Breakin’ the Girls to Harness

Dewy Matthews wrote this poem while breaking a team of mules during the winter of ’96/97.

Well, both a them wuz purty, in a long eared mulish way,
And they kinda hung together, even if they wuz to stray.
They’z both broke to ride and pack – well, pack, and sometimes ride,
Tho on occassion when they’z fired up, ya could lose a lot of hide!

If they’d used mules durin’ pony express, Sage would of bin yer bet,
‘Cause she’d leave out like a rocket, afore you wuz up or set!
Now Dixie wuzn’t quite the same, tho she had a lot of try,
For her to get her speed up, she had to have a reason why.

Well, me bein’ big on economy and these mollys so full of steam,
I decided to make their life complete, I’d break ’em to be a team!
Doin’ chores with a well broke team of mules, tourin’ the country side,
A shined up rig, show harness too, I could take a lot of pride!

Well, I figured and pondered and mulled ‘er around, but the idea didn’t seem bad,
So the next thing ta do wuz to rig ’em both up, with harness, collar and pad.
The first thing next wuz to cross hook them to a big well broke Belgian mare,
But Sage had no doubt, about this big blonde lout, together they’d not make a pair!

We managed to make it round the field, twice haw and three times gee,
This high speed mule team breakin’ is a dizzyin’ damn thing to see!
Next to get Dixie cross hooked, then I’d hook both mules up together,
Neither like the Belgian mare, so I figured, “Better birds of a feather”!

Hookin’ both mollys to each other, wuz all that it would take,
Gettin’ these trail pards broke to pull, would be a piece of cake!
We got em hooked up and ran extra rope, runnin’ “w’s”, if they blew,
Never realizin’ Sage and Dixie, wuz mule evil multiplied by two!

We opened the gate, where they’d been snubbed up, and headed ’em out into space,
And in less than a heart beat, them mules took off, plumb sure they wuz in a race!
Now in as much as I might a thought, I’d lots of room fer my try,
The far pasture gate, come up way to quick and we’s thru ‘er on the fly!

Barbed wire whipped and staples flew and I’m pullin’ hard on their face,
About that time them mules geared up and we hit hyper space!
Workin’ hard to slow them mules, I was drawn purty fine,
I had more ass in motion, than a runaway chorus line!

Pullin’ hard upon the lines weren’t slowin’ them mules at all,
So I drops the lines and grabs the rope, and stated hard to haul.
The runnin’ “w” shoulda worked, and dropped those mules like birds from the sky,
But a hobble had broke, a most dastardly joke, I had only a runnin’ “i”!

Now you may not think that three legged mules, can travel far or fast,
But we come a swoopin’ thru that field like a high powered Chinook blast.
Haw as we might and Gee as we may, them mules would just not slow down,
I’d plum lost my grin and my patience wore thin with this long eared merry-go-round.

“The time has come” said the Teamster, “to end this insane romp”,
So I “gees” real hard and pulls ’em around and heads ‘er for the swamp!
Now I’ll admit, it may lack style, and even come short on grace,
‘Cause when we hit that beaver dam, we all launched into space!

Well, the wounds have healed, the sleigh is trashed, the harness is all tattered,
My dreams of mule team economy are purty much all scattered.
The mules are out to pasture now, gentlest things you’ve ever seen,
I now do chores with a four wheel drive, and it is John Deer green!

Back to Cowboy Life


Hi! Thank you for your tips:) i have never sen this rope halters in Sweden so..thanks again!!:) ! And i just want to say that it was the best trailride i been to!! I wreally did liked my horse Nevada!!Thank you and i propably be back again:)