“I think that mule likes you!”

ZaneThe other day at the Ranch, I had time to actually work with a horse. Or rather, with a mule: the talented and attractive Mr. Zane Gray.

Jay told me to go get him out, and I’ll admit to having to work through some nerves getting him out of the stall—performance anxiety. Da Boss hadn’t seen me work with a horse in a long time, and like any student, I wanted to impress my teacher.

We’ve seen how well THAT usually works out, so I was a little worried….

But it went fine–better than fine. Jay was gone for a bit, and while I was waiting for him to come back, Zane and I did all kinds of groundwork in the arena. He’s as good as Galahad at the basics, except for leading—he gets “mulish” and stalls out a lot, but that could be fixed pretty quickly.

When Jay returned, he made me get up on the top of the round pen (and I’m afraid of heights!) and try to get Zane to step up to me there as though I were going to get on his back. It was quite a challenge, given that I was perched on a rail ten feet off the ground and clinging like a barnacle. It got a little easier once my grip relaxed just a bit.

Zane came over the “regular” way with no trouble, but he wasn’t prepared to come up to me on the off side. I had to get pretty creative with my cues, given my precarious location, but he did come pretty close, and I was able to move him around a LOT in the process of trying.

The coolest thing was that Jay was impressed. That felt SOOOO good! It’s something I needed: Da Boss to tell me I’m doing a great job. He complimented me on my timing—I was rewarding Zane for even thinking of moving a foot in the direction I was asking.

Then Jay said, “I think that mule likes you.” Which, of course, is what they always say about him. Too funny!

I left the Ranch floating about five feet above the ground.