
myself and my mules, I especially like the instructions, and
in many instances, patterns, for all the miscellaneous
items. The book has instructions for back straps, halter,
bridles, saddlebags, hobbles, chaps, spurs and a whole lot
John Hopper obviously is very experienced and willing to
instruct others in leatherwork. After reading through the
different projects in this 360 page book, I am very
motivated to get in my workshop and design my own one of a
kind western tack and gear. I have many other instructional
books and videos, but none this thorough, with such clear
step-by-step instructions. I am sure I will refer to this
book many times for instruction and ideas, for many years to
To order your copy of Cowboys Complete Saddle Making
contact Proleptic, Inc., P O Box 17817, Asheville, NC
28816 e-mail: email@example.com – phone 828/505-8474
AMERICA’S RURAL YESTERDAY Volume
Review by Tim Cross, T Cross Farm, St. James, Mo.
Boo Larrington, the man that first got me into horses in
the early 1970’s gave me my first horse, then graduated me
to mules in the early 1980’s, told me about when he was
disking with four horses two miles from home on his eighth
birthday in 1926. His family came to the field with lunch
and gave him a pocketknife for his birthday present.
I’ve heard the story more than once, and enjoyed it
always and tried to visualize it. I often have thought how
different things were then. I have been lucky enough to have
a couple of good teams and really enjoy working with them,
with Boo as my coach.
This book is 144 pages of a darn good collection of black
and white photographs from the period in time when Boo was
growing up, showing many different tasks that were
accomplished with mules, horses, and a few of the first
tractors available in that era.
If you are interested in agricultural history, and seeing
photos of how “it was done back then” you should certainly
enjoy this book, the first of a three-volume series
showcasing the vintage photography of J.C. Allen & Sons,
Inc. published by Mischka Press.
The book sells for $24.95 plus $5.00 s/h and can be
ordered from Mules and More, P O Box 460, Bland Mo.
65014, 573/646-3934, or online at www.mulesandmore.com
THE NEW HORSE-POWERED FARM
Review by Cori Basham, Mules and More Editor
The “green” revolution is everywhere these days. We are
always looking to save a little gas and eat a little better,
be a little more “Earth” friendly. This book, The New
Horse-Powered Farm, by Stephen Leslie, takes that desire to
be “green” to the farm. “This book is not about trying to go
back to some idyllic past,” says Leslie, “It is designed to
be a manual to help us move a few steps forward to a more
Starting with tips on how to care for a work horse,
different horse-training systems, and the merits of
different draft breeds (with a special shout-out to draft
mules!), it moves into tools and horse-drawn tillage and
cultivation, with a spotlight on whole-farm management.
I enjoyed the profiles on the horse-drawn farmers and
their stories of how they came to find what works for them
on their farms.
This is a definitive handbook for anyone looking to start
a horse-powered farm on a small or large scale. But this
book is a good find for any teamster who wants to work with
draft power. It can be purchased though Chelsea Green
Publishing (chelseagreen.com) or Amazon.
Book Review by Cindy K. Roberts:
Equine Management and Donkey Training by Meredith
Meredith Hodges systematic style comes through in her
educational series on Training Mules and Donkeys: A
Logical Approach To Longears. Equine Management and
Donkey Training correlates with the DVD training series.
A concise and useful guide, the book offers instruction on
donkey management, fitting, grooming and preparing your
donkey for the show ring. Meredith’s teaching on how
to work with your donkey is very helpful as well as
encouraging. I enjoyed reading her approach in
measuring your donkey for athletic potential because this is
very crucial to donkey owners that have a plan for using
their donks! Meredith explains on how to
assess your donkey’s reaction under pressure to determine if
he can move forward with advanced training: have someone
hold the lead rope while you make an abrupt move, like
jumping and flapping your arms. What does your donkey
do? If he tries to run off, he’s not the best
candidate for equine sports, such as driving, that require a
steady animal. On the other hand, if he stops to look
at you and tries to figure out what you’re doing, he’s a
great candidate for advanced training.
The tone of the book stresses the equine owner’s
responsibility to finding out the issues and problems to be
addressed. The proper care for the donkey jack to
ensure he is mentally and physically healthy as well as safe
is addressed. Meredith stresses the importance of a
clean environment, a nutritional food plan, implementing
socialization and safety awareness to enable your jack to
leading a healthy and balanced life.
Meredith’s expertise enables readers to understand donkey
saddle training, jumping, basics in the round pen, trotting,
mounting, patterns and obstacles at the walk and trot as
well as addressing the canter.
Volume 2 covers advanced training in donkeys:
lateral training, lengthening the stride, jumping and equine
Mule health management is covered, basic healthcare and
common health issues in the mule. The illustrations on
conformation, show ring patterns, long line exercises,
working through and around obstacles are very useful to the
Drawrein settings are covered as well as dressage
information that I found to be interesting and needed
instruction to the reader. This book is a valuable
resource to every equine library, five stars to Meredith
Hodges on the completion of this project!
Author Cindy K. Roberts is a contributing feature and
column writer that has a lifetime experience with equines.
Her experience with mules began in 1985. Cindy is an
accomplished mule author and trainer, her most recent book;
Life Lessons In The Saddle & Around The Manure Pile
is available at www.everycowgirlsdream.com. Cindy can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Confidence Training for the Western Saddle Mule - by Cindy K.
Review by Cori Basham, Mules and More Editor
Confidence Training for the Western Saddle Mule
by Cindy K. Roberts is a good book for anyone interested in
furthering their mule training education, from handler to trainer to
rider. She shows that with time, patience, and these techniques it
is possible to fix our mules' problems.
It is one thing to read about how to fix these problems, but it is
another to see it how it is actually done. That is why I really like
the step-by-step photos showing Cindy implementing these techniques,
like how to desensitize and trailer load.
She does not just cover training, though. There is an extensive
chapter on nutrition, which will enrich your knowledgeable about
your mules’ hay, feed, and supplements, along with chapters on
emphasizing the importance of saddle, pad and bridle fit.
Through quotes from other trainers, plus plenty of her own
knowledge, Cindy shows you how to have a confident, well-trained
mule that wants to please you.
You can purchase this book through Cindy’s website,