“North America’s Mule Clinician”
By Jeff Higgins
Volume 13 - May 2006 - Issue 5
“He has a strategy for life, and that is to help the mule.”
In today’s modern equine society there are many horse clinicians that are well respected and do an excellent job at training. The mule industry has one clinician who’s success with mules can be compared to the top horseman. And there may be a real valid reason for that. Not just anyone would enter an arena and attempt to dive into the physic of a hybrid animal, which can out think most humans. To do this, it requires grace, finesse, and a lifetime of experience. A list of qualities that can only define one man, Brad Cameron.
Brad Cameron’s experience with mules dates back to his childhood. Where his family used mules extensively in their Western Montana outfitting business. Mules for them were more common place than an automobile, to get the job done. In the early days most mules that were around were mules that had a steady job to do. The best way to get a good broke mule was to give them a job and let hard work occupy their minds. Those same principles for work ethics would still apply today, but in those days there was not much thought of preparation or training that went into working mules. They either made it or they didn’t.
As a young child Brad loved the horses and mules and always enjoyed any kind of work involving them. Early on it could have just been called fate, but eventually Brad was destined to be a Montana mule man. And so, as he matured and got out on his own he steadily leaned more and more toward his friend the mule. In time, Brad felt there had to be a better way of communicating with the mule than the old standard. From this point on in his life he was sure the mule would help him live out his dream, and it would become his passion in life, to help the mule.
During the next several years Brad studied findings from the best studies the equine industry had to offer. But he soon found that the training that existed for horses would need to be altered to accommodate the mule’s way of thinking. Brad developed a method that transcended traditional ideas of working with mules. Others had done this with horses, but Brad was the first to apply it to mules and the first to specifically hold Mulemanship clinics. He is the man, who is responsible for spreading the word of modern mule training, and mulemanship techniques literally throughout North America. Brad Cameron is the source of the modern genre of mule clinicians.
Brad quickly learned that to help the mule, he would first have to help the people. Thus, the Cameron Mule clinics were born. Beginning in 1994, with an old slide in truck camper, and a bumper hitch trailer, Brad took to the road to ultimately help the mule. Over the next several years Brad refined his techniques and methods to develop what is referred to as “True Understanding”. Through Brad’s clinics, he applied this “True Understanding” to the level that clinic participants soon realized this man was for real, and could read these mules’ minds better than most men could read their own wife’s. And he did it in a way that did not overpower the mule with nose crushing devices or a hard hand on the rein. The clinics turned out to be in such demand, that Brad was performing nearly year round, but he felt there was still more he had to do for the mule.
Starting in 1996 Brad produced a series of video tapes called the Saddle Mule Series. These tapes have enabled all levels of riders to further their skills and their understanding of the mule. He has since produced other tapes covering everything from the basic handling of a mule to the most advanced moves from the saddle. The videos have been a huge success, and thousands of mules and their riders have equally benefited from them. The clinics themselves soon led to the development of Brad’s very own website, muletrainer.com. On this site you can view pictures from Brad’s clinics, check on a clinic schedule, and even purchase products for your mule. Brad felt too that there was a definite lack of quality in many of the training products that were available for mules. Because of this, Brad has designed several of his own specific products, so you can be sure that you’re getting something that fits, is functional, and is of heirloom quality. Brad’s videos and products have become the showcase of his other business, Cameron Equine Products.
In today’s society of fast paced schedules and disposable everything, it is worth noting when you meet someone who is knowledgeable and very passionate about what they do. Brad Cameron is that individual. He has a strategy for life, and that is to help the mule. Through his leadership, he has helped transform many people in a short time, by building their confidence while empowering them with his “True Understanding” based knowledge. In his own way, Brad has stretched the limits of his Mulemanship to include “anything a horse can do”. Because of his western background, Brad encourages ranch work with his mules. Cow working and ranch roping, as well as trail riding, are a regular part of Brad’s routine. His mules also work over jumps and he feels that dressage moves are very helpful in developing a mule’s athletic ability. With all of this, Brad believes he must continue to educate himself in order to effectively progress the people who come to his clinics.
Brad has spent his entire life in the saddle and has been recognized by his peers for his many talents. He is also respected by many of the leading horse clinicians across the United States. In 2001 Brad was invited to perform at the Friends of Tom Dorrance benefit ride. An event in which there was only one invitation given to a mule and its rider. This was a true testimonial to what Brad has accomplished from the back of a mule.
If you are really interested in learning what can be accomplished on a mule, I challenge you to attend a Brad Cameron Mule Clinic. It is a life changing experience for anyone seeking to raise their individual level of mulemanship. Working with Brad at a clinic will provide you with an inspiration to improve, and is a must for anyone who has the desire to truly “Ride with Pride”. When at a clinic you will be amazed with Brad’s commitment and the veracity he holds for the mule world. You will witness the hard work and time that he devotes each and every day to his mission of sharing his skills and knowledge with others. It is very gratifying for the mule industry to have a clinician with the integrity that Brad Cameron has. Without him, the mule would not get the recognition it truly deserves.