Friday, June 20, 2008

The New Kid

Meet Siera, the new kid. Well actually we got her last spring. I started working with her on Wednesday...yeah the same day I was 'let go'.

Siera is a Peruvian Paso Mule, that means her dam was pure blood Peruvian Paso. Siera does the Paso gaite. Siera is a dream mule to work with.
I had no expectations when I took her into the round pen for her very first lesson. She'd been a bit cranky from being tied up while waiting for the farrier, so I was expecting an ill behaved mule.

She wasn't.

I asked her to lunge a circle around me with a whip. I said not a word. She lunged clockwise, then when I stepped in with body language and asked her to reverse, she lunged counter clockwise. I nearly dropped my jaw into the sand.

After a few minutes, I opened my mouth and stepped slightly ahead of her and said quietly.


She stopped so hard dust came up. She walked towards me and stood within a respectful distance.

Ok, I was not believing this at all. This mule was sold to us with very little work, she did have nice ground manners, but had basically not been handled in one year. [except for worming and footwork]

What was THIS?

I attached a lead with her and within a few moments we had learned *back* and *come*. I brought out a large plastic bag on the end of a stick and poked it around her gently. She flipped her head and stepped away twice. Then stood stock still.
I got out my major spook arsenal.
The Walmart bag filled with aluminum cans...I threw them at her. She trotted away then came back to smell it. In a few minutes the bag of cans was...HO HUM.

I took my old shirt that was hanging on the rail and tied it over her ears. I brought out the big BLACK MULE EATING PLASTIC.
It took a few momments of convincing but soon she was standing on the black plastic and getting her ears rubbed.


I left her for a few minutes and returned with my light saddle and a blanket. I KNOW she'd never seen a saddle.
It was HO HUM.

I was loving this gal.

I draped the noise making bag on the saddle horn, I attached milk jugs with rattly rocks in them to the saddle and turned her loose. She trotted quickly around me, then stopped and looked at the noise makers...then I swear she looked at me as if to say:

*Well? Is this all you got?*

Nope. I put my foot in the stirrup and laid across her back.

I tried the other side.

I untacked her and proceeded to brush her until her lips quivered with delight. When I returned her to the pasture, she wouldn't leave my side while my hands were on her neck.

I waved her off and she galloped to her pasture mates.

The New Kid is definitely AWESOME.
I like taking her to 'school'.

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