Thursday, April 05, 2012

Outsmarting a Mule

The last time I rode Siera it was October 29th. 
That means she was idle for nearly 5 months in the pasture, except for foot trims and worming.

She has led the life of luxury this winter, while I was too occupied with other things ... and taking Opal the experienced mule on rides that were a bit dicey in footing.

Welcome back Siera!
I took her out of the pasture and literally butchered her mane with a pair of scissors. 
Naughty me, but the clippers need new blades and I wanted to see where on earth her head was under that bushy mane!

I fitted her with my 'woods' saddle and mounted up.  At first Siera was full of refusals.  She thought a muddy tire track that my husband had left with his truck 3 weeks ago was a 'mule eatin' monster.  She didn't shy so much as decide that she didn't need to get near it.
She did a pretty good impression of Michael Jackson's Moon Walk.  That would have made me proud it that is what I had wanted.

I dismounted and walked her up to it.  She immediately began to eat grass around the monstrous track.  Okay, I was outsmarted.

I remounted and went off into the woods, Siera was fresh and feeling it.  I really wasn't afraid of a buck or a blow up.  Siera has proven time and again that though she can be silly she doesn't lose her cool.

We did fine.  She moved out with a purpose.  She even went through some of the 'lesser' ditches or ... runoffs with no hitch as she'd had last year.  Perhaps she was maturing.

Then came the Big Ravine.  I pointed her towards the trail and asked her to go forward.  She balked, she walked sideways [hard to do in soft loamy soil on a steep hill].  I finally got her to head up to the top of the steep washout.
We are talking about a 10 ft drop into a dirt and rock filled ravine here... not some little ditch.
At the top she walked through the prickly ash and berry briers and we headed down the other side of the Big Ravine.
When we got to the opposite side of the crossing I watched as a light-bulb went on in her head.  She 
knew that the way home was across that steep ravine.
Bless her boney little heart.
She slid down the steep embankment and climbed up and out as if it were a routine she'd done all along.  

I love riding and training Siera, she is a fresh mule with a fresh attitude.  She is a challenge with her intelligence, but a joy to ride with her Peruvian Paso gait.

1 comment:

Mary Dixon said...

Nice blog - thanks for writing it. From another mule lover (usually!)