Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Salmon Select Mule Sale Featured Wide Variety Of Mules

by Susan Dudasik

The 14th Annual Salmon Mule Sale held April 12 in Salmon, Idaho, drew its largest crowd ever. Fifty-seven mules sold for $163,350 for an average of $2,870. According to Sale Chairman Fred Snook, “This was an increase of more than $50,000 higher than the 2012 sale. Last year, 47 mules sold for $112,000 to average $2,382.” This year mules were sold to buyers in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Utah and California. And, Butch, an 8-year-old john mule will be going to Hawaii. Seven mules were purchased by local residents.

Topping the sale was Bud, a bay 16-hand, 8-year-old john mule, consigned by Colby and Codi Gines of Powell, Wyo., and purchased by Tom Sellin of Eagle, Idaho, for $6,800. For having the high-seller, Gines received the $1,000 sale bonus plus a Montana Silversmith trophy buckle.

The Reserve High-Selling mule was Elvis, a 9-year-old buckskin john consigned by Enos Borntrager of Salem, Arkansas, and purchased by Gerald Elliot of Seeley Lake, Mont., for $6,500. Borntrager also had the third high-selling mule, Gertrude, a 6-year-old bay molly purchased by Dorothy Eppich of Basin City, Wash., for $5,800.

Aside from the mule sale, there were plenty of competitive events for the sale mules to demonstrate their talents. First was the mule packing contest in which the packer had to demonstrate that the mule was able to pick up all four feet, trailer load, stand while being packed, go over a raised wooden bridge and weave through tightly spaced poles without knocking them over. The packing event was won by Rosie, a 14.2-hand, 8-year-old molly consigned by Warren Matthews. Placing second was Daisy May, a 14.1-hand, 12-year-old paint molly shown by Amber Wagoner of Dillon, Mont., an agent for Victor Nettles.

Events moved from packing to racing, as seven mules were entered in the second annual Jeff Allen Memorial Race. This race is held in memory of Jeff Allen a 24-year-old local firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty. Allen and his partner, 22-year-old Shane Heath from Boise, Idaho, died while fighting a forest fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest July 22, 2003. Spectators packed the fairgrounds stands as the mules ran the 400 yard lap and tap race. Crossing the finish line first was Colby Gines riding Reba. Close on her heels was Rosie ridden by Warren Matthews, followed by Kristy and Joe Studiner. Local trainer Joe Miller came in fourth riding Dynamite. Prize money was awarded at $600 for first, $300 for second, $200 for third and $100 for fourth.

After the race, it was over to the trail arena where the mules demonstrated their trail skills on 10 different obstacles including trailer loading, crossing a water ditch and dragging a log. This year it was the girls’ time to shine as the top scoring mules were all mollies. There was a tie for first place between Lena Bradford’s mule, Josie, and Daisy May, ridden by Amber Wagoner. Third place went to Sarah, consigned by Brad Ford and fourth was Maggie, ridden by Enos Bortrager.

There’s a saying, “Mules do it all,” and two mules proved that statement as they excelled in different events. Daisy May tied for first place in the trail class and was second in packing. She sold for $4,600. Rosie, who won the packing, placed second in the race and competed in the trail class sold for $2,900. She’s also broke to drive.

On a sad note, this year the SSS family recently lost one of its own. Richard Escott was a local outfitter’s guide who served as the official sale ring escort for both the horse and mule sales. Riding his steadfast little spotted mule, Maggie, Escott had successfully led hundreds of nervous equines into the sale ring and helped keep those entering the ring lined out. Both of Escott’s mules, Maggie and Dynamite, were sold during the sale.

The first Salmon Select Mule sale was held in 2000 in conjunction with the Salmon Select Horse Sale which celebrated its 41st anniversary the day after the mule sale. During that first sale, the high selling mule went for $3,000 and the reserve brought $2,000. The sale gross was $34,400. The average on 22 mules was $1,563. Next year the Salmon Select Mule Sale will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Plans are already under way to celebrate this milestone in a big way. Folks are already consigning mules for this sale. For complete sale results and more sale information contact Fred Snook, Jr. at (208) 756-2125 or visit the website at:

Susan Dudasik is an equine journalist, PATH Certified riding instructor and a mule enthusiast. She's competed in numerous trail class events, holds clinics and teaches groundwork and trail classes at Misfit Farm in Salmon, Idaho. The advice given here is meant only as a guide. A professional trainer should handle any serious horse training problems.

