Test Day. Same wrangle and breakfast time as always, then started testing. Glad I took advantage of the study time to practice yesterday. Our test sure separated those who worked at it from those who didn't. We had to wrangle in one horse and one mule to go with a third that was already saddled, then start packing. After mantying 4 bales in 8 minutes or less, we had to load 2 pannier boxes to within 5 pounds of each other without using a scale, then tie a diamond hitch correctly. Then we had to lead 2 mules and Decker-pack 2 more, using a basket hitch on one and a crow's foot on the other.
Cody's obstacle course put us to the test: crossing creeks, bogs, deadfall, heavy timber, a real tight squeeze between two trees in particular, and even a dead beaver carcass that drew a few snorts from the mules. Those who had practiced did well, but those who didn't ... failed. One did his packing so well he didn't have to get off his horse even once to adjust his loads. One did so poorly he rolled not only two pack saddles, but an entire mule to boot! My extra practice paid off.