Granny’s Trail Tips…
This is Mules and More’s trail riding issue and I want to remind riders with all the weather issues this year, all the snow and rain and flooding, to be extra careful. Some of our trails have washed out and others are not very stable. Water crossings can change with such dramatic weather. Trust your mules, they know better than we do about the ground or dangers. Many times, my mule has alerted me to dangers that I did not see. I learned very early on to pay attention to where those long ears are pointed and to be patient and watchful.
Keep current on the status of the rides you are planning on attending, since some have been cancelled because of the rain. The Palm Springs Guest Ride had to be cancelled in March because of damage to Palm Canyon. The deep water crossing, the old picnic ground, and both sides of the river drop off were closed and the Agua Caliente Indians have closed many trails until they can check for damage and repair them.
Be sure to check your tack as well as your floor and workings in your trailer before your first rides out after so much rain, snow and every other kind of weather this winter. Check the hitch, the subfloor and any rust areas to be sure they’re strong enough before you head out. Once you’re trailering out, be sure the road ahead of you is in good shape. Don’t risk your life or the lives of your animals to poor maintenance. We hear bad stories every year. Please don’t be one of them.
When the flowers begin to bloom, that’s a good reminder to start packing bug spray for you and your mule. Bugs of all kinds will sure be out. Check and restock your first aid kit. You can put in meat tenderizer for stings: make a little poultice of it and stick it on the bite area. If you ride the desert, bring a fine-toothed comb to pick the cactus out if you get in it. Put cold water on the area, that releases the thorn and will be easier to get out. Duct tape can also work and should be in every emergency kit. Be careful and have a great spring!
Mule Girl Tips…
Deb Bennett, Oregon, said, “The best trail riding tip I can offer is ride with people you trust and share your goals of creating well-broke mules, staying safe, and never rushing through an issue only to have it worse the next ride. Take the time needed to create confidence in yourself and your animal.”
Robin Reagan Compton, eastern Oregon, said, “Ride with people you trust and take a small emergency medical kit. Use obstacles along your ride for training tools.”
Dorinda Hennings said, “Teach your mule to cross water slowly and not in a rush. Going down banks should be slow and careful and safe.” This photo is of Miss Sarah Lee and Dorinda crossing one of many creek beds on a trail ride
Anne Chavasse Cooper, North Carolina, said, “I always try to be aware of my surroundings and not be lulled into complacency. My mule’s ears are antennas and tell me a lot about what they may be thinking. Always be ready for what may or may not happen.” This photo is of Murphy and Lulu stopping by the water before heading on down the trail in the Croatan Forest of eastern North Carolina.
Patti Achilly, Sedona, Ariz., said, “Use your environment for training, don’t just go down the trail. Use rocks, bushes, and trees to practice communication. It makes for a better mule and a stronger relationship.”
Nicole Wirgau, Wisconsin, said, “To prepare for trail riding each year, I love doing lots of trail walks - especially with a new mount. Give them lots of exposure with a solid leader on the ground! Its also a great way for me to get in shape before I climb aboard for a long ride.” Photo taken at Friendship Trail, Neenah, Wis.
Our April Trail Riding issue is filled with recommendations, tips and tricks for mule and donkey riders!
Purchase a copy of our Trail Riding issue: https://www.mulesandmore.com/back-issues/april19