Our Mule Pair--Babe & Buddy


July 7, 2005: The grandkids were visiting so of course we took them out for a drive!  They both loved it, and even got to drive a little themselves.  They had been practicing handling the lines "driving" each other around the yard earlier and caught on pretty quickly to stripping the lines. The mules are driving with a light enough mouth so in all but the really tight turn into the driveway, the girls had no problem guiding them.. 

The sign says "STOP" so we are stopped and waiting. (Buddy is about to get his position corrected.)

Driving down the road

June, 2005: We got back at it this summer and the mules are doing great!  Thanks to some good suggestions from a Mule Skinner's Forum web friend, and a book he recommended called  "A Teamster's View, More and Different" we are on our way.  We've got a lot to learn and we're working hard not to mess up this fine pair of mules!

The mules are coming along quite nicely.   They handle traffic on the road without even flinching, and the construction equipment putting in water lines in the new development north of the house is only mildly interesting to them. They even walked calmly by a large crane that was digging along side the road! 

"Suspended in Harness"?   Well we're getting closer anyway...

Looks to me like I've got the lines a little tight in the pic on the left, and the mules aren't quite even in the one on the right.  (I may have been bringing Buddy back into lateral alignment when Dave snapped this pic.)  Pictures sure do help me evaluate myself!  I'm getting much better with lightness on the lines, and working on good lateral alignment every time we drive.
This was about the 4th trip down the road north of the house. We were too busy paying attention to what we were doing to take pics the first few times out.

June, 2005:  What's wrong with this picture?

This picture illustrates Babe's stance with her rear out of line (Babe is on the right.). She moved into this position after stopping while the lines were totally slack.  She'll also do this when asked to trot and occasionally at a walk.  We've tried adjusting the stub lines and have them in a position that we think is right; even pressure on both sides of the mouth when centered over the yoke.  The yoke and the effective length of the evener ARE the same (now).  This wagon started out with the effective length of the evener 4" longer than the yoke, but after talking with Steve Bowers on the phone about it, I took his advice and shortened the evener to match.  I'm wondering if Babe's behavior here is a remnant of having been worked with the longer evener???  Note that Buddy seems very comfortable to position himself very straightly at a walk, trot and stop.



October, 2003: Just got the wagon.  Babe had been driven a fair amount and Buddy was pretty green at it. These pictures are of our first drive from home.  As you can see, we needed to get good fitting harness...

For the next year or so, we were doing a lot of trail riding and camping, so didn't find much time for driving...

Dave & Steve

Babe & Buddy
(The harness fit here leaves a little to be desired--our harness is on order.)