Country Roads, Steep Hills And A Good Mule Team

by Lonny Thiele, Poplar Bluff, Mo.

What do you get when you combine weather in the mid-70s, Ozark Hill country, and a team of mules hooked to a wagon?
Well, you get time to enjoy life, according to a group of men in northwest Arkansas, who are members of the Gee Haw Horse and Wagon Club, based out of Salem, Ark.

“You just get out here and enjoy it. This is the best mental therapy I know of,” states longtime member Coy Stone of rural Viola. “You don’t worry about what’s at home, what you need to do.”

“I just like the comfort,” said Charley Prater, who has mules Reba and Maud, both 6-year-olds, hooked to his wagon, and for the past 10 years has ridden with his sidekick, Taco, a little Chihuahua dog.

The two men took part in the first wagon ride of the season on Saturday, April 6, that started at club president’s Ken Felts rural home, west of Viola. The ride consisted of five wagons, all pulled by mules, and five outriders. They left at 8:30 a.m., mostly drove down country roads that included about a dozen steep hills, and returned at 3:30 p.m., after covering about 20 miles.

Randle Barnett, a 15-year member from Warm Springs, led the wagons with his 1,200 pound mules, Jack and Jude. “I like riding with friends. We see different views on different rides,” Barnett said.

Felts worked his young 2-year-old team Lady and Champ, each weighing around 800 pounds. The two started out the cool morning with plenty of energy. “They’re fired up for some reason,” Felts said. “These hills will take it out of them.” Felts went on to say this was his favorite ride out of the 15 or more rides the club takes each year. “There’s good scenery, good hills, creeks, no traffic,” he said.

Vernon Crow of rural Viola drove the rear wagon with his splendid looking team of sorrel mules that are full sisters, Cheyenne and Sioux. He and some friends started the club back in 1982. In 1978 Crow and a couple of friends started doing some wagon rides. These men had ridden horses for years, but got where they couldn’t ride with comfort, so they went to wagons. Crow started with a small team of horses, but after a year switched to mules. “Mules are a little more steady, more dependable,” he said.

The wagon club consists of 75 members, about half of which take part in some of the scheduled rides. There are three day rides, four day rides where members start out at a member’s home and return that evening, spending the night there, and start out from the next day.

Meanwhile back at the ride Felts can be heard urging his young mules up the dozen or so steep hills. “Lady, come on. Let’s go. You have to stay after her more than Champ,” he says as he taps her lightly with a whip, while Champ squats down digging into the gravel with his hooves.

Last year the club did three self-contained rides where they don’t return home for the night, but instead camp out where they end up and head on down the road the next morning. These rides last six days or longer and cover 100 miles or more.

Last November they did a five day self-contained ride that left Viola, traveled to Calico Rock, Melbourne and Salem. This year they plan to do this ride in reverse. “We carry our own necessities, we have ways to clean up. We take food for ourselves and our mules,” Felts said. “There are places we stop at and eat. We take tools to repair minor breakdowns and we take (mule) shoes along. If someone has a flat or harness problems, we fix it up the best we can.” Felts said there are generally six to 10 wagons on the self-contained rides. Last year they did two other self-contained rides, one from Viola to Gainesville, Mo. and back, the other was a six day ride to Mansfield, Mo.

Many of the members easily exceed 1,000 miles annually with their mule driven wagons. Mules are quiet creatures. The most noise you hear on the wagon rides are the clip-clop repeating sounds of their shoes hitting the rocky roads. Combine these sounds with the beautiful scenes the Ozark Hill farms provide and Stone’s words come to mind—best mental therapy I know of. For more information on the Gee Haw Horse and Wagon Club, contact Felts at 573/429-8096.

Thiele is the author of the mule book: That Son of a Gun Had Sense; Mule Stories from the Bootheel Area during the 1930’s-1940’s Era. To contact him call 573/300-3085 or email

Molly Shakespear Learns to Drive!

by Bob and Brenda Ammons, Golden Pond, Kentucky

Over the years I have written many articles about Molly Shakespear, telling (I should say bragging) about what a perfect mule she is. I still think she is a very special mule, but it’s time to admit the perfect mule has hooves of clay.

