After our usual early-morning routine we started with "classroom" out by the tack shed, learning the parts of a Decker pack saddle. From there we started into cargoing, or "mantying" - wrapping up loads into canvas tarps and lashing them with ropes to make packs to be loaded on horses or mules. We started out with hay bales and boxes, which were fairly easy, then progressed to odd-shaped bunches of tools or odds-and-ends of duffel, fishing rods, rifle cases and camp gear. That got to be a challenge, but we'll have to be ready to do it when working for an outfitter.
After lunch we reviewed saddle parts, then learned how to fit a Decker saddle to a specific horse or mule. Once everyone had his saddle adjusted to the pack mule he'd been assigned, we worked on packing: first, the basic basket hitch, then some variations of it (crow's foot, poor-man, etc.) Next we learned the barrel hitch, then how to pack elk quarters and antlers. Hope to use that a lot once I go to work as a guide - better get to studying for tonight's quiz!