That one time I tried to ride a mule…

Other possible title: Facebook versus Real Life

So let’s start here….

Possible Facebook Status: Great day of horseback riding in the mountains! 😃💗

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Reality: This horseback ride lasted 20 minutes for two of us. 😁😭🚫🐴👎🏻

Now let’s see if I can do this justice, as it’s all a bit of a blur….

Background: I haven’t ridden a horse or even been near one since I was probably six years old but told myself – if kids can do this, so can I, it’ll be an adventure! And through the mountains, I love mountains!

The night before: A mule is standing by the edge of the fence near our cabin. Oh, you’re cute and seem shorter and stouter than a horse. Maybe you’d be better to ride?

Us to the manager of the lodge: What’s better for beginners – mules or horses?

Her: They pretty much all follow each other on the trail. Mules, especially.

Thinking to myself: That doesn’t sound too bad.

So we all pick out the mules we’d like to ride the next day. Everyone pointed out that I picked out the biggest one. I guess I wasn’t paying much attention, I just knew it was a pretty white one. Don’t you base all decisions on how pretty something is? 😉

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The day of: Slight apprehension creeps in as I’m getting ready and I can feel a mood coming on. I blame it on being hangry. Breakfast will help 😊 As I eat my Eggs Benedict, I start to think – what if I can’t even get up the thing? (Embarrassing) or what if it takes off into the woods or something?” I push all of these thoughts to the side and think, I can do this! I’m a tough chick, and this is going to be a fun adventure! Here we go!

We get out to the stables, and we each get onto our mules with ease. Whew! First obstacle accomplished! We get a quick little lesson, and they remind us that the mules can sense fear. Ok Gracie (my mule), I’m in charge here. Stop eating and let’s go – she shakes her head (my first clue at her stubbornness). Ok, eat some more, then we need to go. One of the helpers grabs her reigns and guides me behind everyone. I elected to be at the end by the way. I’ll protect everyone, and my mule will just follow behind (just like they said!) We start out the gate, and I think – this isn’t badI could get used to this. A perfect little line and a great view of the mountains.

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…..Then comes our first obstacle. A small, but steep hill to get up to a plateau. Ok, Gracie, just follow along and we’ll be good. I don’t like heights, but I’m in charge – don’t sense my fear!

At this point, I’m following the 13-year-old and her mule – Susie. Susie decides to go off trail, barely up the hill and then proceeds to turn around and head back to the barn as we’re all at the top of basically a cliff. We all turn around to see if she can get it back and it’s not listening, so our guide goes to get her, and my mule decides to follow! I pull back on the reigns to get Gracie to stop, but she doesn’t listen and proceeds back down the steepest part of the cliff back…. Remember – I don’t like heights. I keep trying to get her to a better spot, but she doesn’t listen. Stopping every now and then to munch some grass. No joke – I’m terrified. My mule doesn’t listen and has no aversion to heights. We get to the bottom, and I turn around to the boyfriend and proclaim, “I’m done.” He asks what’s wrong and I promptly burst into tears. At that point, we’re all back at the bottom of the hill because “mules follow.” I can’t stop the tears flowing underneath my sunglasses and hoping the kids don’t see. The 11-year-old comes up riding his mule, Molly (who’s 30 years old btw – without a care in the world) and says “this is awesome!” I’m seriously glad the little dude is having fun and think, ok – pull yourself together, you can do this. Meanwhile, Susie is wrangled up, and we go back up the hill.

We get to the top of the hill and Susie decides that she doesn’t want to follow…again. We all stop, and my mule decides to eat from the.edge.of.the.cliff. I try with all of my might to get her away from what I feel is certain death, and she does not care that I am on her back at all.

Boyfriend senses our frustration and says “I don’t think the girls are having much fun. I think they’re done.”

Thank Goodness! We all head back to the barn, but tell the boys they can continue. If they’re having fun, they should still go.

I finally get off Gracie, with general ease again – another accomplishment for the day……even though my entire body was trembling.

So while the boys continued on, we ate chocolate, drank soda, and watched Cupcake Wars at the lodge to ease our nerves and take our minds off our 20-minute fiasco.

Three hours later, the boys came back to tell us how awesome it was. They rode across rivers/streams and …….along steep cliffs. Yeah, somebody was watching out for us.

Maybe next time, after reviewing the route and finding the tamest horses, I may try again…

But hey, I got a great picture 😊

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Anyone else have interesting things happen on vacation or situations where you thought you could totally handle it….then not so much?

You can also read my other Wyoming recaps here and here.

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