Sally Mule gets her own saddle! We finally found a saddle to fit Sally Mule after much searching! Sally was a bit too wide for the standard mule saddles, and not the right shape for any horse saddle. We had been adding shims to horse saddles to 'make them work' but riding in them was like walking in high heels - just not natural! We were fortunate to have a been-there, done-that lady who had known mules since the 1970s respond to our Craigslist add. Mrs Molly Shmeltzer happened to have a wide tree mule saddle made by Breaking Wind Saddlery (yes, and mind you Sally likes to break wind when she's a-thinkin') that fit Sally like a glove. Sally and Susan both love their 'new' saddle! No more slipping, sliding, rolloing or cinch galls. Wherever Sally goes, Susan will go with her! We look forward to many adventures throughout the summer of 2013......
There is something about Sally Mule that captured our hearts from the moment we met her. We added her to the herd in October 2011, she was being sold cheap 'to a good home' so we hitched up the horse trailer and went to have a look at her. At 16.2 hands, Sally commanded more than just a look! But there was something in her eye which said that she was not an ordinary mule. Sally was cautious but willing to trust and to please from the first moment we met her. When she was willing to leave her buddies and load into our 4-horse strait load trailer without a fuss, we knew we had something special. The lady who had her up for sale gave us a big hug and said she was happy that Sally had found the right people. Sally was too big and too green for the lady to know what to do with. Her loss, our gain!
That's One Big Ass!
At 16 hands, 2 and 1/2 inches, Sally towers over the rest of the herd! Her size is nothing compared to her sweetness. We traced her brand back to a ranch in Snohomish, Washington and it was confirmed that she had been born out of a Belgian draft mare in May 2006. She had been handled a lot as a foal and this shows in her trust and love for people. Sally "had a pack saddle on a few times" before we bought her, but we started her out from scratch from the ground on up. We were waiting for the moment when something would go wrong and we would find out why she was being sold so cheap. But that moment never came. We had the usual trials and tribulations of training a smart animal, but working past the 'roadblocks' is part of the process with any equine.
Getting Her Started....
Harris put 30 days of training on Sally in fall 2011. '30 days' involves working with her for an hour a day for a whole month. We use a roundpen to help direct the natural movement of the animal in a way which teaches the animal to focus on the trainer and produce controlled, predictable responses to the trainer's body language. The roundpen is also a place to work on desensitization to scary things like plastic bags, saddles, ropes, and human touch. Harris put a first ride on Sally just before the weather turned to winter 'mud season'.
Finishing Sally's Training
Things got busy come spring of 2012 and Harris no longer had spare time to work with Sally. She needed another solid 30 days so Susan made the commitment to finish the job. That was when Sally became Susan's mule. Sally's size is difficult to overcome - a person has to throw their heart up there first, then climb on and ride. But Sally never, ever once even gave the slightest hint that she wanted to buck. Once Sally had "Brakes, gas and steering" figured out, she and Susan spent the month of August riding trails. By the time September rolled around, Sally was ready for elk camp!
Sally Goes to Elk Camp
In September 2012, Sally Mule went to Elk Camp. Sally got to carry big, awkward pack loads on her back for the first time. Most horses will spook and jig when learning to pack - or worse! But Sally took it all in stride without breaking a sweat. Sally Mule also got plenty of miles under saddle. She even did a solo ride without any of her horse or mule friends! Sally's long legs made it easy to step over fallen trees and to cover long trail miles in short time. We are looking forward to many more adventures with Sally Mule in the future.