it has been 6 weeks since I've driven Miss Stella! Stella is ready and willing, but I haven't made the effort of the time! Shame on me! She obviously loves it! This was the third time out..and the last time was March 12th....Seriously? She is so happy trying! Thanks Adena for continuing to encouraing us! Now I just need a cart! Oh..and an addition to our horse trailer roof! cheEARS!
I told myself that if I were to keep this "Diary" of Stella's progress (as well as my Muley education) that I would share the good, the bad and the ugly! I don't sugar coat much anyway, so why start now? I will be honest...when we got home from Oregon and I saw my scores from our practice show, I was initialyl super discouraged. At first I just saw all the names and all of the scores and immediately thought..."Geez! I really BLEW IT!" Granted I MISSED 3 (yes 3 of the obstacles...devastating in a real show) AND in hind sight I made some really stupid decisions on how I would approach some of the obstacles.....Then I realized that I started out approaching the gate All Wrong!....Boo Hoo...Kick myself in the butt....
Then I stopped for a minute and gave it some honest reflection...Lets look at the facts...
Six Months ago Stella was at Oregon Horse Center for the NW MT Trail Challenge...Let us Review:
Day 1: She refused 10 of the 20 obstacles...She actually didn't score too poorly on the ones she accepted but at the time I had NO idea how to approach them. She wouldn't get NEAR a ditch, a body of water, a wall, a pine tree (except to taste it)
Day 2....She was so nutted up, she refused EVERY SINGLE obstacle. One of them so badly the judge didn't even give her a ZERO, but left it BLANK!
Day 3? I didn't even show her in the Silverado or Logan arena because A.) She was so nutted up and B.) I was pretty sure she would be asked to never return. She was always searching for Bella and/or any other paint her size. She paid NO attention to me and had No respect. I'd only had her a couple of weeks, which probably translated into a few hours of time with her!
6 months later?...We had a bit of a water issue until Mitch Hoover gave me some much needed info...and after that? She didn't refuse ANYTHING! Bridges, ditches, water of all shapes and sizes, hills, fog filled ditches, suspension bridges, teeter totters, cowboy curtains!
Moral of this story? The next time you get discouraged, or you are last in your class or you blow a pattern? Think of Stella the Mule that got straight ZEROS 6 months ago...and now faces obstacles with confidence and trust in herself and in me! How many ribbons is THAT worth? I love my Stella!
6 months ago we took Stella to the NW Mt Trail Challenge in Eugene Oregon. We had only had her a short time.....Needless to say it was a big overwhelming for her! She was great, cuz it is alot to deal with for a young critter! The difference in her on this trip was so great! She was calm and did everything I asked of her! We discovered that she does NOT melt in water and the fog filled ditches will not swallow her whole! She is not a fan of cows, so I may have to borrow one of Denas for awhile! Enjoy! chEARS!
We had an amazing trip to Oregon! A huge shout our to Laurie and Tootsie as well as Dr. Christin for tending to Stella when she looked like she was going to colic or tie up! (Turns out she was munching away on her cedar shavings!) We made some great friends and got to see some old friends! We had the chance to learn some new info from mule people and horse people! Dave and I had a BLAST! AND he got to golf!
Sorry, I have posted and re-posted this! My ADD won't leave me alone and I THINK I finally edited this so the music will play to the end of the video! chEARS!!
What a relief! Stella got a pedicure today with Erin! These are pics of the second time Erin has met and worked with Stella! Stella got her fronts trimmed and Erin was able to handle Stellas back feet as well! There were a couple of little glitches, but for the most part Stella was great! She has come SUCH a long way from a few months ago! All I had to do was SHOW her a hoofpick and she went into a tail spin! THANKS SO MUCH ERIN!! You definately "get" her!!
Today was so AWESOME!! As you may or may not know, I've had a couple farriers out to meet Stella. The first farrier and Stella did not click at all. She didn't take a second to get to know Stella and immediately dove down to grab Stellas foot. Stella responded with a swift kick in the general direction of the farriers head. The second farrier was much more patient and willing to work it out with Stella, but Stella gave her the same greeting. I was devastated! That was 2 months ago. Stella has always allowed me to handle her feet with no problem. She had never offered a kick or even a squirm! Since February I have been handling her feet every time I work with her. I gradually got to the point that she would let me rasp her feet. Well, after a few sleepless nights, I knew that I had to get some help with her footies!
Enter Erin Wood. A natural trimmer with loads of mule and donkey experience! Now remember, the first time Stella set eyes on the last farrier, she flipped out. She pulled back, would kick out, had a spaz the minute she saw the rasp and frankly...I think that farrier picked up one foot for a nano second and then Stella had a melt down.
Within 20 minutes of arriving to the barn, Erin was able to pick up alll 4 feet and Stella was completely relaxed! We still have a ways to go, but it was a monumental day! Erin was patient, she wasn't nervous with Stella and she took her time. I think that Stella was picking up on the nervousness of the other farriers (and the vet for that matter) and that is why she was silly! Today was such a milestone! I hope my work with her helped to, but this is such a load off of my brain! I want
I know that I have my fair share of critics that roll their eyes at me and cringe when they see me work with Stella at Liberty...but my opinion is this...if she is choosing to follow me, hit her tarp and do it all without a lead rope, then Why Not!? She is respecting my space, she stops on a dime when I ask and honestly, we are having fun! I guess everyone is entitiled to an opinion and that is fine...but there is more than one way to get the results you want. I want a soft and willing partner.....Enjoy! Sorry about the funny taping where all you see is legs! Dave started watching and let the camera drop! chEARS!!
Stella the Flying Mule!
Who knew that Mules could fly? this was Stella the Mule just 3 weeks after Dave and I brought her home....Thought it might be a GREAT idea to take her to Oregon Horse Center for the NW Mountain Trail Championships! Too bad there wasn't a ribbon, buckle or vest awarded for prettiest creek clearing! We may have had a chance! Stella hesitated on the far side of the creek, giving me just enough time to get out of the way and allow her some space to land! Notice the slack in her lead rope...I didn't have to pull or encourage her...it just came naturally! I knew I was in for some fun! And below is proof positive that Stella does NOT melt in water! This is Mark Bolender working with Stella at Bolender Horse park just a few weeks later. Initially Stella wasn't having it...she was not about to get into that pond...About a minute later Stella was walking around Mark, in and out of the pond as happy as can be. She eventually just walked in her self and sort of stood there! Since then I have asked Stella to walk through every puddle, pond, marsh or wet spot on the ground! When she does refuse a water crossing...I can never figure out why...What makes this bit of water different? There obviously MUST be a Mule munching monster just below the surface!! With Trail clinics quickly approaching, it is time for me to pull up my rubber boots and get Stella past her selective water crossings! It is my Spring goal!!
Stella had a BIG day today! She attended a Trail Class Clinic today (not like the stuff at OHC) She was a VERY good girl and did a great job! I learned so much from Kim Gately today and I she was very helpful! I am glad Dave taped the clinic! It really helps to look back and see how you are messing up and what was working! For example...I notice that at one point I'm staring down at Stella's feet! Can't believe I didn't trip! Also...I always think it looks cool in showmanship when the handler is in synch jogging with their equine...and we did it without thinking about it! I give her a big A+ on her Report Card for this school day!!