Fall is here and Shannon and I have had a very busy summer!
Late Spring Shannon started riding me at least three days a week so I knew something was up!
We went to some of our regular rides with the mule group and it was nice to see all my long ear friends. July was pretty quiet but very hot and I stood in the stall with the fan to get out of the hot sun and take the flies off of me.
Shannon showed me a magazine called Western Mule Magazine and my photo was on the front. She was very excited and everyone kept calling me a star. I am not sure why but I guess it is good to be on the front of a book with photos of other mules in it.
In August we made our long trip up the big hill to that cooler place in the mountains. I think they call it Grayson, I am not sure why other than all the rocks are gray colored but I am not sure about the “son” part. Shannon hurt my feelings by mostly riding Sadie Mae and leaving me in the stall a good bit. I was happy when her Mom came and took me out for a walk and some grass. Finally on the last day Shannon rode me but I think it was only because her Mom was riding Sadie Mae.
The next day I thought we where going home but we ended up at a show arena they called Fletcher. That was where we met a man named Chris Cox, he was very nice and I trusted him right away. He had a funny accent, I think they said he is from Texas and Australia, not sure where those places are and how can you be from two places at once? We rode for three days with Chris telling all the riders what to do. Shannon learned some different ways to ride me and we tried some new bending techniques. Boy, I have never worked so hard in an arena. Chris Cox rode me for a little while and I liked him very much. I was very good so he did not ride me long. Some of the horses where not behaving well and Chris rode them too but for longer. Now I know why Shannon was practicing with me so much! She told me to be very good because I would be the only mule there and we needed to make a good impression for this Chris guy. Chris genuinely loves horses and now I think he loves mules too! Lots of people where watching the group and our friend Holly who I usually see on the mule rides, was there too. She helped Shannon by holding me when there was a break.
I am not sure why but Sadie Mae was very upset to be in the stall the whole time I was out there working so hard. She had to be tied and she screamed a lot, then she even bent the metal wire on her stall front! We where both very happy to arrive at home, just like Shannon told me we would when we left that Fletcher place.
We all had a welcome break from riding for a week or two when we returned! I got fatter than usual and then Shannon started making me wear that black mask, it makes me so upset because I can’t eat the grass as well. On Saturday and Sunday’s some of Shannon’s friends bring their horses over and we ride around the fields and lakes in the area.
In early September Shannon tacked me up on Friday night and we ran around some barrels, over some poles and practiced starting and stopping, backing and side passing. I knew something was up! Early the next morning she loaded me and the short eared mustang up in the trailer. She said we where
going to have fun! That always worries me a little.
We arrived at a nice outdoor arena and I heard people saying that this event was called an Extreme Trail Challenge. Shannon took the Mustang over to the arena first. When they came back the horse said there were lots of weird objects and things in that arena and that I should be careful! After getting tacked up and warming up in the open field we rode over and it was our turn to go in! I remembered doing something like this with her before so I kind of got excited. We side passed over and got some paper out of a box and then headed for some logs and brush on the ground, no big deal. But then, ahead of me was a thing that had all different colored arms. Shannon asked me to walk through it! I got my head through and then decided I did not like the way those arms were touching my body. I jumped up in the front and threw myself forward to get by without getting hurt! This must have surprised Shannon because she got behind my motion. We started going to the next obstacle and I realized something was different. Shannon was pulling on the reins but I could not feel her ques very well. It seems my chinstrap had broken! We completed about thirty obstacles like water, dirt hills, jumps, and bridges all in about 12 minutes. Shannon could not convince me that a scarecrow who was standing next to a bale of hay she wanted me to get near was not going to hurt me. The scarecrow had her arms stretched out and big eyes. She was not moving or speaking so I was not going near her! We finished by running through a corn maze, I don’t think Shannon was very happy with how fast I wanted to run in the maze but I stopped when she sat down and said whoa so we could make a sharp turn. I was hot and sweaty when we got done. Shannon walked me around to cool off and I gave a little boy a ride! We stayed the rest of the day and I was surprised when my name was called over the loud speaker, everyone clapped and Shannon gave me a big hug! She told me that we had won the Advance class in the Trail Challenge. I heard other people talking about how cool it was that a mule had won. They also said that we won by only three points beating a guy who had won the last two times.
So now fall is here and I am quickly growing a thick coat of hair and just waiting for Shannon to start feeding us all that good hay I saw her put in the barn this spring. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the trail and the show ring this fall!
Hope you have a cookie for me when I see you!
Lucky Number 7