Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Army Years

October 1993, it was time for Shy Monster to be weaned and move on to a new life. At the time I was in the Army working as a veterinary technician at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. I made arrangements with the post stables to rent two stalls and then to head home and pick up my new mule and my gelding Hobo who had been leased out to a local riding instructor. Hobo I'm sure never was happy about being stuck with Shy Monster for the rest of his life. I'm also sure that since he was the longest running witness of Shy Monster's stunts, he had thousands more stories to tell. Below is Hobo as he looked when we went to pick him up from his lease.

Shy and Hobo both arrived at Ft. Huachuca quarantine area as required by the base regulations. and The monster became an immediate hit with all the equine lovers on post.  Since Hobo and the Monster had already had vaccinations before arriving, we didn't find out about Monster's aversion to vaccines for another year. When we did go to give her vaccinations the next year we quickly learned that even young mules can be quite adamant in their dislike of some things. Over the years it has taken on average three to 5 people to give this mule vaccinations. These demonstrations helped her develop the nickname "Monster".  Some where along the line over the years I've also discovered that Shy is allergic to certain brands of vaccine and I believe that a portion of her aggressive behavior at vaccination time has been the result of those reactions. So I've made a decision to not give her vaccinations every year any more. It's far less stress for all involved.

Not long after being released from quarantine and being introduced to the rest of the stable area, we learned more about Shy's attitude on life. First and foremost the word DIET is NOT in Shy Monster's vocabulary. She will eat ANYTHING and she will clean up her plate and make sure that no one else leaves anything behind either.  I got a call one day from a neighboring horse owner who asked me if I would trade stalls with my mule and my horse. When I asked why, she said, because that mule is eating my horses hay. OK So I'm thinking here how can that be when my mule stays in her own pen. Well  it turns out that Shy didn't keep herself completely in her pen.  I sat and watched her one day as she snatched mouthful after mouthful of hay from the neighboring horse. First she goes down on her front knees and then snakes her head underneath the bottom rail of the corral panels and stretches her head, neck and lips as far as they can reach to grab any tiny bit of left over morsels she could get.
Here is the Monster in her stall at Ft. Huachuca.

Despite the monster attitude on some things we did manage some nice times such as the Christmas Parade in Sierra Vista.

Or the 4th of July parade at Tombstone.

 The Monster's story will have to continue on another day because the stunts she pulled in 1996 deserves a full post to itself. 


  1. I just love your site! Thanks for the great info and commentary (and of course the photos) of these beautiful horses.

  2. Sounds like a girl who takes care of herself! makes sense that she would conect discomfort with needles if she was reacting to them . Mules seem to have a pretty strong "self care" instinct from I have heard