Friday, August 6, 2010

The Mule Skinner.............Up Close and Personal.....

Part 1

The mule's ears darted back and forth between Legs and me as I ever so carefully reached my hand towards the loop on that halter. It was clear it didn't really know what to think. Who was the bigger threat.........or maybe who was more interesting........who knows for sure.

My mind raced with what I would do "if." What if I grabbed that loop and the mule tried to race off before I got the rein snapped to it? What if I did catch the mule and it just stood there? Would I try and lead it back to its trailer or would I stand there waiting for some kind of help? What if.................

As I got within a literal inch of the lope, the mule answered my many questions. It wheeled around and took off kicking out with both hind feet. I guess that attitude makes sense if you're an equine bent on having things your way. For me it just meant this wasn't over and what was coming next.

Well, as it went, the mule skinner was next on the agenda. As the mule raced away from me, the man materialized at the brink of the hill. The mule put on her brakes (Yes, by now I could tell I was dealing with a jenny) and turned back my direction.

I've never been one to get on a horse quickly or gracefully for that matter. Jumping on my horse to herd this mule was out of the question at this point. Instead I tried to herd her on the ground with Legs in tow.

Now this isn't something I would recommend. Trying to herd one horse while you're on foot leading another can really complicate things. As it was, Legs was paying such close attention to me that, most of the time, it was like he wasn't even there. He mirrored my actions and stayed pretty much out of my way. Not once did the horse stall or get ahead of me.

With the jenny now heading back our direction, I raised my hands up to form a barrier. As I raised my hands Legs moved off away from me side passing to the right, making the barrier even wider.

The mule looked at us and then looked around her for a means of escape. There were several cars parked off to our right and there were gaps between them wide enough to be a good escape route. The jenny turned to split between a couple of cars as I ducked around the front of the cars to cut her off.

Legs backed away from me never putting the slightest amount of pressure on the rein. The horse just moved enough out of my path to give me room to get where I needed. As I reached the midpoint of the first car, I threw my hand out towards the front of it. The movement was enough to cause a visual barrier for the mule and she turned back heading towards the asphalt roadway.

By now the mule skinner was talking to the jenny. "Hey! baby, go back to the trailer." is what I heard. I remember thinking we were in big trouble if he thought that was going to capture this mule. She didn't want anything to do with cooperation or getting caught.

Again the mule turned his direction. Just the sound of his voice was enough to turn her back mine. The mule was intently looking at Legs. I began to suspect that maybe, just maybe, this jenny was in heat.

If that was the case, Legs showed no signs of it. The stallion was clearly rolling my lead at each step. He was not thinking about breeding. He was thinking about this fun new game mom was playing.

The jenny actually took a few steps my direction. Then she took a couple me. Then she got close enough she tried to reach out and smell Legs.

To be continued............

But HOW Personal

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  1. A jenny is a female donkey, not a female mule. A molly is a female mule.

  2. I have said this before and I'll say it again.

    Legs is *some* horse. He's special MiKael.