I am a proud and handsome john mule with a proud, handsome, john mule strut and I love nothing more than to hold my john mule head high, high, high in the sky when I tromp around in the pasture. I want everybody to see me and know who I am! Well, this doesn’t translate well to the show arena, according to my girl, who tried so hard for three years to shape me into a low-riding western pleasure mule. I finally gave in last year and let her enter me in a western pleasure class during a mule and donkey show. I even went in that arena and completed the class without running away from the rail or any of the light posts one single time. That in and of itself was a miracle. I don’t know how she managed to keep all the spooky things that normally live in that arena from coming to get me that day, but she did it, and ever since then I trust her more and more each time we ride.
And also ever since that day, we don’t work on western pleasure. My girl was so proud of me for finishing the class without blowing up…buuuuuuut, apparently I move too fast and hold my head too high for that sort of thing. Mule mama suggested speed classes. Hey, I like to go fast. My girl’s been running my muley mentor and a Quarter Horse mare the last few years and really enjoys it. So, what the hay. They got me a neat little barrel saddle and some cool purple stuff to keep me and it all in place where we’re supposed to be. Then one day my girl saddled me up and mule mama saddled up my donkey sis and we headed out to the big field to run, run, run. Man, my girl was elated! We’d never gone that fast together before! See, I’ll never tell, but my ladies suspect that I might have been harnessed and on the road before I came to live with them because I haven’t ever been afraid of the harness they have for me. I admit that I don’t like to work with it on and I behave badly sometimes when they try to make me ground drive, but that’s just me being ornery Z! So, they formed their opinion based on my fearlessness of the harness and knowing that I usually I only scoot around at a trot, sometimes a floaty little lope, but they have to work to get me there. On this one particular day, though, my girl asked and she received and we ran like the wind. Neither one of us was really sure what to do with that feeling, I don’t think!
Naturally, after that we started running some cans. Off to the indoor arena to set up a few barrels. The first time, I didn’t get what my girl wanted me to do. She had walked and trotted me around barrels before, but this time was different. She wanted me to go fast and tuck and turn and curl and dive and launch and who knows what else. I giggled on the inside because, by the third time (there’s that “repeat it three times” rule of thumb from mule mama’s ground work again) through this cloverleaf thing, I had my strategy figured out. To stay true to my ornery nature, I made sure to be comfy running the pattern in the opposite direction my girl’s used to running. You know, for good measure. Mule mama says it’s good for her…something about building character. I just like to challenge her every now and then. Think outside the pattern, I say!
Well, long story short, I found out that I like to GO! I’m finding my legs and really starting to stretch. My girl is getting comfy with me and so is mule mama. She used to go fast on some spotted horses way back in the day and says she really misses it, but she’s not allowed to do that anymore – doc’s orders – so they take turns riding me to keep me from becoming what they call “hot”, since mama keeps me going slow. I guess I’m learning this transitioning thing. I kind of like spending time with them both. Don’t tell mule mama, but I’m partial to my girl. Oh, except when treats come around, because my girl doesn’t give them out. Ever. I think she eats them herself, but mama is pretty generous with them.
So what am I saying? Don’t try to fit a square mule into a round hole. I don’t know, someday maybe I’ll conform to the lowered-head, slow-riding ways of western pleasurers. But not now. No, now, I’m learning to stretch out and move. Of course I think my girl has a few other things up her sleeve for me that she hasn’t told me about yet, but she’s keeping me happy with this new job. I think that’s what it’s all about in life. Discovering what we’re good at – finding our bliss – and not trying to force happiness. Right? Thanks for reading about me, the mischievous spotted mule that I am. If you like what you read, check out my other posts and feel free to like, tweet, pin, share and vote for them. Thanks again!