I really enjoy walking alongside my horses, as much as, if not more than riding them. It’s unusual, I know, but to me it feels like a different kind of partnership when we’re both walking. When I ride, the horse is lending me so many things- his back, his strength, his agility and his speed.… Continue reading Hiking with Horses
My draft horse, Olaf, has become extremely attached to my half blind mule, Ellie. More accurately, she is attached to him, and he is more than happy to comply. Ellie still has one perfectly good eye but, since going blind in the other, she’s let Olaf become her security blanket in life. They are sweet… Continue reading Night Walk with Olaf
As you know, Miss Mule went mysteriously blind in one eye this summer. What started as a cloudy film over half her eye now covers the entire thing, and has left her with no vision on her left side. She may see shadows. It’s hard to tell exactly what she sees, but she is most… Continue reading Lessons from a Mule #12- Going Blind is Scary.
In Part 1, I explained how Miss Mule came down with a rare eye condition called immune mediated keratitis and how it wasn’t responding to medication. Turns out what she has is endotheliitis, an even more rare form of immune mediated keratitis that is poorly understood and doesn’t respond to medication. I can attest to… Continue reading Poor Miss Mule Part 2
About two weeks ago I showed up to the barn to feed and noticed that my mule had a whitish-blue film covering half of one eye. As horse owners do, I flipped out, had a panic attack, called the vet and starting mourning what I was sure was cancer or moon blindness or something equally… Continue reading Poor Miss Mule…
After the Christmas parade debacle, Miss Mule was mad at me for a solid 3 months. She wouldn’t get anywhere near a trailer without an absurd amount of effort on my part, she didn’t want to be ridden, and she was generally salty. You may ask how I know that she didn’t want to be… Continue reading Lessons from a Mule #10- Persistence pays off.
Even though my mule, Ellie, is fantastic to ride, she’s not been very interested in being friends with me like my horses are. When I first got her, I couldn’t get anywhere near her in the pasture, especially if I was holding a halter. I couldn’t just walk up to her and pet her like… Continue reading Lessons from a Mule #9- Liberty Work
Whenever I run into a training problem with my equines, it always bums me out. It’s like when your kid does something really stupid and you wonder what you could have done better as a parent to prevent it. But always on the other side of any training issue I realize that I learned something… Continue reading Trailer Loading the Slow, Gentle Way
I think equines are constantly communicating with us, whether we’re clever enough to listen or not. I’ve only been riding Ellie since this summer, just a few months, but as soon as I started I noticed some troubling signs. As soon as I would pull the saddle out of the trailer where I tack her… Continue reading Lessons from a Mule #8- Does the mule want to be ridden?
I think my biggest mistake in working with my horses is that I take things too personally. I make lots of mistakes, and I’m forever learning better ways to work with my equines, but the biggie for me is that I get my feelings hurt when they don’t behave. I take it as a personal… Continue reading Lessons from a Mule #7- The Mule is Not a Dog.