Mules, Mules and More Mules
Down, down the steep and rocky canyon wall they went. Nose to tail, long ears flopping, stepping oh so very carefully as they placed shod hooves into small spaces between the hard rocks. Their riders looked askance at the steep drop off, some even shutting their eyes to the beautiful vistas.
The Grand Canyon mules were accustomed to many and varied riders, and seemed not to care that their passengers were slightly nervous; they had seen these rocky paths many times and would see them many more. Rose Miller was among those riders going down Bright Angel Trail on their trustworthy mules to the Phantom Ranch below where she and her fellow travelers would spend the night and travel back on the Kaibab trail to the top the next day.
By the time Rose returned home to northern Indiana, she had become totally enthralled with those captivating and unique equine hybrids and was determined to find the perfect, safe and dependable mule to ride in her “senior years.” She had owned, shown, bred and trained horses for nearly forty years, and now was ready for the easy life.
What happens next constitutes the story of “Mules, Mules and More Mules,” as Rose searches for the ideal long-eared companion. Because of her bad back, a smooth-gaited mule that would allow her to sit back and enjoy the ride was desired, but everything was not smooth going. Continue along for the trip as she uses her engaging around-the-campfire-story-telling style to introduce her mules: Mirabella, Samson, Maybellene, Ruth Ann, Susie, and Lucinda. You will laugh out loud as she learns the hard way, mules and horses are different, and are not perfect.
After a few nasty falls from her not so unflappable mules, fear enters the picture and Rose wonders if at nearly 70 she should finally “hang it up,” and stop riding. After much soul-searching, she recognizes she had in fact been very lucky and blessed in all her incidents and that as with her horses, she needs to be a part of the conditioning and training process. Just because she now has mules, does not mean she should become complacent. Telling herself, “I should have known better,” Rose sadly realizes there is no easy life where living with horses or mules is concerned, and sometimes one has to cut one’s losses and realize that not every mule is for every rider. There is no shame in staying safe and not conquering every fear.
Each mule teaches Rose something different, but in the end she realizes that mules have become a new addiction. Anyone who loves to be entertained by and loves animals will surely enjoy “Mules, Mules and More Mules.”