Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Snowy River Ride

We decided to leave earlier in the day to go riding because the winds were to pick up and gust up to 40 mph later in the day.

I grabbed Sunshine who has been absolutely perfect the last two times out [solo]. She was an eager beaver and full of energy. Hubby rode Opal, the mule who has a purpose in life...and that is to walk fast, very fast.

We ended up in the 'back valley' where I found some shriveled morels. The ground was incredibly dry.
I tied Sunshine up to a tree and wandered back and forth under several downed trees. It was HOT. I grabbed a water bottle out of the home-made saddle bags and shared with hubby.

He found a great big bag of mushrooms.
I guess that is okay.
I'm really along for the fun of the ride anyway right?

We decided to head back along the valley, on a narrow deer path. As is normal, I followed with Sunshine.
Opal stepped into the creek and I began to follow.

Sunshine and Opal had been a bit 'unnerved' on this particular stretch of valley, perhaps it was the wind picking up above us in the trees.
Perhaps it was the heat.
[Perhaps it was the Black Bear, or a Feral Pig?]
Perhaps it was nothing at all.

The next thing I knew, I felt Sunshine BOLT. I shouted so Rich would know we were having a problem.
I knew we couldn't pass Rich and Opal.
There was no room. A forked tree was on its side across the creek.

Sunshine had decided to jump through the fork.
Let me tell you.

I recall ducking.
I recall wondering if my arse was going to stay in the saddle.
I recall grabbing the left rein and pulling her to the left.

Did you know that a one rein stop has no effect on a mule who has no intention of stopping from fright?
I recall cursing a blue streak.
I recall flying through berry briers and prickly ash.
I recall getting her head pointed into a pile of multi flora rose and busted tree tops.

She stopped.
Both of us.

Hubby rode up slowly, he'd had his hands full holding Opal back when we went busting by her...

No harm done.
But I had realized that I should have listened to Rich and put the caveson on Sunshine.

One more thing.
Animals are animals.
This was incredibly out of character for this mule, never in 8 yrs of riding has she done this.
...and when this happens?
There is no time to think.
Only react.

You know what?
I had a good day.


  1. Yikes. Are you ok? Is Sunshine ok? You say you're ok but you have to let me know how you feel tomorrow.

  2. Aside from the quick check to make sure my undies were clean, I'm still fine and Sunshine is still fine.

  3. As it is with all animals ... nothing is ever for sure or for certain, no matter how solid the animal! The more you do with them the more you learn and experience ... both good, and sometimes bad! Glad that you ALL are Okay!

  4. True MJ, a mule can react much faster than we can...!
    Dogs react 100X faster than humans!

  5. I am glad you are OK. Were you stiff and sore the next day? I think wind spokes animals.


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