I took out Siera last night'' to give Fred a break from the constant 'do overs' of training two young people at the same time on him.
I actually discovered a few things about Siera that I can now use in the future.
The kids tried to 'operate' Siera in the very same manner that they learned on Fred.
However I soon realized that I didn't train Siera in the same manner. She will not respond to confusing signals period. She will resist more than Fred, so in a way she is less forgiving unless you open up to her 'magic'.
Fred has been trained in the traditional "Whoa". Siera has been trained in the hands and seat 'whoa' with no verbal words.
When I realized that this was how I rode her, I showed Grace and then talked her through a non verbal no rein pulling whoa. When Siera complied quietly and calmly Grace's face lit up like she'd learned a great secret. Indeed she did.
To 'whoa' Fred one needs to pick up the reins, and ask out loud for a Whoa along with giving the reins a slight traditional tug.
Siera responds as I have unconsciously trained her to take photos. I bring up a hand and change my seat bones to put a slight weight in the back of the saddle.
I don't utter a sound. Siera halts quietly.
I couldn't figure out why the kids were having so much trouble with Siera at first. She'd pull her head up and turn it sideways at the pull of the reins. Oh she stopped, but she let you know that it wasn't a Happy Stop.
On directions. With Fred and new riders it is best to plow rein as the direct rein gives him a lesser chance to refuse the turn. He can do the western rein, but just depending on that doesn't help the novice rider when he really doesn't feel he needs to follow your direction.
With Siera neck reining is a combo of things. I use my body and a light one hand rein with the pinky finger of the second hand to direct the rein if she gives a slight refusal. With Siera, it is all light hands. Heavy hands and yanking will make her quit working period.
Siera is a bit temperamental. She is partial to females and to kids. She seems to thrive on attention and could care less if her equine pals are not around. She relaxes with the kids and seems almost as if she were a statue.
If someone has a loud deep voice she freezes. If she doesn't think she can go through a mud hole, she will be to put it lightly, a butt head. Once through though she goes back to being herself.
She is an animated ride. Being a Peruvian Paso Mule, she stretches out those legs.
She doesn't do "Rough". I am not and advocate of rough anyway. I am an advocate of quiet uncomplicated riding. I like my animals to take verbal cues.
Grace was amazed again when I told her, "Just pick up the reins and say 'Walk'."
She did and Siera walked. I have other verbal cues I use such as a kiss means trotting. Since Siera is gaited I've never asked for a lope, gaiting out at 12 mph is all the speed I need.
I now can take this knowledge and help Ariel the next time she rides Siera.
Perhaps that is not the proper way to train an animal, but I sure do like it.
Siera listens attentively to me and my body language. I like that a lot.
Surely Siera has some Mule Magic.