Wranglers Campground at Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky is our home for nine months each year. I have written articles about the great trails to ride, and also it is a favorite area for wagons because of the miles of trails and abandoned roads the wagons can travel.

One day I was thinking (that usually means trouble) about how nice it would be to have a cart for Molly to pull on the wagon trails. I have recovered well from my stroke, but can’t ride all day like I use to, but I still want to.

I was sure Molly would handle this challenge like everything else and it would be easy to get her ready for the cart. I was so convinced that I went to Goshen Valley Buggy Shop in Elkton, Ky., and had him build me a cart. Now, this is where the mistakes start to pile up.

After the cart was ordered I went cheap…really cheap, on a set of nylon harness that didn’t fit Molly, and I had to modify it to even get it on her. When I finally got the harness on Molly my niece spent several days ground driving Molly, and she did pretty well. We then thought Molly was ready to hook to a cart, so I borrowed a forecart from a friend, who assured me the cart was indestructible. Well, maybe it was, but Molly, much to our surprise, didn’t like being hooked to it and proceeded to wreck the cart. After repairing the cart we decided the safest course of action was to take Molly to Toby (a local Amish family) and let him and his sons teach Molly to drive.

I couldn’t call Toby because he doesn’t use a phone, so I just showed up with Molly. When I pulled up with Molly in the trailer Toby came out and said, “Great, another mule and its haying time.” I think Molly understood what we were talking about because when I left without her I am sure I saw tears in her eyes.

Toby and his sons have a good reputation for training mules and horses to ride and drive. I knew I was leaving Molly Shakespear in good, but firm, hands. I was reasonably sure Molly would not be pampered as Brenda and I have a habit of doing. The first week of training had Molly hooked double with a draft horse, pulling a hay cutter. The second week of training Molly was hooked double with a horse that was the same size as her. After two weeks of hooking double Molly was set out on her own, as a single hook.

I was surprised one morning when my friend called and said, “I am behind an Amish buggy full of people and the horse is trotting on out.” After a couple of miles of following he said he was shocked when he got a good look and saw that it was Molly pulling the buggy. When the friend got a chance to pass the buggy he rived up his Dodge motor; Molly never made a bobble, and kept on clipping along.

We left Molly with Toby and family for another four weeks for fine tuning. After six long weeks without our girl, Brenda and I went to pick her up. When Molly saw us I think she would have hugged us if it had been possible. We ask one of the boys to put new shoes on her before we loaded her. Molly has had shoes all her life and always stands perfectly still when being shod. When the young man got started, Molly acted like she had never had shoes on before. She did short kicks at him, swished her tail in his face, and jerked her hoof away from him. Molly is nobody’s fool; she saw her chance to get even. The boy managed to get one shoe on before we had to get his dad to help. Toby put on the other three shoes while Molly stood still, almost with a smile on her face, saying…”Ha, we are even now for those six weeks of hot, hard work.” Now that Molly Shakespear is home she is like the dream mule that does it all. Our plan was to have one mule, one mouth to feed, that we could ride or drive. We have invested another $4,500 in Molly with the purchase of new harness, an easy in-easy out cart, and training. All of this seems like a fair price since there is not enough money to buy Molly. We love our mule!

Longears are Good for the Soul

by Jenn Schmuck, Hennef, Germany,

I think all of the Mules and More readers know how good our longears are for us. My husband and I feel blessed to be owned by them every day. There’s nothing like coming home from work and being greeted by a longear hanging her head over the gate to get some ear scratches. After spending some time in the dry lot or even just watching them through the windows all stress and troubles just melt away and we feel calm and happy. Watching our three mules and the donkey munch their hay is just so peaceful (well, if they’re not jostling for the best spot at the hay feeder). And the countless situations when I look out of the window and see our boys playing, or the girls grooming each other, or someone having found a spot in the winter sun, lying flat on the side...It’s just wonderful to live with longears.

This is not something we should take for granted. I was reminded of this lately when my husband Steph’s good friend Piotr came to see us over the weekend. Piotr lives in Berlin, a big noisy metropolis. He lives in an apartment with a noisy neighbour above him. He leads a busy life, often with worries, as he has a company that develops electrical surveying systems. Lately, he has often had customers who won’t pay their bills, so he struggles to keep his company afloat. At one point a few weeks ago he was so exhausted, done in and tired that when he called Steph he made hardly any sense. He said that he needed a break, that he couldn’t go on right now and that he would get into his car and drive over to see us. He did, although he couldn’t get away from his office until late and it is a six hour drive to get here.

