Tonight was one of those nights that makes me feel blessed that I am living on a small ranch out here in Colorado. After quickly checking my email when I got home, I decided to walk EmmaLee and Sage out in the pasture, leaving Tucker in the house this time. It was a pleasant walk, although the wind was just a bit nippy. As I walked down the pasture, Junior, our youngest john mule came up to greet me. I scratched on him for a few minutes, finding a couple of good spots on his chest, and laughing at his lips as he moved them around to tell me that I’d hit the right, ahhhhh, spot. I walked off, and he followed me, so I scratched him for another minute or two, then walked off to catch up with the dogs. Junior stayed behind, but watched me as I left.
As I made my way back up to the gate, Junior was standing up by the irrigation ditch, and started towards me. I met him half way, and started scratching him, and lightly putting my arm over his back and squeezing a little bit. I then rubbed him where the cinch will go, and played with his ears. He just stood there, and tried to nibble on my coat and on my gloves, turning into me, but not trying to get away.
I’ve been wanting to work with him every year, but time just hasn’t worked out, but I think this time, I just need to make a commitment to work with him, starting with working in the pasture. I can take things out with me and work with him out there easily enough. He’ll be free to run off if the pressure gets too much for him, and he can return if he wants, or not, whichever he decides. If I start working him in that way, when the mud finally dries up enough to bring him into the paddock, or maybe build a round pen, he’ll hopefully be ready for me to introduce him to ground driving and a saddle. I think he’ll make an awesome mount, and look forward to working with him. If I can keep it fun and enjoyable, I’ll bet he’ll love to be worked with and look forward to it.
One really cool thing is, I went into the house to get a few carrots, and returned to the gate. He had walked a short distance off, so I called him over to me, and he came! The carrots weren’t big, but it was a nice reward for coming over to see what I wanted. Yeah, he’s going to be fun to work with.
Returning to the house, I switched Em for Tucker, and jumped on my four-wheeler to go get a bale of hay. Tucker was bouncing all over the place on the little area behind me, so I told him to get off, then made my way over to the hay stack yard, tossed a bale on the back, and drove over to the front pasture to feed the cows there. None of the cows have had any calves yet, but the old bald faced cow, Bally, is still looking like she’s close, so I’m hoping to see one soon.
After feeding the old mare, I headed out to the pasture to walk Tucker. Sage tagged along with us, running around me and dancing beside me. The cows and bulls were close to the gate grazing peacefully, and I told the dogs to leave them alone. Well, the temptation of cows right in front of her was just too much for Sage, and she kept going up to them, wanting to move them. She was doing good, returning to me when I told her no, but then the bulls started running, and I ended up chasing her clear across the pasture, hollering at her to stop. She was having soooo much fun, I doubt she even heard me! I briefly pictured bulls climbing over the fence to get away from her, but she quit before they did, and started back to me. I told her under no uncertain terms what a bad dog she was and chased her up to the kennel. I locked the door behind her, and joyfully invited Tucker to go for a walk with me. He bounced and danced all the way to the gate, then thru the gate and into the field. I could hear Sage barking, telling me that I had forgotten her!
I called back to her and told her if she hadn’t been chasing the dang cows, she’d be walking with Tucker and me. I doubt she understood a word I said, but it felt good to say it! Tucker and I started walking around the pasture, him dancing and bouncing beside me. I told him to go find a stick, and he ran off towards the trees in the corner. Next thing I know, he’s back carrying a stick. Wow! What a dog! So I threw it for him for awhile, then told him that’ll do, as he was getting pretty hot.
We ended our walk shortly afterwards, as the sun was down and it was getting dark. After collecting the chicken eggs, it was time for me to go in and start fixing dinner for Chris and the dogs.