When Grazing Doesn’t Come Naturally

I reached a new milestone with the mule yesterday.
It had nothing to do with riding or saddling or lateral flexion, although we’ve made great strides in those areas.

At first glance, this milestone might be considered a non-event in comparison.

It involved the simple act of grazing while on a lead line.

Jolene came to me two months ago as a very nervous molly. Characteristically, when she stands around humans, her muscles are bound tight as snare drums.
Licking and chewing, the typical signs of a horse moving from a stressed to relaxed state, come only with great encouragement and patience.
Lowering her head while around us (another sign of moving from stress to comfort) is equally painstaking for her.
But yesterday, she relaxed enough to partake in mouthfuls of grass while I stood nearby, gently holding her line.

It’s something I’d always taken for granted with my equines. Only when it happened did I realized she’d never done it.

Baby steps.

Read more about Jolene and mules in general.
Read more about the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

Posted in General, Mule, Training.

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