May 25, 2018

mule notes, mxviii-v-xxv

I let Cora loose in the arena for some playtime. She did a little loping and then said, "I'm outta here," and climbed straight up the rock wall and took herself grazing and would not be caught. My two thoughts when she left the arena were, "Wow, I have to take her to the mountains," and, "Whoa, what have I gotten myself into?" I let her alone so she could go make all the horses jealous of her free roaming before I went to gather her up, and after she ran away from me a few times I was finally able to bribe her with carrots to get her back into her halter and then back to her paddock. (Aria, lol - just can't quite figure out what kind of equine she's lookin' at. And check out how Cora is keeping one ear on Aria and the other squarely on me. As she grazes nonchalantly la de da.)

May 24, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-v-xxiv

Cora yanked me off balance a couple times on our trail walk today but we're both getting better at it. A horse fly got her on the nose and it was biting so hard I had to pluck it off. A couple minutes later the wound was still bleeding so I licked my thumb and rubbed it. She seemed so surprised - she was like, wow, that was nice. Earlier she really seemed to like having her mane brushed.

May 23, 2018

ranch notes, mmxviii-v-xxiii

Kelly suggested turning Cora out for some free grazing and just hanging out with her, like equines do with each other. The ranch was super quiet today so after work I turned her out and left her alone for an hour or so. (I mean, I was nearby and nearly always in her line of sight, but not in her space.) She spazzed out a couple times and went galloping from one fence to another, but it didn't seem like she was upset or anything. She seemed determined to eat every blade of grass by the geldings' fence.
After a while I walked over and stood with her, and a half hour or so later took her quietly back to her paddock. She was reluctant to go back - she was having a good time! - but not impolitely so.

May 21, 2018

trail notes, mmxviii-v-xxi

mule notes, mmxviii-v-xxi

Yeah I'd totally keep an ear on that chicken too.
I am growing quite fond of this creature. She accidentally stepped on my foot today and immediately stepped back off. I was impressed. And grateful.
We did some really beautiful breathing and bonding work today.

May 20, 2018

ranch notes, mmxviii-v-xx

Bren texted while I was at work and said there was a tornado warning for Leander - almost certainly the same cell in the top picture, which caught my eye while I was feeding the horses. As I was finishing mucking the lower paddocks the rain started in earnest, so I handed out a few carrots and headed out. About halfway home I saw the storm's swath - broken fences, trees split in half - and the fire chief was out checking up on folks. Nothing major as far as I could see, but yikes.

May 16, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-v-xvi

New round bale!
Donatello, in the neighboring paddock, was totally jealous. (He's next.)
I sat on the ground in a corner of Cora's paddock for an hour after work. She came by and got some carrots but I think I was weirding her out. Might be something you have to do a lot or not at all; I mean, we mostly ignore each other when I'm mucking her paddock, but that's a whole different thing than sitting quietly in one spot. Hmm. The sitting is meant to be the opposite of threatening, but maybe it seems to her like something a predator might do? I'll have to think about that. I should try sitting facing away from her, you know, just minding my own business, but still in her company. And also yeah maybe bring a chair.

May 15, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-v-xv

We had a nice short session in the round pen and then a trail walk that was a little stressful because she pulls. We'll be working on that. I told Kelly I suspect Cora is actually a super-smart, finely tuned, highly trained circus-performer-level animal (imagine a half-ton Ondine) but that I'm not, and that the hard part will be figuring out what the heck I'm doing.

May 14, 2018

May 11, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-v-xi

Cora Graymule and I had a long, quiet grooming session today, lots of back and forth, lots of deep breathing. She leaned into some feather light strokes of the super soft goat hair brush around her eyes and the base of her ears and forehead. She doesn't like me messing with her legs but she forbore it (only briefly on the right front). This is a sensitive creature - I'm thinking the key to communicating with her will be through the softest words and the smallest gestures. And oh my gosh she's beautiful.

In other news, I got to drag the arena - that's where you drag a giant heavy metal rake behind the tractor through the arena sand. It's like a dusty zamboni. The end result was horrible but shut up it's both fun and frightening to drive a tractor through sharp corners without smashing the arena fence and the horse obstacles and all the trees and shrubbery and stuff.