Sorry for being so quiet on here last week; I didn’t have a Mule Tale ready for my Friday post, and it’s been a whole fortnight since I last wrote an article on Marty (or a “Marticle”, as Ben calls it). We just haven’t been doing anything that needed writing about – well, apart from the small fact that, on the advice of my vet, I’ve decided to book Marty in for x-rays in an attempt to get to the bottom of his headshy behaviour.
I will write about that in more detail once the vet has been, as there’s nothing to say now other than speculation. He’s due on Wednesday and we were able to book a mobile xray unit to come to us, which cuts down on the stress quite a bit!
Instead, here’s a bit of light-hearted fluff and my first Blog Hop participation. The $900 Facebook Pony asked: What are the “little things” about your
horse mule that you’re so fond of?
I’ve kind of already answered this in my post earlier in the year; all those things still hold true. However, that post dealt with his capabilities rather than his personality. So the little things I love about Marty are:
- his sense of humour – even when it’s sending me crazy because he thinks it’s really funny to run around with his nose in the air instead of doing anything practical. Mules are renowned for having a funny side and Marty is no different. He is a Class A goon.
- his curious and playful nature. He’s very bold and will approach most hazards once he’s stopped to look at them and decided that they’re not a threat.
- his intelligence. Of course, this can sometimes be used as a force for evil, but I don’t think I will ever get tired of admiring that mule brain (even when I’m tearing my hair out over it). A poem by Meredith Hodges states that “a horse looks at you, a mule looks into you”, and once you’ve owned a mule, you’ll understand how very true that line is.
- his loyalty. Oki, I admit, sometimes I get a teeny-weeny twinge of smug pleasure when Marty refuses to have anything to do with Ben and instead runs to stand by me instead. I’m allowed. I need all the ego-stroking I can get with this mule.
- his love of adventure. Our adventuring has been curtailed this past year ever since the Dog Incident; I just don’t think it’s safe to get him out again until I can be sure that the sight of dogs won’t instantly trigger his flight reaction. However, when we were hiking all the places, I loved how he seemed to enjoy it just as much as I did. I could point him at any terrain and he would never hesitate: a steep scramble up a bank, through a low tunnel in the gorse, under branches and over rocks. He’s game for pretty much all of it. If we walked past an interesting looking track that we hadn’t been down, he would want to go and explore it – and if I took him up to a look-out, he would stand and admire the view alongside me.
- the sounds he makes. He has a deep, commanding neigh-bray which sounds a lot like a donkey but has a touch of a whinny to it. When he’s super excited about something, like dinner, he sounds a bit like a muffled zebra – all quick little “huh-HUH!-huh-HUH!”s. When he’s cross because one of the horses has told him off, he does a half-grunt, half-squeal. Today he was really mad with me because I took Cash out of the paddock instead of him, and as we walked away I heard him thudding around behind the hedge and then he made what could only be described as a roar.
I talk a lot about Marty on here because it is, obviously, his blog – but the two horses are also counted among my friends, and as they play an intrinsic role in my life I thought I’d share a few positives about them, too.
Cash is Ben’s little yellow pony, but I’ve recently stolen him as we’re working on rebacking him (he had his third ride today. He had previously not been ridden for 4 years, and we never really expected that he would ever be a saddle horse again. But I think just allowing him that time has helped with the troubles in his head a lot – he’s a changed pony, now). He and Marty are frenemies, even more so since I’ve started spending more time with him. Marty is very jealous. Marty should maybe be better behaved.
- Cash is the sweetest natured horse you will ever meet. I’m not even joking. I don’t think he had a great introduction to the world of humans, and yet he adores people. There’s just something about him that makes you feel loved. He is very much an old soul.
- whereas Marty’s loyalty to me sometimes borders on the possessive, Cash is the pony who will always, always come over and check on me if I’m upset. I once had him try and reach me through a fence while I sat crying on the other side.
- Cash is a very therapeutic pony in general, actually. A few years ago he helped a friend of mine who was going through a tough time, simply by being at liberty with her.
- to be fair, we’re usually laughing at Cash – but it’s all with the greatest affection. He is a very funny pony and does some really weird things.
- Cash has some amazing sounds, too. It’s brilliant when both he and Marty are shouting together – and by brilliant, I mean mildly embarrassing. Cash can neigh like a real horse, but he very rarely does so. Normally it’s one single, high-pitched note that sounds a bit like a forlorn: “wheeeeeeeeee…”.
Iris is Ben’s good grey mare. She is the herd matriarch and the love of Marty’s life (except for when he’s sighing over the other dapple grey Lusitano mare in the field over the road).
- Iris is an exceedingly kind horse. She has never once bit, kicked or pulled even the smallest of witchy faces. She is, as they say, not a “mareish mare”.
- I guess I have a thing for the noises our herd makes, because although Iris has a fairly normal neigh (normal for our lot, anyway), we don’t usually hear it because she normally greets us with a deep, nose-fluttering whicker. It’s the kind of the greeting that just makes you feel kind of special.
- she cares a lot about her herd and wants to make sure everyone is safe, which does mean that she’s on the alert most of the time – there is always danger afoot! It would be nice if we can help her to relax and hand some of the responsibility over to us, eventually.
- she’s very tolerant – Ben says: “I get the feeling she sometimes finds me mildly annoying, but she goes along with it anyway.” This tolerance also helps her live in a field with Marty and Cash for company.
- she’s very good at tuning in to her rider/handler. Ben can be as quiet as he can be and she will still pick up on his intent and carry it through.