GOOD!! I thought no one was interested and I DO love to talk about John.
As a kid I spent a lot of summers at my family farm where there were lots of mules. We kids had a blast riding, "sledding" down the dirt roads and so on.
I had had horses for a long time by the time I was grown but for some reason got to missing having a good mule around so decided to find and buy one.
Not a lot around but I did finally find an ad for a two year unbroken one and only two hundred dollars! I was so excited I couldn't wait to go see him.
My DH and I did and when we got there what we saw was a rather scrawny young mule in a small six ft. High round pen. He had a halter on and was dragging a twenty ft. Rope. The guy showing him to us had his arm in a cast from his wrist to his shoulder. HMMMM.
Went in to see the mule, he didn't try to run but raised his head and peered down his nose at me. He did that looking down his nose at you for life when he was not pleased with you.
Although it seems I always pick horses that are a challenge I thought "oh, boy, this looks like a mess." Told the guy I just didn't think so and we left.
For days I couldn't get that mule off my mind. Finally my dh said let's go get him. If it doesn't work out if nothing else we'll take him to the sale.
We went back and told the very happy cowboy we would take him. I asked him if the mule broke his arm? He said he did. I didn't ask how.
We got John home and I put him in a stall with a dutch door, turned my back to walk away and here comes John. He'd bounced right over the door.
We tried to catch him for a couple of weeks but everytime we'd think we had him hemmed in he'd jump whatever he needed to to get away again.
Finally told Dh to not try to catch him anymore. Just let him be. He finally jumped in with our horses and was getting hungry. LOL I'd stand holding his bucket behind me until he would eat from it. Then I started inching it around until it was in front of me. FINALLY he would allow me to touch him.
We started under saddle slowly and I never got the first buck. His fault was balking and backing up very fast when he didn't want to do something. We finally worked that out and I had a wonderful trail partner.
John and I did some of everything. Endurance, compt. Trail, low level dressage and so on.
John remained proud and dignified the entire 31 years that he lived with me.
I was never able to get him to take a treat from my hand..never no matter what it was. When he wasn't pleased with you he to the day he died would raise that head and look down his nose at you.
Until he was about twenty five he would jump the pasture fence and go walk about when it suited him. Then he would come home again...LOL when it suited him.
I talked to his breeder to see if I could get any insight into why John was as he was. They didn't know. They said even as a foal he would jump fences and roam around and the only way they could get him was to take his Mom to lead him home.
John loved trail rides people who looked funny at us at first grew to admire him. On CT more than once we climbed a mt. And the vets at the top were amased at his P&R. They'd say things "got to check this again. It can't be right, this mule isn't breathing and his heart isn't beating."
Once at a ride we came to a very narrow iron bridge with no sides. There were several probably very expensive Arabs stall at the bridge. I asked them to let me through and one snitty lady informed me that IF THEIR horses wouldn't cross then John wouldn't either. Finally they let me try and he went right over (laughing like crazy) right on our tail I heard THONG THONG THONG as the horses fell into line and followed him over. You can't imagine how much good that did me.
Got a hundred stories like that but this is getting really really long so guess I'd better stop here.
John had to be put down three years ago at the age of 33. His strong strong heart finally betrayed him. I still miss that booger. Sometimes I think I hear him.
Someone once told me he would be there waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.
I laughed and told them naw. The sucker hit that bridge and took off to explore all of heaven's trails. He's GONE.