This morning I thought I'd take Siera and Morris for an early morning ride. My weekend was starting to look a bit busy so I thought I'd grab some time while I could.
Give Morris a morning romp and give Siera another solo workout.
The humidity was 100% according to the weather site and I could see fog laying in the low spots. I wondered if I could get Siera into the creek valley and look for spider webs with dew hanging on them.
This used to be a favorite thing of mine to do with Badger.
Now I know that it is totally unfair and non realistic to ever try and compare any other mule in my life to Badger. He was just that different and that wonderful ... we were so connected, I swear he knew what I was thinking.
Anyway, off we went. Morris trotted happily along as Siera strutted her stuff...her gait nice and smooth. I had expected some refusals in leaving home, but it didn't happen. Perhaps because she liked Morris's company?
The air was very heavy and dense, the scent of ragweed was extremely strong. We'd reached the bend in the long Peterson driveway when I noticed that Morris was wheezing.
Oh crap. I hadn't taken him on an early morning ride in such a long time that I'd forgotten how he had allergies to ragweed.
I dismounted and tried to figure out if I should just quit my morning ride and turn back home or...
I looked at Morris. He didn't want to quit. He moved up next to me and put a foot on my leg.
I know what he was asking for.
A ride in the saddle.
I sighed and ran a hand along Siera's neck, then picked Morris up and put him in the saddle. Morris quickly tried to find a good spot on the little Stonewall Saddle. Siera picked up her ears and turned them back to Morris and I.
I asked her if it was good with her. Right, as if she'd answer. Siera stood like a statue.
I remounted and adjusted Morris in my lap.
We traveled on. Siera neck reined almost perfectly down the old ridge road. We road up to the 'Grumpy Tree'.
I also think of this crazy looking tree as the 'gate keeper' to PeeWee's Valley.
Part way down into the valley a 2 does came crashing down the hillside and across the hill road in front of us. Morris and Siera curiously watched.
We rousted turkeys out of their night nests. They came crashing down and flew overhead in their horrid lumbering fashion.
Morris and Siera just watched.
I let Morris off by leaning over and letting him jump to the ground. He either led us or followed us depending on his mood.
We crossed the creek where Morris got a drink.
I dismounted in the valley floor and walked over with my camera to take some shots of Blue Lobelia with the morning dew on the flowers.
Siera dropped her head and grazed on the long grass. Morris did the following.
Pretty bold move for a dog around a mule. But Siera knew he was there and didn't mind.
[I knew that this dog and mule were good around each other before I tried this on a ride. Siera is extremely tolerant of Morris at home ~ so I was not worried about her having a bad reaction with him on the ground.]
I took some shots of the wild flowers and as I was ready to remount, Morris put a foot on Siera's front leg.
I stared at the two of them. That was Morris's signal to Badger that he was tired and wanted Badger to stand still.
I praised Siera and put Morris back in the saddle.
We rode home through the early morning light.
One dog, one mule, and me.
Siera had just passed the toughest test I've ever known for one of my mules.
She passed the Badger Exam.
Oh yes, I compared her to Badger this morning and she filled some very big hooves. She will never BE Badger.
She will be Siera.
And I think if I have a mule after Siera, that mule will also have some huge hoof prints to fill.
There was a lump in my throat and a wee...bit of a tear in my eye as we finished the ride.
Life just doesn't get better than this.