Of Horse

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Journey of a Spotted Mule - Coon Jump
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Journey of a Spotted Mule - Coon Jump

Ever heard of coon jumping? I hadn’t either until one day mule mama shouted across the arena to my girl, “set up a low jump and we’ll see what Z does!” Oh wow, I had no idea what I was in for that day, and whatever happened was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination!

For the sake of a history lesson today, I’ll tell you what I’ve heard those females talking about when it comes to coon jumping. I guess mules like me are lucky in that we have our own style of jumping. When we tuck our backsides up under our bodies, we make a spring that can really launch us without needing a running start. And so leads to coon jumping – I guess the name comes from back in the day when coon hunters would protect my brother and sister pack mules’ bellies by laying their coats over the tops of wire fence lines when the mules jumped over during a hunt.

What happens during a mule show in the coon jump class is that my girl leads me with just a halter and long lead rope into a box outlined on the ground. We walk up to the fence-looking obstacle together and stop. See, since mules have these springy butts, I have to stop and jump from a total standstill! Then my girl has ninety seconds from when I stop to get me to haul my speckled behind over in jumping style. And I can do it, too. I’ve done it many times at home. I like to jump! But not in an arena. Not in front of people with other mules watching me. I have placed, though, on every coon jump class I’ve been in because I do actually go over the obstacle.

Here’s my plan of attack – I step over the fence thingy until I can't hike my short little spotted legs over it any more. That’s when I just stare my girl down and plow right through! Ok, ok, I will on occasion make the slightest jump-like motion, but I don’t exert myself in the least bit. Call it stage fright, call it Z being a mule, I don’t know, but I fear this tactic is only going to work for a short while longer. Those yacky lady friends of mine have been chatting about other jumping training in my near future. Maybe mule mama will fashion me a cape, and I can become a flying mule!!!

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