When foster owner Lesley rehomed the 14hh mule Wallace from The Donkey Sanctuary, he had the makings of a riding animal, but was apparently unhappy taking a saddle. After trying different saddles and having his back checked and his being given a clean bill of health, Lesley and her team, Harriet and Vince, saw that world-famous horse whisperer Monty Roberts was coming to nearby Harpbury College as part of his UK tour.
Without expecting a reply, they wrote to Monty asking him if he would be interested in assessing Wallace, and Monty agreed to see him as part of the afternoon session, from which 4 or 5 horses are selected from 15 for the evening program in front of an audience. The team of Lesley, Steve, Harriet, Vince, Pippa, Sophie and myself gathered in great excitement on the day. Monty started by saying he did not like working with mules as he didn't understand them as well as horses, but was taken with Wallace. After assessment in the arena, to our delight Wallace was selected for the evening session.
To watch Monty joining up with Wallace was a privilege. Within a very short time, Wallace was following Monty closely around the arena, accepted a saddle without moving and then the big moment, Monty legged up his assistant slowly into the saddle...we all held our breath! Wallace adjusted his balance and walked forward faultlessly, we all breathed out! The bond between Monty and mule was apparent, complete trust and acceptance, which has stood him in good stead ever since. He has gone on to the early stages of dressage training with Harriet and agility with Lesley.
A fantastic experience for us all, well done the Dursley mule team.