Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Like Riding a mountain goat...

We especially love  the winter riding in the red rocks of the SouthWest.  Here are a few short clips from the past couple of weeks that show how sure footed the mules can be in technical, extreme terrain.  Notice how easy they make it look.

The clip above fails to show the pool of water down below the rider's right side (as seen in clip three and four).

My young son and his young john mule, Senator, making the climb out of this canyon look easy.  The horse with us wouldn't go down into this spot, and, most likely, have make it back out if it had tried.

Notice that when the mule is down in the water, the shelf it stepped off is taller than the mule.  Not shown here, but my son decided to take his mule along the serrated edge seen on the right--as shown by the rider in clip one who crossed this obstacle going up the canyon instead of down.  The next clip shows a horse trying to go around this obstacle to the left.

This rider decided to try and lead his horse around the water obstacle.   The horse may have been fine going into the water--the rider is quite seasoned.  But a mule would have either REFUSED to take the same path this horse took, or it would have done it without a wreck.

As traumatic as it appears, the horse was not harmed and was back up in this canyon a week later.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Two Coiled Springs

Senator about to leap

We were lucky enough on our last ride to have a real photographer along with us.  He took a bit of a risk bringing a super nice SLR along with him, but he shot some great photos.  I love the headliner photo particularly because it shows that moment of truth... that moment just before the leap when the springs are fully coiled.  The look on my son's face is one of intense focus as he and his mule, Senator prepare for the leap up onto the sandstone shelf.

Riding a mule is a bit like riding a cat.  It is a work of art how they always land on their feet...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Video Blog of the Haslem Trail.

I've written and photographed the beauty of the Haslem Trail several times for my blog.  These honey-combed crimson cliffs lie East of St George Utah, and offer some of the reddest, most eye-popping, high angle scenery to be found anywhere.

The older posts can be found here:

The headliner video is a bit funny and shows why sometimes, it is just better to stay on than get off.  The rest of the clips show mules at their very best.  In the clip where we jump up into the narrow chute that takes us out into the open on top, you can see a bit of the difference between how the mule and the horse approach technical stuff.  Our mustang Kate, surefooted as she is, doesn't handle this task as well as the mules.

Enjoy some high angle thrills from the safety of home!

...and this, Dave's mule loves to get in the horse trailer.  Dave say's it didn't require any training to get his mule to head for the trailer and climb right in from a distance.