June 29, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-vi-xxix

I should put on a tie huh.

mucker's delight, mmxviii-vi-xxix

Nasty wet piles of hay more often glob up and roll back out of the scoop so you have to uggggh dismount and load it all by hand with yer muck rake but not this time baby BOOYAH.
Even the tractor looks happy.

June 28, 2018

ranch notes, mmxviii-vi-xxviii

The veterinarian came out to the ranch today. Fancy (above) and a few others had some dental and other assorted work done. Cora got a "new owner wellness check," which she passed with flying colors, and a couple vaccines. She twitched on both (twelve hundred or so pounds makes for a big twitch), which we expected - she doesn't like to get hurt - but other than that she did pretty well. Good heart, good lungs, good teeth, and the vet tech thought she was sweet. 
Today was one of the busiest days I've seen at the ranch. We had a group of church volunteers working on a trail and we had a truck pull in with 18 round bales (I was holding Joy at the time and she totally started dancing) along with the vet check and a couple regular clients. Normally when I get Cora from her paddock she comes right over and waits for her halter, but with all the activity today she was like, naaaah, I'm good. Which I understood - when I was mucking Aria and Sunny's paddock earlier all the background buzzing was making me wonder if having a bunch of visitors all at once is one of those things monks work super hard to be grateful for, you know, good practice. I mean, it's easier to be all zen when your daily companions are contemplatives. And I always try to bear in mind that for more than a few of those people today was one of the most memorable days of their lives. It's always a privilege to spend time with horses. One of the teenage girls gave us a nice pencil drawing of a horse and said she just wanted to give something back. I put it up on the whiteboard in the barn. :)
I'm pulling an extra feeding shift tonight - I'll get to see how Cora is feeling after her shots along with how Fancy and the others are doing after their sedatives wear off. Ugh.


All is well.

June 27, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-vi-xxvii

We played "stand on your mat" today. Mules are known for knowing where their feet are and her natural inclination is to go around, so we did a lot of back-and-forth dancing to get her to step on it. No halter or rope, just pressure and release. Another way to do this exercise is to wait and reward when she approaches the mat by happenstance or curiosity but that takes a while and gosh it's hot.  

June 26, 2018

mule notes, mmxviii-vi-xxvi

Cora touched a brand new target ten times in less than ten minutes this afternoon. We used a 12-inch square rubber tile which I hope to have her place a front hoof on within the next few sessions. I was holding it low today; transitioning from a touch with the nose to a touch with a hoof is next.

I like my horoscope this week from Free Will Astrology. Virgos rock:

Stage magicians may seem to make a glass of wine hover in midair, or transform salt into diamonds, or make doves materialize and fly out of their hands. It's all fake, of course - tricks performed by skilled illusionists. But here's a twist on the old story: I suspect that for a few weeks, you will have the power to generate effects that may, to the uninitiated, have a resemblance to magic tricks - except that your magic will be real, not fake. And you will have worked very hard to accomplish what looks easy and natural. And the marvels you generate will, unlike the illusionists', be authentic and useful.

Right on.

"Well, don't let's spoil the show with any silly old not believing," said Gerald with decision. "I'm going to believe in magic as hard as I can..."
-The Enchanted Castle, Edith Nesbit, 1907

June 23, 2018

up at the river with cĂș, mmxviii-vi-xxiii

Four miles before 8:30.
Painted bunting!
I think the snake is a bull snake, maybe a corn snake? Super mellow. (Update: blotched water snake.)

June 22, 2018

trail notes, mmxviii-vi-xxii

snippets, mxviii-vi-xxii

From The Natural Superiority of Mules (Kindle edition*). Jody Foss "twice crossed the western part of the United States, a total of seven thousand miles, on a mule."

I like her description of the perfect mule.

*Thanks Sarah! :)

June 19, 2018

garden notes, mmxviii-vi-xix

they let me live here lol seriously what

ranch notes, mxviii-vi-xix

Aria, Willow and Cora

June 18, 2018

ranch notes, mmxviii-vi-xviii

The mares got into the round bales over the weekend and chewed the protective mesh netting off of several, which makes them nearly impossible to move without falling apart. When I got to my car at the end of my shift I still had hay stuck in my hat.
Cora is awesome. Awesome. We've been doing a little positive reinforcement training, touching a target - today I threaded a bandana through the end of a dressage whip and she got it right away. We're going to keep working on "touch" and then we'll also start working on backing and head lowering. (I have a book. She already steps back and forward on request beautifully but we're taking it step by step.) We've been walking nicely together on a lead rope lately too.
Rumor's owner Kelly made the arch for her son's wedding and gave it to the ranch. Up close and in person it's a work of art. Makes everything around it feel sacred. There are three baby red-tailed hawks on the property right now  - they like to sit on it and yell.