Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chores with Siera

When I got home from work on Tuesday the weather was still pretty nice.
Chores needed to be done and I changed out of my uniform and into work clothes.

I walked down to the paddock and took Siera out. She was going to spend some time with me and it might as well be while I did chores.  Morris accompanied us running around Siera and through her legs.
She just sighed and watched him.

I led her into the shed where the hay was kept and put enough flakes of hay in the snow sled to feed the cattle.  I wondered how she'd react to the sled being pulled at the same time I was leading her.  
She smelled the hay and stole a bite.

Well now, she was associating the sled as a food source and not as a monster.
Funny that when I pulled the larger sled with hay in it to feed her in the paddock with Fred she'd eyed it as a Mule Eating Monster.

I walked up the hill to the calves and dragged the noisy sled through the gravel and over the grass.  A wheel barrow would have worked better but that takes two hands.  I had Siera in one hand and the sled rope in the other.

I walked over to the yard hydrant and hooked up the hose to water the cattle.  When I turned it on Siera's eyes widened and then she watched.  She is a very observant mule.

I turned the hose onto her hooves and sprayed her feet.  She picked up one foot and then set it down.  That was her reaction.
I praised her and then told her to 'stand' while I watered.  I dropped the rope to hook up the hose to another line and then straightened up.

She hadn't moved a muscle. She waited until I picked up her lead rope and then she heeled me back to the hydrant where I hooked up the hose for the large stock tank. 
We moved on to where our three cows were and I hooked Siera's lead over a tree branch.
She grazed as I forked hay to the 3 gals.
Annie was quite content and came to the fence line to look Siera over.
Morris ran about and did his Jack Russell thing.  

When I lifted the black plastic cover to put over the round bale, Siera gave it an eye and then curiously watched it.

It is interesting that sometimes under saddle these things seem to be monsters to her and while on halter and lead, they are not.
I've been working with Siera for almost 6 years now and she is broke, or trained quite well.  She has some most amusing quirks and one of them is her spring time ritual of being annoyed and upset about riding the woods trail away from the farm.

This is understandable since I don't get to ride much in the winter.  There are things that bother her under saddle that don't bother her when I am leading her.
Perhaps she thinks I am protecting her by being on the ground?
I don't know.

She does love to be with me in this fashion.  And I have trained her much like one trains a dog for obedience.  However, she doesn't 'sit stay', but she will 'stand stay' when I ask.

We did as much as I could while having a mule 'in hand' and then I groomed her and put her back in the paddock with Fred and Mica.  She stood at the gate and let out a soft nicker as if to say.
"What? Are you not going to keep playing with me?"

Another week or so of this kind of treatment and we will be good to go off on the trails.  


Siera came out with me for a while yesterday.  We walked in a rain shower to go get the mail.  She walked away from her 'buddies' willingly until Fred started to bray like crazy.  It took us much longer to get the mail and I got wet, but there you go.

I am trying to do something little with her everyday.  Rich told me that time with her would only make her 'a better mule' and since she was attached emotionally to me, it would solidify our relationship.

And yes, mules do get preferences in people.  Sometimes extremely strong preferences.  Badger was one such mule, and Siera is one also.


3 comments:

farm buddy said...

Sounds like you are doing very good work with her.

Lori Skoog said...

Great idea...to take her along. She will end up being bomb proof.

Val Ewing said...

Thank you both. She is a good mule and very smart. Sometimes it is frustrating to try and figure out what is going on in her head. She is pretty bomb proof already and usually will freeze if something bothers her.
I learn a bit from her all of the time.