Mistakes I made yesterday with Siera and what I learned from it....
One, I was not thinking.
She hasn't had a woodland timber outing since last fall, I figured like all other of my past mules she'd just 'do it'. Nah, her brain is not put together like that.
The first ride after a long break, will always a bit annoying. At least until she has put more age on her and maturity.
She's had a 5 month lay up. No, she didn't forget what she was supposed to do, she was just a bit more hyper than normal.
I also tried to make her walk slow with Fred. She is gaited, she likes to walk fast. On an open trail it is easier to let her gait out and get ahead. If she has a bit of too much steam to stop and wait, she can do some reining and other fun things.
In the really tough stuff, she surprised me by willingly stepping right into the creek and going through black mucky yucky sucking mud that was sure to EAT any mule.
But since it didn't eat Fred, I'm sure she thought that was okay.
She stood in a hard running creek. She climbed around tires and debris, over logs and generally did a good job.
But this was after we'd been up on the 'bluff' where she was acting as if a HUGE ugly monster was after her. She even tried to buck in protest at one point.
Siera cannot buck, seriously, it was just a butt hump.
I got nervous so I choked on the reins, which got in her mouth, which got her more upset, which got me more upset...see where we were going? No win situation.
I loosened her reins up, she calmed down. I let her move in the open spots as she wished. When we got into the back valley she rode quietly and concentrated on every hoof placement.
I talked with hubby as we brought the old logging road up and out of the valley and began to head towards home. He'd helped point things out and told me never expect Siera to be a Badger.
Well I think I know better.
Still after her first timber rides, she does seem to prefer to go with just a dog. She still wants to go fast, but she has one extremely outstanding and important feature that NO mule has ever had with me before.
She is a pointer.
She sees deer and she stops and points with her head and ears. She stands rock stolid as they bound away and other animals spook.
She 'sees' more than I can. She pointed out a magnificent hawk so I could watch it from her rock solid...'I'm glued to the ground' ... stance that she has and watched the hawk glide into the evening sun.
Further up the old soybean field we came up on a bon-a-fied real deal MULE eating monster.
Fred gave it wide berth, it fluttered and rattled in the field.
I let Siera have her head.
Dam if she didn't walk right up on it to investigate it. She looked at it and then walked away as if it...the Monster did not deserve her attention.
It as a kid's kite that was fluttering and rattling against a weed it had gotten tangled in.
Further up the drive she walked right up the the tiny odd shaped 'monster' that was in the middle of the road. A Tiny Tots plastic picnic table with a piece of plywood propped on it. The board teetered in the wind.
Siera stepped around it.
And read the sign:
You know what?
I have another personality to get used to.
She's young, ambitious and full of spunk. She has a good mind even if she gets nervous leaving home after not being away for a while.
I learned a great deal.
She has matured enough to take on some really tough terrain and she thinks it through.
I have to re-think my mulish ideas with her.
She is her own Mule.
And I like that a lot.