Riding the roller coaster and never leaving the farm.

It started out as a pleasant ride; the leaves covered the ground, and deer on every surrounding ridge. Cabo was a little on the anxious side, I took extra time while saddling her, giving her time to settle in about things…such as life. I noticed she gained a little more weight in the last week, Cabo looked good. We rode down into the hollow and, watched the whitetail deer romp through the woods, and as usual none of this bothered my mule. We rode past the “stuffed lion” and she made a mental note of that.

Riding up and down the ridge with bridged reins, I was balanced in the saddle while using my seat and leg. At the bottom of the trail, Cabo stiffened her neck, threw her body to the side, and bucked up and down. Sitting deep in the saddle, I brought her back down, and immediately rode her through the trees while doing figure eights, to get her mind back.

Now I have her thinking straightened out, rode along the fence line, then I rode up the path back to the barn. We get to the top of the trailhead and Cabo has a complete meltdown! I come out of the saddle, lodge my right bootheel onto her shoulder, and praise the Lord I don’t wear spurs. I thought for sure I was going to come off, Cabo came up on me again, and that momentum was enough recoil to spring myself back into the saddle while grabbing onto the horn! I quickly got my seat again, thumped her around in two circles then barked orders for her to walk on. After I was sure I had her mind where I wanted it, I rode back down to the “trouble” areas to work her in and around the trees. It was like riding a roller coaster at the amusement park but never leaving the farm. And I did get my money’s worth!

In all honesty, this mule is only working half the time in the saddle than what we have been doing. Clearly, she needs to have her feed program adjusted. One cup of steam crimped oats, no molasses, one oz Sho Glo, one oz corn oil, and free-choice hay.

A Conversation With Your Mule

Cabo the Mule loves conversation.

I’ve had the opportunity to own a lot of wonderful mules in my career. When I was young, I bought mules and donkeys at sale barns. I wanted to learn more and have stories/articles to write about these fascinating creatures and here I am many years later still learning! As I learned, this mule, Cabo loves conversation – no kidding and carrots or cookies are not needed. She just wants to hear a soothing, quiet voice that offers praise and if you don’t talk to her, she will turn her head and look at you for a cue, a word or a whisper.

I’ve never experienced anything like this and I’ve worked with a lot of mules. The (horse mules) ones that have never been kissed are usually shocked at the new sensation and suck back to think about the ordeal. I mean, come on, most guys are not going to be kissing on their mule(s).

I wasn’t sure how Cabo was going to react when I gently smacked one on her; she could have nudged me out of the way, leap back, or throw her head up. From the response I got I instantly knew Cabo has been kissed many times.

OK, so if you’re a guy reading this you can scroll on by or you can admit to your tender side when spending time with your mule. Your mule adds “cool” to your image, because you have the finesse and the right gear to put it all together and look spectacular while in the saddle!

Back to the conversation part of this story. When working around my mule, grooming, picking out feet, saddling, my mule will turn her head around. If I don’t acknowledge her in some way, she will in a short time get agitated. To Cabo, you have to be a working partner; any slight snub on your part and that makes her uneasy. I wasn’t a big talker when I brought this mule home, however I now talk, sing and sometimes dance around my mule. Stay safe and don’t forget to kiss your mule goodnight. ~Cindy K Roberts


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