Marty the pasture puff

Marty has had the past few weeks off, as our weekends have either seen Ben busy or myself elsewhere. My mule pen is no longer as useful as it once was because I’ve taken the track down in preparation for moving fields, which means I don’t have an easy way to direct him in there. Trying to catch him on my own during the week just results in a lot of negative emotions and energy which I’d rather avoid, and I’m sure Marty feels the same way – so we’ve spent the time just hanging out and being friends. This does mean I haven’t had as much to write about, however!

Marty is a really nice mule and I think I sometimes forget that. It’s easy to get lost in what we can’t do and not see what a good boy he is to be around.

For example, he loves his butt scratchies and they have become a regular request from him during our downtime. For the past week or so, his favourite place to be scratched has been the top of his inner thigh on his hind-leg; he’s shedding, and I guess it’s a hard to reach area. Every evening (and sometimes every morning, and every lunchtime…), we would have our little routine of greeting each other, getting a hug and a neck scratch, and then moving on to the serious business of butt scratchies.

The other night, he’d asked and I’d gone to the favoured spot on his inner-thigh just as I’d done for several days previously. He flinched and gave me a funny look, so I stepped back to try and figure out what the deal was and, after a moment, he asked again. This time when I bent to scratch him, he lifted up a hind leg and I realised that this was no longer a Good Place (the new Good Place is just behind his hip, by the way). Marty’s favourite places go through regular cycles so it’s not unusual for him to suddenly decide a certain area is a no-go. What impressed me however was that I put myself in a very vulnerable (and some may say idiotic) position by bending down to scratch that spot on his thigh, and he could very easily have lashed out and kicked me when I ignored his initial warning. But he didn’t, and he never has.

Despite his somewhat volatile nature, he has only kicked twice in the nearly two years I’ve owned him: once to deftly knock the brush from my hand when I groomed his belly for the first time, and once when I made him feel trapped while sending too much energy at him. In that instance, he perfectly aimed his kick at the hand I was using to drive him.

I feel like there must be more physical stuff going on, because his reaction to work – or anything related to work – is at such odds with an otherwise surprisingly generous nature.

He’s having his second round of chiropractic work at the end of the month, and it will be interesting to see how his body compares and if this follow-up treatment makes an improvements on his behaviour.

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