I am NOT a fan of blankets for critters! I have seen first-hand what can happen if a horse or mule gets caught up in a strap or belly band. While Stella has a very thick winter coat, I just couldn't get over the idea of her withstanding temps in the 20's! We've had so much cold rain and snow that it was a relief to FINALLY catch a day when she was actually dry enough to blanket! After all of her tarp experience she didn't think twice about getting gift wrapped today! I just HOPE she doesn't find a way to get herself into trouble with her new coat. I think it may also save her a few scars and scrapes with her pasture mate Max...they play like kids and his aim is almost as good as hers! The bottom picture is me holding a lead rope that someone left outside....this pic was taken at noon and the lead had been in the barn all day. Yep...its frozen. I told you it was Freakin' Cold outside!!
As I've mentioned I rescued and rehomed a big 'ol Puppy dog of a mule named Neuman. I found him on Craiglist after reading an ad for a Registered Heart B mule...What? On Craigslist? After researching with the breeder and getting in contact with the original owner, I just couldn't let this guy sit in a pasture in Gig Harbor, misunderstood and depressed.
I squabbled with the last owner over his price...(It was off the hook and out of my reach) but eventually talked her down, scraped up the cash and drove down to get him. It was clear that she was terrified of him and he was equally terrified of her. He was hot wire taped into a two stall "shelter" of sorts with another mule. Neuman's rope halter was loose and in danger of either slipping off or getting caught on something. I pointed this out to the seller and she timidly approached Neuman. Neuman in turn pinned his big ol butt in the corner of the shelter and stood stiff and terrified. His head was held high and all I could see were the whites of his eyes. Now I'm not a dummy. I'm not about to take on a wild animal. Much less one of Neumans size. I offered to adjust the halter and quietly approached Mr. Neuman. I didn't stare him in the eye and I didn't approach him head on...but I walk right up and held out my hand. Neumans head dropped, he stepped forward and he stood quietly as I tightened his halter. It was within this 30 second exchange that Neuman said to me..."I'm a good boy, I don't know what this woman wants, no one is listening to me, I am freaked out and seriously, could you get me out of here? Neuman walked right into the trailer, never fussed or stomped as I paid the woman and off we went. Oh crap...Now what? I have a wonderful handful of a yearling named Rupert that might not appreciate an older brother!
Long Story Short, Neuman and eventually Rupert both went to live with Rick and Loretta and John and Jackie. Sometimes love means doing what is best and the most selfless so that in the long run (Not at all for the first few months because, Trust me the grief that I felt was thick and deep...I cried for 6 months straight) but in the long-run it all becomes clear. After a bit of a bouncy start with Neuman, I got a call from John today....after months of developing trust and regaining confidence in people, Neuman took Rick for a ride. And Yes John....Neuman is a gorgeous mover! Made me cry to be honest, but this time they were truly tears of joy. Knowing that I gave Rupert and Neuman the best lives through some wonderful Mule folks and that I am in turn giving Stella the amazing life that she deserves! Talk about Mule Karma!! I can't wait to see you guys at Bolenders and Happs!! CHEARS!!
Stella is getting a new gate for her paddock for Christmas! It cost $119.00 to replace the one that she destroyed...but compared to the potential disaster that may have occurred while she was demonstrating her jumping abilies...A gate is just fine for me!
She is getting some "down time" during the holidays to rest and eat! The weather here has been MISERABLE! Rain Rain and more Rain! Yesterday we went up to install the new gate and Stella was in her giant pasture with Max. She was drenched, but the rain runs off of her like a duck and she felt plenty warm! She started "Nickering" when she saw us! I don't know if there is a Mule equivalent for nickering....sometimes it sounds pretty cute and sometimes it sounds like a two-pack a day smoker clearing her 80 year-old throat....ANYWAY she started nickering and pushing against the gate when she saw us....Of course I went and gave her some lovin' and a carrot. When I walked away to help Dave with the new gate, she pushed and pushed on the pasture gate to get my attention. THEN she stuck her leg through the pasture gate and got it stuck. She waited patiently while I got her leg out of the gate. I told her...One gate a year...You've met your quota. (Crap, just realized that 2011 happens in a few days) I'd like to think that she was telling me she missed me and wanted to hang out and help us install the gate! So I put her in the paddock to hang out with us while we worked. She got exposed to a power drill! Hope she doesn't react the same way when she meets her new clippers! Between being sick and this stinkin' rain, I feel like I'm not spending enough time with her and that makes me crazy guilty....I think a Christmas morning visit is in
I am home in bed with a wicked head cold, JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS! YIPPEE!! Enjoy this video! And remember to look up "DING FRIES ARE DONE" on YouTube for extra Holiday Inspiration!!
Isn't it amazing!? I still feel like I have a long way to go to be understood!!
So yesterday I dewormed Miss Stella...and as a result she had a screaming case of diarrhea about 4 hours later! She looked fine, bright, alert, active AND hungry! But dang! I was impressed! So after work today I got home and asked my amazingly supportive, wonderful, Stella-loving husband to drive me up to the barn so that I might survey Stella and the poop in her stall or run. And without hesitation he said "Sure!"
It was freezing outside but he drove me the 7 miles to the barn...and instead of just sitting in the warm truck, he got out to say Hello to his Baby Girl! He was wearing a stocking cap so she gave him a few "Who the Hell are you? Snorts" before she realized that it was Daddy! And then is was all lovin'!
I took Daves big Mag Light into the stall...nuthin', No poop at all, nuthin' then out to her run....AH HAH! I won't go into great detail...but Stella's GI upset is resolving! Unless there was a cow in her run responsible for what I took as an improvement over yesterday....
ANYWAY...Here comes the true love part...after returning to the barn and describing the Mule Poo in great detail, in spite of the freezing temps and the pitch black conditions....my hubby followed me all the way out to the end of her run, flashlight- guided to examine the Stella the Mule Poo...just to confirm my assessment that Stella is getting better. Now that is Love. His love for me and for Stella! In return my Hubby just polished off 3 pounds of fresh Dungeness crab with drawn butter and warm Sourdough bread courtesy of me! He deserves it!
Miss Stella had a big day! I KNOW that my driving reins are ridiculously long, and YES I could have been drug around the pasture to my doom if they had wrapped around my ankle if she spooked and Yes it is not pretty buy HEY! This was her VERY first time ground driving!! She wanted to refuse the frozen puddle but didn't give me much argument and crossed it twice! She is so funny...I think she likes to have something to do...something to think about and she just sort of took to it! The thing about Stella is that she just gives me what I expect! I never realized that I do most everything with her ground tied...I haven't tied her to anything since we were at Happs in October! Oh...and no stud chains! She is driving in a rope halter in this video!! Regarding the tarp vid? I had a horse once upon a time that had a horrible case of Equine Tarpophobia! It was horrible...so I swore when I got Stella that her second best pal (besides me) would be her tarp! Paid off!
I want to extend a special and very sincere THANK YOU to Rebecca Potter...she owns and operates the facility where Miss Stella resides! She has been SO understanding and patient with Stellas adjustment period since she has come to live in Clearview! In spite of Stella demonstrating her athletisism by jumping from pasture to pasture, Rebecca is a true Stella fan and I appreciate it so very much! CHEARS!!
This is a training rule that I am TRYING to stick to! So yesterday, my Little Stelly Belly wore a saddle for the first time! I have decided that as part of MY training (which leads to HER training) that I will just expect the best! I think in the past with my critters, I have often anticipated problems and drama....which sometimes LEADS to problems and drama. I know that you have to be prepared for anything, but I think that expecting the worst might cause the worst sometimes. SO...Instead of expecting her to have a melt-down...I treated her like she was totally experienced and had been saddled a million times. She never tensed up or got nervous! I didn't even think about the fact that she stood ground-tied the entire time I was working with her! I started with the pad. I threw it on her, both sides,...on her neck and butt. I let it fall off, I swung it over her head and under her belly. Then came the saddle....same deal, both sides...NOTHING. She didn't even step away. Huh...Surely she will buck when I lunge her? Nope...not even a grumpy ear or a tail swish. So I ground drove her around the arena both ways and even did some figure eights. I'm telling you...I could have worked with her for HOURS!! We played for about an hour and then I "undressed" her. She kept poking at the saddle and pad as if to say that she wanted to do some more....I ALMOST broke my own rule and kept the session going..but I resisted temptation....and we ended the day on a great note! Then I just spent some time loving on her and scritching her fuzzy head! She is such a love bug and really seems to like to have a "job"!
I understand that in this age of Twitters and Tweets and Facebook and IM and Texts that Blogging is DEAD! Well, guess what? I don't care!
Do you remember when you were little and you got your first Diary!! It was a precious, secret place where you could record your crushes and pimples and cramps and complaints and worries and fun times!! You religiously latched that little gold lock and hid the tiny gold key. You probably didn't find out until adulthood that your brothers read your Diary regulary until you graduated High School! All it took was a wiggle and a tug and your "key" was obsolete!
Relizing that Blogging is completely OLD SCHOOL..I thought maybe I would give it up...but no. I need my Diary to talk about Stella and the trials and tribulations....as well as the rewards and amazingness of sharing my life with a mule! That being said, I came across this video that brought tears to my eyes. In part because I share this mans training philosophy and also because our trainer does to! Nice to be validated!! I hope you enjoy Josh Fosters view on training and making a connection with your critter! ChEARS and Merry Christmas!!
I was a TAD bit nervous about Miss Stella meeting yet another equine related professional. Remember the near decapitation of her first farrier had left me a bit worried. (I am over-dramatizing of course, the farrier should be out of ICU any day now!) I'M KIDDING!!
But Stella is nervous around some new people! I swear the the Mule Gods above that she KNOWS if someone is meeting her with ANY alterior motive! I don't know how she knows it but she just does. She is immediately suspicious! Dr. Miller was so great with Stella! I was shocked that Stella was being such a goof, but the vet just calmly went about her business! You would have thought that the stethascope had 480 volts coming through it! I thought Stella would shoot straight in the air!
We BRIEFLY discussed the pros and cons of attempting a rectal temp on Miss Stella! Her professional opinion was "SKIP IT" Music to my ears! Training Stella for the certain, eventual need for this less than pleasant necessity is on my agenda....Gonna get one of those super long thermometers on a really long rope!
Next come the vaccinations. I had been poking her with a paper clip over the past few days. NO NOT HARD! But just so it wouldn't be such a shock.
Dr. Miller was awesome! I've been a nurse for 16 years and have done my fair share of poking people with needles but DANG!! She was SO FAST!! Made all the difference in the world! Stella was so busy chewing her cookie that I'm not even sure that she knew what had happened. Dr. Miller ended the visit on a good note and gave Stella a little snack. Stella calmed down at the end and went back to her dinner!
Hopefully Stella has gained another fan! Thank You Pilchuck Vet Hospital and Dr. Miller...
Now...to find a new farrier....Any takers?