Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Why Walk When You Can Ride? in the Mountains, a CF.O Finds That Mules Are a Man's Best Friend

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Why Walk When You Can Ride? in the Mountains, a CF.O Finds That Mules Are a Man's Best Friend

Article excerpt

After carrying a 50-pound backpack over 10,000-foot passes a few times, James Holly figured there had to be a better way to see the mountains.

"Backpacking is something that you do if, one, you don't know any better, or two, you have a keen sense of masochism and you like the haul," says Holly, president and CEO of $1.4 billon-assets Bank of the Sierra, Porterville, Calif.

He noticed others on the paths riding and packing with horses and mules, and decided he wanted to try it. A friend showed him how to get started and lent him a mule and a trailer. From that point, Holly was hooked. "It just makes it a much more enjoyable trip," he says.

Holly has been packing and riding mules through the Sierra Nevada mountain range for almost 40 years. The hobby requires quite a commitment. In addition to mules, over time he has purchased a trailer, a pick-up truck to pull the trailer, and saddles and other riding equipment. He also has created a tack room in his barn to store the equipment. "There's a lot of logistics to doing this," he says.

Conveniently, Holly has ten acres of permanent pasture and some native hillside at his home ranch, which he uses to care for his four mules: two "Molly" or female mules named Reba McEntire and Brandy, and two "John" or male mules named Arizona and Buster. He has had most of the mules for close to 15 years. Upkeep and care is not much different from any other pet. He grooms and trims them every ten to twelve weeks and administers shots and other medication a few times a year. He grazes them on the land and feeds them grain in the spring to prepare for the riding season, which runs from about late June to late September. …

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