Showmanship. It should be called showmuleship, because I am a mule and I totally rock at it. Well, except for that pivoting stuff took me forever, but I think I finally got it. I know, I know, lots of other longears out there have that down long before they hit my age, but hey. Mule mama says with some of my setbacks that I’m mentally three years younger than my physical age. That counts for something, right? She also insists that I’m the most handsome mule she’s ever laid eyes on, so naturally I believe everything she says!
I think I have to, once again, give credit for my mad, mad showmanship skills to mule mama and my girl for consistently keeping after me in the round pen with ground work, manners and respect. I like that they have their bubbles and I have my bubbles and that sometimes I now accept that they’re going to burst into my bubble and give me a big, gaggly hugs and smooches when I do something amazing. Those come fairly often, too, but being far less head-shy than I used to be, I truly welcome them now.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, my wicked awesome showmanship skills. They certainly didn’t come naturally. I had to learn how to stand nice and square, keep my butt level, point my ears forward, smile with my eyes and fancy things like that. Did I mention that I had to be clean shaven with my face slathered in baby oil?! Yeah, I never tell the women folk, but I sort of don’t mind all that attention. Anywho, for the longest while, my girl had quite the struggle getting me to trot next to her. Honestly, I can’t even tell you why I didn’t want to do it…I just didn’t. She’d get so frustrated, stop and try again. Well one day she decided if I wasn’t going to go forward at a trot, I was going to go backwards wherever she pointed my hind end. Ohhhhhhhhhhh noooooooo. She knew I didn’t like not knowing what was behind me! What was she doing to me??? Just when I think I can get out of doing something I don’t want to do, those sly ladies throw in a work-around!
Eventually it all smoothed out, but not without me spending a great deal of time in my discomfort zone! Needless to say, all of the work and sweat and frustration and rework and dedication has paid off, because we’ve earned more ribbons and trophies in showmanship classes at the horse and mule shows we’ve competed in than any other classes. My ladies have taught me to set up, balance my neck, hold my headset, point my ears forward, back up, pivot and turn because of the hours we’ve spent together. Mule mama has been at my side now in a few halter classes. She admits she is no match for my girl in the arena and I’m man enough to say it, my girl makes me look good. There is nothing l love hearing more than “MIB Agent Zed, owned and exhibited by” my girl when class placings are announced. What a rush!