When he arrived I was struggling not to let him see how much his exhaustion showed. His hands were shaking, he was extremely hectic and nervous, and he looked dead tired. I made him eat something and then we all went to bed.

He slept straight through and got up already looking much less tired and his hands weren’t shaking anymore. Still on the couch under his sheets he had exclaimed about the quiet and peace. After breakfast we took him out to the longears, and Steph handed him a fork to help shovel poop. It was quite hilarious to see him try to use the fork, until Steph showed him how you scoop up the poop and shake the fork so that the sand falls through the fine teeth. At this point not only had the men company (that is normal here, you cannot do anything without having at least one longear with you who oversees what you’re doing), but also was the company very interested to see such an exotic handling of a poop fork!

The sun was shining thankfully, and Piotr and Steph were surrounded by happy longears who butted in wherever possible to get scratches and pats. Piotr had started to smile and laugh again, but he was still talking very fast and moved faster than necessary. He was better, but still tense. After cleaning the dry lot we took out Larry, Steph’s john mule, and Will, my Mammoth donkey, to be brushed. Piotr brushed Larry with Steph’s help. Larry was being very patient with Piotr, who of course had never brushed an equine before and tried to use the wrong brush in the wrong way on the wrong body parts. Steph told Piotr what brush to use for what part of Larry, and explained that Larry was also telling Piotr that and explained about tail swishing. When everybody was ready we all went for a walk. At first Piotr walked behind us, enjoying the quiet, and the landscape. Will and I walked in front, because he always wants to go in front (in his opinion you really cannot walk second in row and if you ask him to, he will walk painfully slow). After a while Steph convinced Piotr to take Larry’s lead rope, and that helped Piotr to forget any stress or worries he had brought with him, as he now had to concentrate to keep Larry from taking breaks to snack. He had to pay close attention or Larry’s head would go down and there they were, grazing instead of walking. Will in the meantime was disgusted, walkies, as the name implies, are for walking and taking in the scenery, not for eating.

We walked a nice loop over the hills surrounding our home, a trail that offers nice vistas of little villages, the woods, and pastures. It was a wonderful day for a walk.

In the evening Piotr went outside with us to feed. He watched me put together everything, asked me to explain what they have for dinner. Instead of being all fidgety he leaned on the gate and watched us tie everybody to their designated dinner post. He was to hold Will the donkey’s dinner bowl for him that evening, as it’s always nice if someone holds the bowl so that Will won’t step into it and turn it over. I think this was the icing of the cake for Piotr. He was holding the bowl and beaming. Will, who usually isn’t a big fan of strangers, really liked Piotr and was munching away contentedly. Standing there, in our dry lot in our peaceful valley, with my wonderful donk, Piotr let go of all his stress and worries and finally found an inner calm.

The next morning Piotr was pretty deft at cleaning the dry lot with Steph, and then was taught how to scratch ears and butts. He had escaped his hectic life for a weekend. He left for home that day, with new energy and a new calm.

This visit has called to my mind again how blessed we are. Steph has always said that cleaning the dry lot before leaving for work is not a burden of any kind, but a great way to start his day. Now Piotr understands why. Our longears are the best therapy to cope with our hectic work lives. It’s not only trail riding that is good for the soul, but just being with longears. Of course trail riding is wonderful too. Our girls love to go trail riding and when we are on the trail they are so obviously happy to go and radiating that happiness that it makes you just blissfully happy yourself.

People who do not know longears often exclaim about how expensive it must be to keep them, and all the work that needs to be done, and how we live out in the boonies and away from the cities. All I can say is, we lead a wonderful life and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Happy New Year, everybody!

