A Pack Saddle for Mules and Donkeys

Steve Edwards: Hi folks, welcome to Queen Valley Mule Ranch. My name is Steve Edwards.

I have ranched, I have packed, I have hunted, trained all horses, mules, and donkeys all over the world. One of the things that makes my training so unique, my tact’s so unique everything is I’m actually using it all the time. I didn’t just have some saddle company says, “I’ll put your name on here and you get $60,000 a year and away you go.” That’s not it. I designed this stuff because of what I learned from the mule, what I learned from the donkey, and yes even the horse.

In packing, we would take a wood packed saddle and we would file it down and we’d make it fit the animal’s back. Oh man, what would happen though? If old Jake, my mule, if I fitted that thing in January and then come July he’s lost some weight I just got done filing everything to make it fit and now it don’t fit I add another blanket. What happens with that? Now the saddle will start rolling, so we can’t do that.

The other thing is if I take those wooden saddles and I carve it down just to fit one mule only, I customize it for that one mule only, that mule dies or that mule cripples up and I don’t have him anymore, that saddle has to go with that mule. You only fit the one mule, I can’t afford that. Ride hundreds of mules, packing hundreds of mules, I’ve got to have something that’s gonna work all the time instead of having hundreds of saddles.

This is what we did, we developed a pack saddle where the arches float so that I can fit a narrow back, I can fit a wider back. I can make this wider or I can have it wider or narrower. I’ve developed a pack saddle with myself, Abe Hewart, who is now passed away, from Canada. He packed for the Canadian government.

He said, “Steve, I want to develop a saddle that’ll fit every mule.” Ain’t gonna happen. He said, “I want to fit a saddle that’s gonna fit every horse.” I said, “Ain’t gonna happen.” Well, he showed me it can happen. This saddle right here is what changed, revolutionized, my thinking on just because they have saddle sores, we used to say, “Well, that cause we used them.” No, no, no, it’s from the stupidity of me not listening to my mule and seeing that I sored him. I did it.

I learned how to help my mule and donkey, this is one of the ways I did it, packing freight in the mountains, heavy stuff up to 200 pounds maybe more, and having to go in the mountains and come back out with an animal that couldn’t help you.

Thanks for watching Queen Valley Mule Ranch. We want to help you, give us a call, we’ve got the website you’re gonna see on the screen, you’re gonna see my email, and my phone number. Yes, you will talk to Steve Edwards when you call, not some secretary. Thanks very much for paying attention to my video.