Maybe you have a saddle that you consider the perfect ride – with one exception. There's no rope strap on the swells, and you like packing a rope when you're horseback. It doesn't matter if you work, compete or play with your rope, as long as it's handy on your saddle.


Thanks to all that hay twine, the stable’s garbage bin needs to be emptied again. But wait, why throw away something that saves time and money? Tuck that twine over in the corner where it can easily be reached. It’ll come in handy in the near future.

When Arizona trainer Lance Valdespino first began ground-driving horses more than 30 years ago, there were few options available for surcingles. He tried using one from a traditional set of driving harness, and found that the screw-in metal rings were set too high for many horses. Running the lines through the stirrups on a saddle, as often is recommended, also didn’t allow the flexibility he wanted and often placed the reins too low.

Training your mule for the trail takes time, patience and practice says Montana mule trainer Brad Cameron (see WH story, “The Mule Mindset,” May 2007). And, one of the most important lessons you can teach your mule is to stand still for mounting. Getting on an animal that won’t stand still is dangerous.

Neck-reining is just one step toward getting in sync with a saddle horse. For a rider, achieving a greater degree of control is about measured progress and communication with his mount.