But it is step by step without skipping any safety factors. The goal of these lessons is to learn that a horse or mule are wonderful and fun. However these are huge animals with lightening fast reflexes.
While he makes a great schooling animal, he also makes you work each step of the way.
He won't kick, bite, or buck. However, while handling the reins, he will stop and not do a thing if the rider is sending mixed messages.
He doesn't just let the rider ride, he requires them to gain knowledge.
Once outside the girls found out that he will go more willingly. After all a mule gets bored doing the same things over and over indoors in a round pen.
Fred may be 30 something years old, but he still has a mule mind and dislikes mindless circles.
The girls and I stopped on a good note. They are ready for the next step and the easy mule who is lazy and doesn't mind the round pen.
Two mules for two Sisters!
Once they have ridden Siera, then I can get them both mounted in the little lot to experiment safely and ride on their own.
Here is what we have been up to.
After some oohhhs and ahhs, the girls climbed a round bale and did a nice pose for me.
"Let's pretend we like each other!"
Then they were off to stretch their legs and run. They played hide n' go seek. Chase, ...run...
I watched the storm approach and enjoyed their shouts of wonder.
My neighbor has goats. The girls love goats. The goats are the 'bomb' [I don't know if that is the proper term or not]. Each day we must visit the goats. MUST.
And we must pick black berries.
The kids who used to live in the 'upstairs' house came to spend some time and we all took off hiking to the creek after playing a break the ice game of Roll The Pigs.
We made it back to the house in the stifling heat in time for PB&J sandwiches on the porch. Our guests left and we rode.
Then we had to go back and visit the goats of course!
While in the goat pasture we heard rumbling and thundering. I called the girls who were disappointed and we headed back home. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning had been issued.
Rich came out on the porch and we all sat and watched it rain and chatted.
Pretty soon Grace got up and went inside.
She was rummaging in the kitchen.
I asked what she was looking for.
"Pans!" she replied, "I'm going to make supper!"
Tonight was grilled cheese and she was going to cook.
Count me surprised and pleased.
Not only did she make our sandwiches, but she also cleared the table and washed the dishes and cleaned up.
We decided that after supper we'd grab a movie off from Netflix and enjoy some quiet time.
The girl's parents called half way through the movie and the girls went out on the porch to talk to their parents.
Everyone sounded excited and happy. Mom and Dad were having great adventures as were the girls.
When asked how their day went, the girls talked about the goats. They mentioned Fred and riding in passing, but the conversation went to the goats.
And what goat diarrhea looks like.
After the phone call, Evelyn suggested that she make microwave popcorn for us and she did.
Today is Thursday and as I write this, Morris has come down to go out and has returned upstairs to be with 'his' girls. He is going to be one very lonely old dog when they leave. He always spends a day or two wandering the house and looking for children after they have left.
The girls mentioned that they didn't think 5 days were long enough for them to be able to do all the things they wanted to do. I sort of agree. We haven't gone to Jersey Valley, we haven't gone to the river, and we haven't done a major adventure in Awesome Creek yet.
Each of our days have been jam packed with adventures around the farm. The kids are getting to be experts at helping with the chores and we've settled into a good routine.
The two sisters are having a good time.
...and so are we!