Thursday, November 03, 2016

Sunshine on my shoulder

After Sunshine was born I got her half brother Badger. He is the bay on the right. In this photo, Sunshine is doing her first ride off the farm at Wildcat Mountain State Park and we had stopped for lunch to let the mules take a breather.

Sunshine's mother was the product of my old sorrel mare and our Donkey Jack at the time, Bruce.
We started Sunshine under saddle at 4 years old. I worked with her but my concentration was on her big brother Badger. We rode her a lot during those first years of her training.

I started a new job in 2008 and got so busy that mule riding was few and far between. Badger fell ill in 2009 and Sunshine had a collateral ligament injury to her knee as far as the veterinarian could tell.
Sunshine was diagnosed as "well she may never recover, but then again, mules do surprise us!".

Sunshine surprised us. She eventually made a full recovery. During that time we had to let Badger go.
Siera had come into our lives and I found her to be quite endearing.

Again Sunshine got put on the back burner. We pulled her out for the occasional ride and she always did excellent. She is a 'go anywhere' mule.

I really don't know why I haven't ridden her more as she is a nice little delight. But Siera kept pulling me and I let Sunshine sit.

However after my farriers commented on what a perfect little mule Sunshine and her sister was, I decided to get her out and do a refresher course on her. Her last time under saddle was probably 2 years ago.
I admit, I shouldn't have ignored this little beauty.  But I was so intent on the beautiful tall and graceful Siera.

Last night Sunshine stood at her paddock gate and nickered and snuffled at me when she saw me come with the lead rope and halter.
She was happy to see me. This was night 2 of getting back to riding. I saddled her and put the crupper on her. Sunshine acted as if that would bother her. So we exercised in the round pen for a few minutes.
Then we went outside.

She strode right out and we took a tour of the farm checking all the water tanks. Down through the washout gully in the yard we went near the clothes line. Sunshine dipped her head and climbed right through it. Up and over a dirt pile we went.
We went up the driveway to the mailbox on the ridge and got the mail. I led her back home as my hands were full of mail and packages.

We went past Siera and Fred's pasture. I got the Stink Eye from Siera. She looked upset with me.
We rode until the sun started to go down.

And I let Sunshine get her big reward. Some time grazing in the yard with me. For some odd reason the grass in my yard is so much better than the Merry Meadow. Though I admit the pasture is pretty short this time of the year.
[We will be moving them to the winter pastures this weekend.]

My husband came out of the house and we chatted while before I put the little red mule away.
I told him the only fault I could find with Sunshine is that she disliked dogs and would go after strange animals in her pasture.

Rich reminded me that when she is under saddle, she seems to ignore our dogs.

I patted Sunshine on the head and rubbed her ears.
Why on earth had I been ignoring this red gem of a mule?
I put her away and started singing to Sunshine....
the John Denver song...

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high


Lori Skoog said...

Such a sweet girl!

Sue Nichols said...

So sweet!