Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Mancos Mule Team

Today was another good day, and I'd like to share it with you.  I haven't posted in a while.  We have a sick mule.  I guess you could say that I have a very unlucky mule.  I think that she has too much horse genetics and not enough jack.  I do not want to get into all the details, but Polly has once again been through several tests, been trailered to Albuquerque to visit veterinary specialists, and has been diagnosed with Sinusitis.  She has good days and bad days, and so do we.   
Let me introduce you to the the Mancos Mule Team that is working to keep her happy.   It is our belief that her quality of life is important to the very end. 

This is Toma riding Polly in Utah in 1988.  My new mule had just spent 60 days with a trainer.  That same trainer put Toma (who had never ridden before) on his 26 year old schooling horse and had given him a 60 minute lesson.  Toma may have become a bit over-confident and asked to ride our sweet young mule.  You guessed it, Polly did what any smart mule would do, she tested the rookie, concluded that he didn't know squat, and proceeded to rub his leg on the fence line for about ten feet.  This was the first of many lessons Polly was to teach us in the years to come.

Pictured  above are my two favorite riding buddies; Effie and  Polly  resting at Horse Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon in 1993. With over twenty years of memories it is hard to pick a photo and describe what we've been through together, but my fondest memories are of the miles and miles of trails.  We always had at least one dog in tow, and we most always had a good time.  Then there was the day that we ran head on into a back packer, running full speed, down hill, straight at us.  He had a big floppy, orange float tube tied to the top of his pack, and he was running so fast that he was not able to stop.  Polly has this talent for "Getting Out Of Dodge" when that sorta thing happens, and all that I had to do was tighten my seat belt! Yahoo!! 

Maggie May is Polly's 3rd dog and is our very watchful horse and mule herder.  She is both a friend and foe to Polly,  but then remember, a good dog's gotta do, what a good dog's gotta do! 

Rhettly  is a bit of an air-head, but he could get an A for effort.  He's been Polly's pasture mate now for about thirteen years.  I suspect that they are best friends.  Since this most recent diagnosis Rhett seems to be keeping a very close eye on his old girl friend.

With these older animals in our lives, we are committed to their health and their happiness.  It is hard to make choices for another living being.  To decide when they have been through enough trauma, or invasive procedures, and then deciding what is still a good quality of life.  I believe I will know when the time comes, and that I will make the right choice for our sweet Polly. 

How to make a sickly mule happy:
Antibiotics and Sunshine ...
Turned out on pasture with her Best Friend ...

Happy Mule


  1. What a wonderful post and I keep Polly in mind daily hoping the best for her.
    I see that the sunshine makes her happy.

    You have such a beautiful way of saying what is important.

  2. I do like this post and pictures and your story about the animals. It is nice to see and read.

  3. Beautiful riding in the Three Sisters isn't it?

    So, is her sinusitis caused by a bad tooth? I remember my old drill team coach's TB gelding had it and they drained it by drilling a hole on the side of the bridge of his nose (I think). I was really weird.

    Healing thoughts going out to Polly~~

  4. They suspect a bad tooth root. It looked suspisous on the x-ray. We opted to not do the drilling, and flushing. A tube would need to remain attached to her skull for about two weeks. I'm not sure that Polly could handle that without rubbing it out. Maybe if she were younger we would give it a try.

    BTW Thanks for the heads up about my comment section. Noone else has mentioned that??? I'll try to check it out.

  5. I am sorry that Polly is not feeling well! We are hoping she is feeling well soon. I know that it must be hard to see Polly feeling down. Warm wishes to you and Polly.