Maintaining a Healthy Mule Through Winter

by Angie J. Mayfield     -     Loogootee, Indiana

As cold weather arrives, so do our mules’ woolly winter coats and their need for additional care. Many of us own older mules who have rightfully earned a special place in our hearts and barns. However, aging equines require even more food and attention as temperatures drop. I’ve owned many mules over my lifetime, and I’ve lost a few old timers as well – always in the winter.    
Senior animals do not regulate their body warmth as well and are more vulnerable to health issues. Their energy stores are depleted simply trying to stay warm, so offering extra forage and supplements, as well as adequate shelter, are essential for maintaining their weight and health through the tough winter months. It is difficult for an older animal to gain weight in the winter, so heading into Thanksgiving with a few extra pounds is a good thing for a mule.
Evaluating your mules’ feed and nutrition is the first step in winter preparedness Equines need to consume a minimum of 1 percent of their body weight in forage each day, though most consume 2 percent counting all food sources. Therefore, make sure your hay supply is plentiful before that snowstorm hits. Buying and storing early is easier on everyone – and your wallet.
Changing to a higher quality forage in the winter is important to provide additional calories that aged animals need. Forage provides heat through fermentation, so giving more hay in the evening can make those cold nights more bearable and less energy-depleting for our mules. I keep a round bale of mixed hay in front of my herd at all times and then throw down some square bales of alfalfa at night during those cold spells. I also keep a salt block and loose minerals available for my herd.
Legume-type forage, such as alfalfa, has higher calorie and protein content, so mixing it with grass hay, or even soaking some cubes, provides additional energy our mules need to stay warm and maintain body weight. Alfalfa is gentler on the stomach because it is easier to digest, and it encourages animals to drink water because of the high nitrogen content in the protein. Still, I avoid too much alfalfa or “mule crack” during riding season. The effects on a few of my mules are equivalent to giving my 4-year-old son a Mountain Dew and a candy bar.
Concentrated feeds/grains are also important to add nutrients for older equines. Pelleted senior feeds are easier to digest, but look at the label and ensure the protein value is about 12-14 percent and the added fat/crude fat value is 8-12 percent for optimal energy levels. Most experts agree never to give an average-sized equine (1,000 pounds) more than 5 pounds of grain per day. Supplementing forage with feed can help ensure our loyal old friends stay healthy until spring, but adding too much grain creates a greater risk for laminitis, colic, and digestive problems. Remember that it may take a few weeks to see results or body changes after supplementing feed.
If your mule is still losing weight after adding forage and feed, it could be a digestion problem. Digestion begins with chewing, and poor teeth can make it even more difficult to maintain body weight and energy levels during the winter. If your senior mule has trouble chewing, then he/she may need to see an equine dentist and/or veterinarian and/or need to start a senior or complete feed.
Next, evaluate your mules’ appearance and energy levels regularly. Thick hair can be deceptive and lead owners to believe their mule is healthy when under that long winter coat is a thin animal. Protruding bellies also mislead us to believe our equines are fat, but older animals carry weight differently and a thin or unhealthy mule can still have a big belly. The amount of fat on an equine is better evaluated by looking at the upper rib cage and back and between the hind legs. I have my vet visit the farm each fall for yearly vaccinations and individual exams to ensure my mules are in optimal health. I also worm them quarterly, rotating brands of wormer with Panacure in the spring, Ivermectrin Gold in the summer, and Ivermectrin in early winter. Some people winterize their homes and campers but forget some of their most precious investments.
Winter is hard on all of us, and we tend to spend less time outdoors with our animals when they need us the most. Take that extra time to let your mules know they haven’t been forgotten. Adequate shelter and food, a gentle touch, a few kind words, and maybe even a treat each day will help keep them healthy and happy and prevent future healthcare problems. It will also maintain that trust and personal relationship, keeping them coming to the gate for attention that all creatures crave.
Unfortunately, even mules don’t live forever, but we can do our best to ensure they live as long and comfortably as possible. There have been a few winters where my mules seemed to be one of the few elements keeping me content and sane until spring, so I make sure they receive the loving care they deserve.
Angie J. Mayfield is an author, professor, and mule enthusiast who has trail ridden in 46 states, Canada, and Mexico on her mules.

