Monday, September 13, 2010

Driving lesson update

(special thanks to John Henry and Agnes de Mule for the hunting mule photo.

Budweiser Mule Team ~ Chicago, 1953

Surely there are those among you who remember how my FarmWife celebrated her birthday in June 2010—with the arrival of a brand new mule harness to share with me, Fenway Bartholomule! And if you don't remember, then . . .


In April of 2010 I announced, right here on Brays of Our Lives, that FarmWife wanted a harness. That she wanted to add driving to my list of diverse skills and accomplishments, and that I liked nothing so much as the idea of helping make her driving dreams come true. I am but a simple mule of humble means, and to have afforded a quality harness was, at that time, a wild fantasy. I crossed my hooves and posted a Paypal button, and the rest is history!

Readers, you worked a miracle. Between your generous donations in the amount of $675 and a significant discount from dear Janie of Chimacum Tack, a vendor with muleness, we were able to present FarmWife with the harness of her heart's desire by the beginning of summer. She was touched, and I was moved. Moved straight to the arena for driving training, that is! 

Hunting mules
Huntin' mules
I've been teaching FarmWife to handle the lines since late 2009, and ground-driving and lunging skills have been in place since the beginning of this year. You may recall that I was a simple huntin' mule (as opposed to a hunting mule—contrast illustrated above) before FarmWife got me, so learning to lunge was more my challenge than hers. It's something she had done before. Now, I ground drive, lunge, pull rattley things, pull tires, and pull a travois. The latter is the thing I do best: I can walk with it, trot with it, turn with it, stop with it. I whoa on a dime, and stand like a statue. I can be abandoned to the whims of FarmWife's "stand" command without moving a muscle, which she says is good practice for standing to be hitched. Now, FarmWife and my human Grandpa Tim are working on making me a sturdy, safe training vehicle in which FarmWife may trundle along. Next year, a meadowbrook? A marathon carriage in 2013? We shall see! 

I, Fenway Bartholomule, am very nearly a driving mule. I have you, dear readers, to thank, and I do thank you most whole-heartedly. And, remember—it is a noble and capacious heart. 

Ears to you,

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