I never...okay...almost never give a mule a year of for no reason. But due to my work schedule last year and ... well...
I did it. I left Siera unridden since last July.
Everything on lead has been going very well, we've taken lots of small hikes with and without Morris. We've gotten the mail, we've looked for patches of fall wild berries and ducked through some trails in the woods together.
All of these things went well and Siera has shown no lameness at all.
In fact part of the day she walks around her paddock and keeps circling ... she is doing nice light exercise for herself. I laughed and told hubby that in a few weeks she may even be up for a long easy trail ride!
I took her from her paddock and we saddled up. She was quiet and seemed rather relaxed.
Our first test was going to be 'going up the driveway' and leaving the farm. She has always been a bit sour about that but she wasn't bad!
She'd walk a few feet and stop, I'd give her a kiss to get up. She'd go forward. In years past she would balk and back up, sometimes we'd have a bit of a go 'round. I'd have to slap her with a rein.
Not this time! I never had to touch her with my heels! I just kissed and she'd move forward and when she hesitated I just kissed again.
[Siera walking with her head and neck cocked to 'listen' to home...I didn't get after her for this as she was moving forward, I don't expect perfection and as long as she is doing what she should, she gets no reprimand!]
She kept looking back over her shoulder for the first 1/4 mile. Then suddenly she decided to go past the 'triangle' [where the road splits 3 ways] and see what was up ahead. I sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Siera's attitude about riding has improved, her reactions have improved, her attitude has improved...and somehow she decided to neck rein with ease. [I'd been working on that over a year ago...she must have thought about it on her lay off?]
Siera is gaited. Her mother was Peruvian Paso and it really does show when Siera gets up and strutting. She can gait at 12 mph.
Our ride was very short. We worked on standing still and relaxing. She can do this for almost 2 minutes at a time. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I think standing still is such an important part of training. Of course Opal knows know that when she hears my camera start up ... she is to stand still!
Siera gets her feet done today and we'll be taking more daily short rides and more practice at standing still...and perhaps visiting with neighbors.
The rest of my day was spent with Morris. We went hiking. Well, we went rock climbing in our dry gulleys.
The rocks in these places are fantastic! While hiking I found 12 iron concretions! What a mother lode!
Here's a shot of some of them, not quite in focus, but the light was very poor.
I left some on a boulder in the bottom so that when the neighbor kids come hiking next time, they can 'find' some too.
Rest area while rock climbing:
Yesterday's morning dew on flowers: