We have had a Bumpy start to Springtime!! I am ALMOST Three and this is my second Spring in the Pacific Northwest!! I gotta be honest...It is MAY!! Almost Memorial Day and I am kinda OVER the whole "Pouring-Down-Rain" thing!! I was honestly a bit cranky when Mum came up to play with me today!! And then she showed me this awesome early Birthday Prezzie from my pal Mickey The Belgian! Mickey lives in New York and his Momma Jen was nice enough to help him send me a neat-o Book!! Mum wants to find more of them so WE can give them as prezzies!! Thanks Mickey for adding some sunshine to a rainy day!
Most horse or mule owners would have considered this weekend a Big Flop! But I PROMISED when starting this Blog that I wouldn't sugar coat anything! And I stand by that promise. Both to keep myself honest AND to make sure that folks don't think that raising and training a Mule is super easy and so dang cute!!
Stella is an awesome girl but when she gets a case of the "I Don't Wannas" it is awful! She loaded right up in the trailer to head to Cle Elum...she travels like a dream, she was super calm and happy when we got to the park and went into the stall without any protest...(If you knew how BIG of a Deal that is....you would be impressed!)
There was loads of activity at the park and several very vocal and hyper horses around. Stella did GREAT! Then I messed up. I got Stella into a situation that got her uber stressed and she took off on me. She left and headed straight back to her pals and her stall. She came right back to me when I called her and all was good...but I was devastated. I have been led to believe and CONVINCED that this sort of behavior was a death sentence for a mule...that it could never be corrected and that eventually she would probably kill me! Then I met some super duper nice ladies at the ACTHA ride that said...NO WAY! You can fix this and we would be happy to show you how! I stopped crying and blowing my nose and felt hopeful again. Stella is such a good girl and I love her so much! She is awesome and smart and funny and can pick me out of a crowd of people! I made a big promise to her when I asked her to share her life with us and I intend to keep it! I will NOT GIVE UP and someday the people that have been so supportive will smile and be proud and the people want us to fail that don't believe that we can are going to look at their boots in shame...We are NOT done! Not by a long shot!
Hope you enjoy our latest fun!! I was kinda lazy because the sun was shining and it was SO nice to be toasty warm!! But I did my best to pay attention while we were learning!! I think my "Banana" is pretty darn good!! Even from a distance!! Thanks for watching my progress!! Love Ya!! Stells The Mule!!
I am sorry to be complaining...but this was NOT the best day ever!! My TEEFIES are Killing Me!! I tried chewin' on my hoof pick handle, the handle of my Hair Brush and a random pole.... The only good rollin' dirt is in the very corner of the arena! So frustrating....I have to lay down on one side, stand up, lay on the other side. THEN I got stuck in the corner and Mum had to help me get back up! The horses alll laughed at me...Then I fell down when I was runnin' around. I didn't even want the Fritos Mum brought for me. All this extra Winter Fuzzieis makes me look chubby AND my head has gotten SOOOO big that I have grown out of my Favorite Pink Rope Halter!
! I shouldn't be complaining so much...I'm sorry! Sometimes it is hard being a 29 month old Muley....Growing pains, awkward days, not wantin' to do stuff Mums askin' me to do....
I'm glad Mum is learning "Mule" cuz she could just see I was having a rough day today. She let me put my GIANT head on her shoulder and she massaged and massaged my chin and jaw...that felt super gooder! I didn't want my Fritos but if felt good chewin' on a BIG carrot!
Mum sez tomorrow is another day and that Growin' Up can have its Ups and Downs! So I will chEAR up and look forward to tomorrow!
Last November, Mum and Dad took me to OHC for the Norhwest Mt Trail Challenge. I had only known them for a couple of weeks and I was only halter trained. Thats IT!! It would have kinda been like taking an infant that can barely walk to an Olympic Gymnastic competition. I tried SO hard to be a good girl. And I WAS a good girl..I just didn't know HoW to do the obstacles! Mum was very nice about it and told me to just relax and have fun. I got used to a stall and crowds and applause and yes...laughter and lots of other horsies and mules and being in a HUGE show barn! It was a lot and I was awesome! Fast forward a year and a lot of hard work with Mum and a lot of rainy practice days and a lot of travel...A year ago I only did a couple of obstacles and got low scores, but I tried my bestest. Mum sez I have HEART! She told me that she couldn't train me to have HEART and WILLINGNESS but that she COULD show me how to step over stuff better...This video is from a year later...Not perfect but a HUGE improvement from a year ago.....We even got a "10" on the suspension bridge! That means we got a perfect 9 and had some WOW factor! I believe in Mum and she surely believes in me!! See you in November!! chEARS!!
So, Yesterday Mum taught be about "BLOCK!" I found out that when she says "BLOCK" that she wants me to walk up to the big purple pastic steps that are always in the arena!
She has been asking me to do this ridiculous maneuver for MONTHS! But she never had a good word for it! Or she would ask me to "Step Up"...which TOTALLY means something different! So yesterday when she FINALLY started speakin' my language and saw my Lightbulb go off, I thought we had it made in the shade! All she wants me to do is walk up along side her while she stands above me! Do it just right and TA DA! A Carrot appears! So today she got me all dressed up in my boots and saddle and bridle and stuff and said..."BLOCK!" I walked all the way to where she was and stood right up to her and waited for my treat! TA DA!! Then she got on me! Well, that was OK too! I'm used ta that and it IS easier if I just stand still while she's gettin' on! Perfect day so far right!!? So then Mums says.."WALK!" Wait, what? Did she say BLOCK or WALK? Whatever she said, she repeated it. Hmmmm...A carrot for BLOCK and nothing for a WALK...So I just stood there! Betting on the carrot! At first I could tell Mums was confused! I like walkin' most days! I'm good at it and I can cover some ground! Wasn't like me to not move!! Suddenly she realized what she had done and what I was doing! She started laughin so hard! (Can never say Mum doesn't have a sense of humor!) and then she said...OH CRAP!! Huh...Guess OH CRAP! Means WALK...so off I went!! When she rode me back and said BLOCK I marched right over to the Purple Plastic Step thingy again. But I've never done a BLOCK with Mum on me! It was always with her standin' on the Purple thing! Thats how I knows where to stop! So I walked over the purple thing, kicked it under myself, kicked with my back footies and knocked it over. Uh....Oh....There goes my CARROT! Wait...Mum said BLOCK and took me over to the fence! She climbed off and I got my TREAT!! I HEART "BLOCK"!! Now...we just have to work on Mums vocabulary!!
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!!
Dave and I took Stella down to Bolender Horse Park this weekend! Stella and I both learned ALOT!! I learned that I have been on the right track with her and that she really responds to having a stong leader! I was als really amazed at her progress over two days! She got out of the trailer at Bolenders in a complete jiggy spaz....she was nutted up to say the least. We put her in a stall and she was a prancing, nervous baby girl. There were three horses in the arena working, banners, flags, mirrors, strange horses and ALOT going on. Mark was VERY calm with her. I was doing my best not to get worked up.
As we stood outside her stall, Stella reached out and bit Mark's coat....Great. I've NEVER seen her bite or offer to bite anyone! And she chooses to bite her trainer. He popped her one in the blink of an eye but he never moved. She was testing him and he told her no way...quickly, fairly and without emotion.
Long story short, I got to spend Sunday morning on Bolender Horse Parks AMAZING outdoor trail course with Stella. She negotiated boxes, logs, rocks, a teeter totter, a ramp, a bridge AND YES WATER willingly and happily! I think she kinda likes the whole trail course deal! She was pretty tired by the end of our stay, but happy and content. I know that I make several mistakes in this video...but in my defense on Thursday she would NOT move off of pressure this easily and as I mentioned in my blog she nearly decapitated a farrier last week and I wouldn't go NEAR her feet. We started with a cotton lead around her foot on Friday and THAT freaked her out....I managed to get it around her right front foot, but that was it. She freaked out and had a come apart. She realized on Saturday that I AM THE ALPHA MOLLY and you can see the results by Sunday....I love my Stella!!
I set up a tiny-bitty "jump" in the arena...Stella and I jumped it a few times before Dave pulled out the camera!! Watch when she realizes that A.) I don't have a lead rope and B.) that I'm not paying attention to what she is doing!! I love to watch her run!!