Category Archives: Interviews

Ron Clayton and the Mules of the Grand Canyon – Rare Interview!

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 | Filed under Interviews

Howdy folks!

Well, today got away from me… so I decided to post something special and wonderful –  but simple… (I need my beauty sleep – ha!).

So, I thought I would post one of the best interviews (in my opinion) from my TV series, HORSE AND MAN.  This particular episode is dear to my heart because the location was incredible, the history was epic, the wranglers were real and the mules had a huge job which provided a wonderful service for millions of Americans.  Oh, and we were the first film crew allowed into the canyon with the mules.  THAT was a very special honor.

We were able to spend the entire day, from sunup to sundown, with the wranglers.  Awesome.  This episode was extra and never aired so you can view it fresh!

Please click on any image or the link to watch this segment.  I think you will really enjoy it.  I know I loved every second of producing it.


OKOK, you may notice that the supers (titles) are not on and the audio is not perfect.  Yup, this segment isn’t totally finished.  But, I hope you will like it anyway…

Legendary Ron Clayton, Mule wrangler for 30 years...

HORSE AND MAN – Mules of the Grand Canyon – Click on the link to see the video!

Wranglers coming in after a long day's ride.


Knowing I was going to meet Ron Clayton, the legendary cowboy who had worked with these mules for 30 years, I was a bit intimidated.   But, I shouldn’t have worried because after about a minute of chatting about his mules, the grizzled wrangler melted.  This man loved his mules… He babbled away like a new Dad as he showed off all of his 150 prized mules.  All of them were special.  He knew all of their names.  I swear, he was like Santa Claus among them.  The mules all gathered ’round just to be close to him.

However, my sweetest memory of Ron was his crying over his part in a MAKE A WISH day for a dying child.  Ron personally granted the boy’s wish to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  So, Ron saddled up his best mules and dragged the boy down in a sled.  It took all day and it had never been done before.   But Ron was set on giving this child his wish.  And, he did…  As Ron relayed this story to me, he cried.  Very touching.


In the video, you might not feel the vastness of the HUGE mule barn.  HUGE.  It fits 150 mules.  And, everything was tidy.  That barn put my measly three stall barn to SHAME.  You could eat off of the floor that 150 mules ran through daily.

Another fun memory was that all 150 mules knew exactly where to stand to get their dinner.  When the mules ran in, it was absolute mayhem for about 30 seconds – until they got to their particular buckets.  After that, all you could hear was munching.  Amazing.  They also put themselves away.  All 150 mules knew exactly where to go after dinner.  The whole procedure took about 3 minutes.  Those mules made my jaw drop in many ways!

And, all the gear (for 150 mules) was cleaned and stowed properly. Double Amazing.  Those wranglers ran a tight ship.  They have to because there are so many mules, so many tourists and so many opportunities for disaster.  After all, the territory is unforgiving.

That day with Ron Clayton and the Mules of the Grand Canyon was more than memorable for me.  This is why I wanted to share it with you again.  I hope you enjoy it.

This is Rosie. The wrangler LOVED her! Watch the video to see her incredible moves!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

Tad Griffith Trick Riding Exhibition! We always watch the riders, but I want you to watch the horses…

Well, as promised, here is the actual event that Tad and Tanya were practicing for in last week’s post about them.  So, you saw them rehearsing (and if you didn’t, here is that link) and now it is the big day!  Things didn’t go exactly as planned… This Fiesta arena is a bit smaller than Tad’s and this show is Tanya’s first…  You go, girl!

Anyway, I know you will want to watch this video to see them do their amazing tricks.  I certainly did.  But, after viewing it a few times, I turned my attention onto the horses.  Wow.  It was really something when you thought about what the horses did!  First of all, no one is steering.  These boys did what they knew they were supposed to do regardless if there was someone at the helm.  Now, we all know what horses can do if you drop the rein…  But not with these two.  Atta boys just kept on keeping on with what they knew they needed to do.  They never mosey to the center ring to eat flowers.  They don’t stop and rear at flashbulbs.  They don’t break into a trot or an uneven run, they don’t fuss, they don’t talk back, they don’t cut the circle… they just do their job with their ears up.  Wow.

Take a gander at Tanya’s horse.  First, she shimmies up on his neck, grabs a handful of poll mane and then steers him with it.  Hey, its all good…  She stands on his back and then, she hangs off the side of the saddle, moving around,  as he gallops around the arena...  Yeah, my horse would do that, too.  Not.  We riders often blame ourselves for leaning left and right (which we do) and say that we are hard on our horses for leaning one way (which we are).  So, imagine having a whole body over to one side!  Does the horse flinch?  No.  Does he stumble?  Nope again.  He just compensates and keeps going like he should.  Oh, and by the way, this horse got his belly slapped a few times by her hand and he didn’t even twitch an ear.  Never let them see you sweat.  This boy acted like it was just another day at the office.

And Tad’s horse!  OMG.  He just does his thing.  The boy has his head smacked a few times and his necked roughed up… does he do anything but his job?  No.  He just keeps an even gallop at all times.  So remarkable!  He didn’t change one bit from home to the show.  Don’t we all wish we could say that?  ;)

Oh, and I have to comment, check out how the horses watch each other.  Every time one stops and the other goes, the one standing watches with complete attention.  It would be so much fun to be able to read the thought bubbles from those horses…  (Roany)”Oooh, Tango, ouch, that musta hurt when she stuck her toe in your eyeball” … (Tango) “Nawww, I’m used to it… but did you see that kid throw a cup at me?  I almost jumped three feet!  Stoopid photographer popped a flash right in my eye!” (Roany) “You sure looked good out there, is your hip still bothering you?  Didn’t look like it, you looked like a colt out there” (Tango) “Awww, thanks, just doing my job…”  Or, something like that.

Anyway, please watch the Before and After videos (Tad at home and Tad at the show) and Enjoy!  If you have time, watch them again with the horses in mind.  They are very cute and such good boys!

Here is the You Tube version of Tad’s trickriding at the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse.

Here is the You Tube link of the previous video where Tad is rehearsing for this at home.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
If you want an update on the Bucket Fund or to donate, please click on the photo (photog: Trish Lowe)

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!