Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mules who hate people really?

Opal has a reputation.
Her reputation is that she dislikes people.

...and yes this is very true. In the 14 years that she has been with us she has shown herself to be 'people challenged'. If she does not know you, don't attempt to get near her.

I've spent hours with her since February. I stand in her pen with a curry comb and brush and gaze out across the meadow.
Eventually, she can't stand it.

She moves next to me....moves to within reach of the brush and stands quietly.
If I start at her neck and groom her for about 20 minutes I can approach her head and ears with my hands.

Tonight she bent her head into me and touched my side with her nose.
I slowly brought up my hand and cleaned the dirt out of the inside of her ears and the outside of them.
A feat not attained in years.

I scratched her a bit then walked away.
I stared at the mud by my boots.

Opal nudged me softly.
I kept my eyes on the mud, then focused on her shoulder while I allowed my hands to work up into her ears.
I swear she sighed.

Due to Badger's COPD or ROA, I've been developing a trust with an elderly mule who 'hates' people.
I know that if I am ever out riding and 'stranger danger' approaches, she won't let them near. Badger was a good judge of character also.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I imagined that this might be so for an old mule.
She is showing signs though that she can 'trust'.
She allows me to bridle her now without any reaction.
She acts quiet and subdued when I saddle her.

Not the reaction when my husband saddled her for years.
[not his fault or hers, just a lack of communication]...

She will not tolerate foolishness or sudden hand movements above her ears.
She is sensible.
She is fun.
She will take me anywhere I ask and take me safely.

For this I am grateful.
She is also teaching me how to deal with a different kind of mule.

She is one who is not lazy,~~ who is strong willed, ~~one who has her own mind.
...yet perhaps she could have changed if the right person had had her.

Now that hubby has relinquished 'her muleness' to me, I have seen a huge difference in behavior.

He says I spoil her.
I say, we communicate.

Tonight I went into her paddock and stood quietly.
She approached me.

She sidepassed up to me for petting.

28 yrs old.

Me--soon to be 55.
We can change.
We can adapt.

It just takes the proper attitude.

I hope tomorrow, we make our sunrise ride together.

Me and Opal.
Opal and I...


Badger...he is on pasture rest now, but not forgotten...look for more adventures later!

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