Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Wonderful Ride

It seems unbelievable, but my time of leaving for Sweden has almost arrived.  The move will be bittersweet, because I'll miss the friends that I have in America, and I'll miss being a working student for Laura.  It has been so wonderful to know her, work with her, and learn from her.

On Wednesday, I had my last lesson with her and my last ride in America for a long time. I was given the privilege of riding my choice of mule.  I chose to ride CR Moxie J, the mule who won Dressage, Western Dressage, and English Pleasure at Bishop Mule Days last week.

The only way I can think of to describe what it was like to ride him is amazing.  He is the most trained animal I have ever ridden, and as such, he wasn't just a pushbutton lesson horse like many of the animals I have ridden.  He has the most amazing gaits I have ever ridden.  When I set him up properly and rode him in front of my leg, his walk was loose and free.  He's a big mule, so I was able to ask for large trot strides.  Perhaps his most amazing gait, however, was the canter.  The transition to the canter was always smooth.  All I had to do was making a kissing sound, and he would roll into the canter.  His strides had a lot of bounce to them, and they felt almost effortless to ride.

As I rode, I focused on keeping my body balanced, since any unbalance could affect my riding. When that was in place, I asked for forward, rhythmic gaits. I tried to keep an elastic connection between my hands and the bit, giving to Moxie slightly when he gave to the bit and became soft and round.  It was so amazing when he did so.  Because of the soft connection and roundness, I could allow him to stretch when I took a few moments to walk and catch my breath.  He stretched so nicely; it felt great.

I worked on a lot of circles.  At one point of the ride, after I had ridden each gait many times,  I rode each 20 meter circle in the arena one after the other(not a serpentine; I stayed on the same rein in this exercise).  I started at the walk worked up to doing the exercise in the canter.  When I kept a soft connection and the right amount of bend in Moxie's neck and body, things felt extraordinary.  It was amazing how effortlessly Moxie could do things.

I'm so happy that I had such an amazing last ride in America on an amazing mule.  I'll miss riding mules when I go to Sweden.  They're such amazing creatures, and I hope to tell European equestrians about them.


  1. You got to ride Moxie! That's a mule celebrity there. What a great opportunity. Good luck in Sweden.

  2. Oh man, I've been so out of the loop -- I totally didn't know you were moving to Sweden! How exciting, and I hope you continue to blog through your experiences there!!

  3. Aw what an awesome last lesson! I can understand why it might few so bittersweet to leave - you've learned so much can with Laura! Wishing you the best in Sweden !

  4. It sounds like you had an amazing last ride. Best wishes and keep us up to date on your adventures in Sweden.


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