Starting a Young Mule Using +R

Clicker training Adam, a three-year old mule, was a rewarding experience, to say the least. He took my breath away by how quickly he learned everything. But once learned, he was adamant that I keep playing the game with the same rules–upping criteria wasn’t in his playbook–and he’d give me a piece of his mind every time I changed the game. In my research, I learned that three-year old mules may be prone to temper tantrums. Adam’s tantrums involved a buck and a kick at no one in particular. He reminded me of an emotional middle-schooler, and now I see why the old mule skinners never wanted to trade for a mule younger than four.

Even so, we had a good time, he and I. Actually, he had a GREAT time. I know because every day I came, he was so eager to get to work. Unfortunately, I was limited by the weather and our footing (crappy and icy) and by facilities (a large pasture instead of an arena). And as usual, because I was training for a client, I was limited by time.

Still, we made great progress in what turned out to be 26 sessions. Over the month, saddling, biting, backing, and ground-driving all went very well. During our last session, Adam had backing down so well that he ran over to the mounting block and literally insisted I crawl on his back. Attached is video of our 15th lesson. Enjoy!

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