When I arrived at the yard today, the mule walked straight up to me and put himself in position for haltering. He would have put it on himself if I’d let him. I put his halter on, gave him a fuss and a groom, then let him go and led them all up the field for some grass (stopping along the way to give butt scratchies, which I’d forgotten. The mule was very annoyed about this).
I knew I wouldn’t have time to work him today, but I thought I’d stop by between jobs and see where he was at. I also wanted to try catching him and rewarding him with grass without showing him the grass beforehand, as the more I thought about yesterday’s session the more it felt a little too much like bribery. Mules have a very what’s-in-it-for-me attitude, so although I see nothing wrong with rewarding good behaviour I don’t want to be bribing him into doing something. I wouldn’t go out there with a bucket of nuts to catch him with, for example. Hm. It’s a bit of a grey area, to be honest. Am I reminding him of the positive things he gets if he has his halter on, or am I merely bribing him into doing what I want? Is there a difference? Is everything I do with him some form of coercion? When will I get that shaft of sunlight and the voice of the Allfather saying Yes, You Are Doing It Right?
I was talking to Ben about Marty, and he said that if this was a horse he’d be tempted to say I was over-thinking things. Ben, you’re right. I think I think too much.