We'd gone to the creek and back early in the morning and he'd come up the steep ridge road and was surprised in some ways that it wasn't as hard to do as it was this spring. I pointed that out to him.
Last year he had throat cancer. He'd had a stroke which affected his balance and he was sure he would never hike or ride a mule again.
I asked him again. "Want me to catch up Fred? And we could go for a little ride?"
Well I didn't need to wait around. I went out with two lead ropes and caught up Fred and Siera.
Siera came trotting up to the gate.
"Oh look, you came when the sun did another cycle!"
I smiled and let her drop her head into the halter. Fred pushed past me into the catch pen.
"Fred is grumpy, you haven't taken him out for a while."
I caught them up and led them to the horse/mule trailer. I removed some burrs from both Fred and Siera's tails and Rich came. Siera stiffened and stepped back.
"I don't like him. Make him go away. He isn't riding me, is he?"
Fred glanced over. "Nah, he wouldn't ride you, you are a female ditz."
Siera has never really taken a shine to Rich, maybe it is his deep voice or sometimes a bit harsh attitude when his mule won't do what he/she is supposed to do.
We saddled up and took off through the woods. We came out on the cropland at Peterson's. All the corn was off the fields.
Siera could now see the Big Scary Machinery. It wasn't so scary now. In fact it was silent.
We rode across the fields just chatting and enjoying our time out. Rich looked content and so did Fred.
Siera came to a halt and locked legs.
She turned her head and pointed with her ears.
"I see it I see it. Human sneaking along the woods!"
And darned if she wasn't right. There was a bow hunter walking along the edge of the crop land. He blended in so well that if she hadn't pointed him out I wouldn't have seen him.
We moved on down to the creek. Rich hadn't seen the damage the flood had caused in the valley. I don't know why we call it damage when there was nothing there anyway. Mother Nature re-arranged things that's all.
I showed him where I crossed the creek yesterday and Rich just shrugged and said he'd like to go back home.
We used to go on very long rides. But seeing that is was Rich's second ride this year, I said nothing and simply enjoyed that fact that he was riding.
I asked him how it felt. And he replied "Good."
And Siera seemed quite a bit more calm with Fred along. She relaxed and rode quietly with her ears bobbing out sideways but flickering around.
We rode down the road towards home. I chuckled when Siera picked up the pace and I asked her to slow down.
Rich asked me what I was laughing about.
I said. "I think I have it figured out. I had Cheyanne the flighty half Arab horse who freaked at everything in the world.
Then I had Badger who was Mr. Laid Back Nothing Will Bother Me.
Then I rode Opal who was like riding a mule on Speed with Attitude, who also could swap personalities and ride like Mrs. Laid Back.
I've ridden Fred who is Mr. Chilled Out most of the time.
Now I am riding Siera who is like the Super Calm Mule who has a split personality. She is a mix of Badger, Opal, and Cheyanne the major Ditz.
She is split between calm, and pissy. Calm and angry, loving and irritable. I can now say that I have stopped comparing Siera to Badger and realize that she is her own mule."
Rich shrugged. "The Split Personality Thing works well for Siera. After all..." Rich grinned at me, "...she is a female!"
We let the mules go and both Fred and Siera stood near us for a while before turning back to their pasture and walking away.
It was a good day. The sun was low in the horizon, the temperatures were decent and we had gone riding together.
I can't think of a better way to end our day.
Oh yes. Siera did drop her head and stare at me as if to say.
"Tomorrow when the sun cycles?"