Here is the driveway we have to take now to get into the woods where we ride. The area of woods near us has been so damaged by this year's flash floods and wind damage that it may take me most of the fall and winter to re-claim my old mule trail.
Siera is in the lead here. Note the ears. She is watchful.
Here Opal is in the lead, Siera has relaxed and is letting Opal do the scouting. She is thinking that any mule monsters will knock off the old lady mule first and she will be spared.
We ride the 'back valley' trail and Siera leads there. She decides that she wants to go up the steep hill and go towards home. I turn her briefly up a steep deer trail and then come back down and take the overgrown ridge road.
Hubby and Opal wait patiently. Younger mules often think they can 'get one over' on the rider by trying to take a short cut. We generally let them know that the short cut is not always a very nice way to go.
Siera settled down and stepped out then, weaving between branches, her reining skills back in place.
We rode to the 'old' section of the woods where the undergrowth has been shaded out by the canopy of old trees.
It was cool and nice there and everything seemed to have a green hue to it.
It was a nice spot to rest the mules and let Siera think about standing still.
It was also a good place for her to practice standing still for photographs.
She did very well. She got a bit anxious of course when Opal and hubby rode off. But that is expected when two mules ride together. [Badger however was not like that! He simply didn't care for other mules at all!]
We let the 'girls' graze some in the open field before heading back home.
Siera's biggest challenge was not to 'race' back home and to follow behind Opal quietly.
She did well.
I am very pleased with her.
As I said before, as a groomed trail mule, she'd perform fantastically. Most would call her a fine trail mule.
She does very well with company.
But I don't consider her finished or experienced until she's had about 5 yrs of 'my' kind of riding on her.
That means she has to work on patience although that will come with maturity. There are other things, but that too will come with time and wet saddle blankets.