Mule Training, Lesson 1

Congratulations to Tom! His wife and daughters have been pursuing natural horsemanship and horse training for several years. Tom has always been bedrock support to them in their pursuit of equestrian passion. And now, he has a new partner to call his own! Welcome, Molly Mule!

Molly was delivered over the weekend. Today was her evaluation, followed by her first lesson. I greeted her warmly. She regarded me with tolerant suspicion. Slowly, methodically, I began the groundwork that would reveal strengths and weaknesses in her personality and her training, and lay the foundation for future progress.

Exercises confirmed our speculations. Molly was fearless of everything, except for people. Plastic bag on a stick? Zooming traffic? Piece of cake. A quick move, a hand too close to her long ears, anything resembling a whip–THESE are the terrors that haunt Molly.

Physically, she needs some weight, a good deworming program, a visit from the equine dentist, and consistent thrush treatment. Emotionally, she needs all the confidence and affection the Knocks can give her. Believe me, that’s a LOT! Mentally, Molly is smart as a whip. We integrate clicker training with natural horsemanship training principles to accelerate learning. Molly quickly figured out the bridge signal for clicker training and the cookie that is the paycheck for a new move learned and a job well done.

Tom and Molly joined in the riding lesson later with the girls–on foot. I knew how badly Tom wanted to ride. “We’re just gonna walk around in the ring and look at things and get to be buddies,” Tom decided. A wise horseman. Already he recognizes that horsemanship begins in the heart, and on the ground.

Christa and Ebony practiced extensions and collections, Laura learned to lope, and Kathy tried out her new hackamore. Meanwhile, Tom and Molly got to know each other, and the love and language between them began to grow.

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