Monday, July 18, 2016

Video: Sriracha Progress

Working with a completely feral, completely unhandled mini moole is kind of my jam right now. I LOVE working with these little guys, and while I'm not saying I'm ANYWHERE near being a specialized moole trainer or anything like that, if three of them in a row count then I'm at least halfway decent at it. I can't say I would be as good with a larger moole, or an abused moole, but as for these ones with basically no human experience at all and nothing to taint them... they're super fun. I think Lendri was mishandled some, and Uma certainly has not ever forgotten the fact that her first interaction with a human was when one forcibly cornered her and picked her up and removed her from her mother, but Sriracha just plain never had been touched before. Her curiosity and sensibility make working with her fairly straightforward - as soon as she realizes that something she is overreacting about is not going to hurt her, she immediately settles down, and then comes forward to check it out. 

In this video you'll see four different points of progress, all in 2-8x speed in order to make things less boring. There's a lot of boring stuff that goes on in the start, like standing around and waiting for her to engage, or petting, or just touching her with a long stick. I used a glove attached to the end of a dressage whip in order to get close enough to touch her without scaring her, but as you can see at first she was pretty averse to even just that. I never got it on video, but she flipped over the first time I got anywhere near her legs. From the stick and glove, I moved to just petting her, and then moved to brushing her with a medium bristled brush - enough stiffness to feel good without being too scratchy. Eventually, I was able to get where I could touch the tops of her front legs without her totally losing it, then the lower legs, and then finally the feet. It was worth taking my time for this. She needed her feet done when I first got her, but turning her out onto my abrasive terrain helped to take some of the excess off, and it was SO worth it to wait until she was ready to have the excess nippered off on her own terms rather than force her and frighten her early on. I am now able to touch her back legs, and it shouldn't be long before I can trim them too.

If you have the question of "why is she tied and not loose in a roundpen," the only answer I can really offer is that mules are not horses. Ever see someone roundpenning a donkey? Nope. As far as I can tell, you just throw all of that stuff out the window when you're working with hybrids. I broke her to lead and tie the very first day I had her and I think that's the most important thing you can do with a mule or donkey, teach them to lead. Since she was already broke to tie - you'll see her hit the end of the rope but stop - that is where I chose to work her. She is VERY strong for her size and this way,  she had a confine to work within that she understood without ever learning that she could pull away from me. I'm not a mule trainer so I have no idea if this works for other people, but so far it has worked for me. But I would not work a horse this way!

Sriracha leads, ties, trailers, bathes, picks up her front feet, flysprays, and wears a mask. I still need to be slow and methodical with her, but every time that I am, it builds just a little more trust. It is completely worth it to take my time.

She's doing so well!


  1. So freaking cute! You have a wonderful way with these beasties.

  2. This is SO cool. What a totally different brain from a horse. Fascinating, and also adorable. That freaking tail is cracking me up!

    I gotta say, though. I've watched the whole video and never once saw Monster Dog eat anything gross. Are you sure this video isn't a fake?! ;P

    1. Haha they do seem to all think with their tails!

      I'm pretty sure Moo went back and ate the stuff I picked out of her feet later. She is foul.

  3. I need a mule in my life... love her!!!

  4. My favorite part is her little tail swishing in high speed, lol!