About Mules - circa 1937
Basket Hitch - Second Stage!
Training young mules
Young mules are naturally timid
and easily startled, but they are, as a rule, docile and easily broken
in, if treated with great kindness and patience. Rough treatment of any
kind must be avoided as likely to prove fatal to successful training.
Men must be carefully selected to break remount mules.
Saddling must be done at first
with great caution, the saddle being placed gently on the mule's back
and moved about freely so as to accustom him to the feel of it before
putting on the girths. In girthing up care must be taken not to draw the
girths so tight as to cause any uneasiness to the mule, who will them
be walked about and allowed to get used to the saddle before the other
harness is added. With the crupper, especially great patience must be
exercised, as it is likely at first to upset a timid animal.
A mule should be thoroughly accustomed
to walking about with the saddle and harness before his is tried under
a load. It is as well to start training a mule to carry loads by using
two bags of sand or earth, weighing 80 lb. each, and, when he walks about
with these quietly, the training can be completed by substituting other
loads. A young mule should always be allowed to become familiar with the
sight of a load before this is tried on the saddle.
Mules should not carry a load
on a steep hill until five years old and at first the load should be a
light one and only carried for a short distance; it should be gradually
increased up to the full weight, which the mule will be required to carry.
Finally, young mules must be
trained to jump small ditches and similar obstacles without hesitation
and, at the end of the training; this should be done with a load on. In
leaping a mule, the rein must always be left loose and a whip should not
Horse and mule loads
Top loads: are chiefly
found in standardised equipment, such as mountain artillery. In transport
work, they are rarely used. They are difficult to keep steady, although
they have the advantage of being able to pass along very narrow places.
Side load: are most usual,
between 18 and 36 inches long.
- Blankets - 32 blankets, fold
in three across their length and roll in four bundles of seven. Put
the remaining four blankets in the middle on top, so reducing bulk and
making the waterproof cover sit smoothly. Weight 70 lb. a side, 20 lb.
on top (including allowance for moisture).
- Hand and rifle grenades - load, six boxes two a side
with the rings at the top edge and two on top to steady the load; weight,
56 lb. a side and 56 lb. on top. Alternatively, three boxes a side.
- Camp kettles - load, ten camp kettles, and 50 lb.
of wood. Fit the camp kettles inside one another and tie them together
by the handles, having four lids in front and on in rear. The wood,
place across the top in a sack, will help to steady the load. Weight
45 lb. a side, 50 lb. on top.
- Short: loads of less than 18 inches long - so short
that the baggage ropes in the ordinary way might slip off; this applies
specially to hard smooth loads.
- Preserved meat boxes - load, three boxes, one each
side, one across the top. Weight 56 lb. a side, 56 lb. on top.
- Upright: this method is used for sacks and bundles,
which are better carried upright between the hooks of the saddle.
- Oats - load two sacks. Form grooves for the rope
in the sack. Weight 82 lb. a side.
Long loads: from 3 feet to 6 feet long.
If loaded in the ordinary way, the mule would not have room to turn his
head and would be galled on the hips. A loading board is lashed firmly
to the saddle on either side to carry the load further out. Loads are
put on high up the boards, tilted up at the front about five feet and
with the ends padded with sacking.
- Corrugated iron - load, ten sheets of flexible corrugated
iron (6 feet long). Bend the sheets over once longways and tie in bundles
of five. Weight 60 lb. a side.
- Screw pickets - load, eight pickets, four a side.
Weight 76 lb. a side.
- Tents, C.S.L., complete - load one a side. Tent poles
should be packed so that the pointed ends and greater part of their
length are behind the saddle. Weight 83 lb. 8 oz. a side.
Cacolets - these are iron-framed adjustable chairs,
intended for the conveyance of sick and wounded by pack transport. A pair
of cacolets weighs 56 lb. They are interchangeable, i.e. they can be used
either on the near or off side of the saddle by a simple transposition
of the back strap and footrest.
Mule Pack Transport
Distances are measured from the croup of one animal
to the nose of the animal immediately behind it. Normal distances are: -
- Organisation - A base depot for the collection and
reception of mules and drives, and the fitting of saddlery and equipment,
will also be necessary.
- Drivers are normally required on the basis of one
for each mule.
- The driver and his mule should not be separated unless
it is unavoidable; drivers should be organised in pairs, the pairs always
working together for all duties. When native drivers are employed, each
driver may be allotted two mules.
- The load of a mule should be taken as 160 lb.
- March discipline Mule pack transport can traverse
practically any type of country (except heavy bush and swamp). Careful
reconnaissance of the route is, however, necessary.
- As a general rule, it is preferable to move mules
at a steady pace, with few halts, than to attempt to hurry them.
- Halts - a short halt to adjust loads should be made
half an hour after starting. If the mules graze, care must be taken
that they do not work their saddles forward in doing so.
- Ascents and descents - until the drivers gain experience,
a short halt should be ordered to tighten breast pieces for ascents
and breeching and cruppers for descents.
|Between sections in close column
|Between sections in column
|Between rear animal of one
driver and lead animal of the next
|Between lead animals: -
|Horses and mules
Loads and Paces of Animal Transport
|Pack mules and ponies
|Cart with two animals on hill
|Cart with two animals in plains
|Cart with two bullocks on hill
|Cart with two bullocks in plains
|Wagon with team of four mules
|Wagon and span of 16 oxen
These loads are exclusive of
the weight of unexpected rations and of gear.
|Pack and draught mules and ponies
These paces need to be modified
in hill country and over bad roads; they are rates of marching of unescorted
(Extracts from the Manual of
Horsemastership, Equitation, and Animal Transport 1937 - Published by
Her Majesty's Stationery Office: London.)