Keep It Safe Trail Riding

Wouldn’t it be great to head out on the trail and have the confidence to know that everything was going to go well? To know that you could control your mule’s feet, stop him in an emergency, and ride through problems because you and your mule were working together? It is a great feeling to know that your mule is taking care of you on a ride, because you are taking care of him.
In thinking of a topic for this months Trail Riding issue the first thing that jumps to my mind is safety. I know of so many riders who head out, only hoping to survive the day. Many people ride with fear, expecting the wreck to happen. Even more people ride along in a state of bliss, with no idea of the explosion that is about to take place.
Lots of riders feel that safety has nothing to do with the mule at all. They think safety comes from some sort of bit, and the bigger the better. A bit should be used to communicate with the mule and not for overpowering him with pressure. Many places I go there are folks who use a moderate bit for training but they have to stick the monster, nose biter mule bit on for trail riding. “I need that for brakes” they say. If you think the “train by pain” method is going to stop a mule in a panic situation then friend, you are riding on borrowed time. When the chips are really down that mule isn’t going to care about you regardless of the amount of pain your bit is inflicting. It is only a matter of time before the wreck happens.
One of the biggest problems people create is simply being oblivious to the mule as they ride. A real common example is the trail rider who just lets the mule go down the trail at his own pace. You know the one’s I’m talking about as you’ve probably ridden with some. Their mule just plods down the trail ever so slowly. Then when they ride down into a draw, or get behind the others, the mule trots up the other side or trots to catch up. Once up the other side it goes back to plodding along. Then it’s just trot and plod and trot and plod all day long. It makes for a miserable day. In situations like this riders are not actively riding at all. They are simply sitting on top of the saddle, totally unaware of what the mule is doing or how the mule is feeling. Often times a mule might start out a ride being troubled about something. If you are unaware, the longer the ride goes the more troubled he gets. You might be several hours into the ride when suddenly, while unwrapping a candy bar from your pocket, he spooks and bolts off. Thus the bewildered rider is left on the ground wondering what happened. Almost everyone, including myself, enjoys trail riding. If I can get folks to be more aware, and work at getting with their mule, it would just make things safer.
Cowboys are some of the most routine trail riders I know. You may not think of it as trail riding but we are out riding all the time and encountering all the same obstacles anyone else would while on the trail, only there is no trail in cattle country! When my cattle are turned out to graze in the summer months there are no groomed trails or easy loops to get to them. Often when going to check my cows, our rides just getting to the cattle could be considered extreme by most. I don’t even own a four-wheeler so everything I do is with a mule. At the time of this writing I am calving and sometimes have to ride in extreme conditions. Rainstorms, snowstorms, darkness, slick icy footing, etc. If a cow is calving and needs to come in during a storm in the middle of the night it is something that has to be done regardless of the conditions. I have to have my mules where I can rely on them, no matter what. So I am constantly trying to practice what I preach so that no matter what I do, I can feel like I will stay safe. When we do head to the high country with open trails and beautiful scenery it is relaxing, fun and always something we enjoy.
So how do you avoid some of the pitfalls and start riding safer and with more confidence? Start learning how to get your mule working with you. Learn to listen to your mule and read what he is telling you, without anthropomorphizing and putting the animal’s reaction into human terms and emotions. Most important keep him thinking about you while you are riding by becoming an active rider, not just a passenger. I often tell people in the clinics that you have to be in the driver’s seat driving, not in the passenger’s seat taking a nap. Here are some ideas that will start you toward a safer and more enjoyable trail ride.
Make sure your mule is mentally with you before you even get in the saddle and leave the trailer. He may be distracted by other sights and sounds at the trailhead so do the groundwork first. By directing his feet through the halter driving exercises he will have to focus more on you than on his environment. Get that focus before mounting up, it only takes a few minutes.
Practice your emergency lateral stop a few times before leaving the trailer. With one rein, ask your mule to bend his head around and use your leg to bump his hindquarters over. Get control of the life and energy that is in your mule as soon as you get in the saddle. By disengaging his hindquarters you are again directing his feet, which will shift his focus to you.
Actively ride and actively direct your mule’s feet during your ride. You don’t have to overwork yourself while trying to enjoy your ride. Little simple things can keep your mule focused on you. Choose the speed in which your mule goes down the trail. You don’t have to wear your mule out by asking him to really hurry all day, but don’t let him choose the pace. Just a nice walk with a little life to it. Avoid the trot and plod. When you ride into a dip in the trail pick up on the reins and get a hold of him just before you hit the bottom. Don’t let him trot up the other side, be sure that he walks up. Little things like this can keep your mule thinking more about you. You folks who have worked with me in the clinics know exactly what I am talking about in these steps so practice it and maybe help a friend to learn.
In conclusion, if you are taking steps to keep your mule mentally close to you, you will also become mentally more aware of your mule. By doing so you will realize much sooner if your mule is getting troubled and be able to deal with it long before it gets out of hand. By taking a more active roll in riding you can cut down on the variables and have many safe and enjoyable trail rides, think about it.