How to Approach A Mule from the Left Side

Steve Edwards: When you go in with a halter, take and put your lead rope across your elbow right here, and then take and put your second part right here like this so that you can catch this knot really quick if you have to. This is going to be like this. Then your halter is going to be just like you’re going to put it onto the animal. You’re going to undo it now. This is the nose right here. The nose is going to go through your hand right here. Then this is going to go right like this. Just like that. Okay? Now when you go to to up, this is going to slide over. You’re going to take this part and go around the neck. This is going to slide right on the nose, and you’re nice and ready rather than fidgeting around. Okay? There you go.

Woman: I want to be on her right side instead of her left side?

Steve Edwards: You’re doing just fine. Go ahead and go on up there for now. There you go. Good for you. Good for you. What you’re doing then, the mule is saying now maybe I better stay out of your space. What you did was correct. The first mule says “Come on and visit.” Now the mule has got his left ear pointed to you, saying “Come on and visit but come slow.” Don’t look down. Every time you look down you’re saying “May I come into your herd?” Good. That’s good response. Going up and pet on the shoulder. Pet and scratch. Good. Now step away. Good.

Okay, now what’s happening is the mule at first was saying “Oh boy.” Okay, now step to your right little bit. There, got his attention. The mule says “Okay, come on.” Then all of a sudden you got aggressive. You kind of got your shoulders thrown back. The mule went “Whoop. This person’s a leader.” Then come back to center again. The mule come back to center, but his left ear is still on you. He says “Come on. I’m checking you out. Come slow.” Good. Pet and scratch there.

Remember, I never go to the nose. The nose says three things. Whoa, come to me, go away from me. Right now I’m interested in being leadership, so I’m going to come to the shoulder and show him a neutral zone. Then I’m going to back off a little bit. Good. Notice the head is down, relaxed. Nice and easy. Okay. Now come on over there. There you go. Slow down. The mule just said “Whoop. I’m still not sure about you. Come on slow.” Notice we got a little bit more of a tilt of the head this time.

Now he’s thinking about turning to you. Good, but he’s not giving you space. Go on right over the shoulder. Don’t touch the head. Whoop. Slap your leg. Get after him. Okay now stop. Okay. Now step back a little bit. Good. Notice how the mule turned his head towards you. Okay. Good. Now, kind of you’ve got to kind of move the hip around. Unfortunately you got to come around this post. Come around the post a little bit. Don’t look down. Now come back this way some.

Now slap your leg some. Harder. Stomp your feet. Good. Wait. Step back. Good. See how you stopped the feet? Okay. Soon as you step back, you took the pressure off of the mule. What you’re doing here again, you’re establishing leadership. You’re establishing leadership. Notice how that mule stopped as soon as you backed off. You just told this mule “Don’t go no farther.”

Now he’s inviting you to come on over. Nice and quiet. It’s okay to keep quiet. It’s okay to talk even though the mule knows nothing you’re saying. Sometimes it makes us feel good. Go right on up. Pet and scratch on the shoulder. All the talking makes us feel good only. They don’t understand a darn word your saying.

Speaker 2: They don’t understand the tone?

Steve Edwards: No. They don’t understand the tone. Well they understand “Ah.” They understand a little bit of the quietness, but they more understand your body.

Speaker 2: Okay.

Steve Edwards: You know. The growling, if you do the growling along with slapping your leg, and pretty soon all you got to do is growl. You don’t have to slap your leg.

Woman: This is three. Do I put the halter on?

Steve Edwards: That’s number three. Okay. Now I want you to … This is number three on the near side which is the left hand side. We need to do the same thing on the off side, which is the right hand side. It’s not so much putting the halter on. It is establishing move your feet when I say move your feet. Turn your body when I say you do your body. You’ve done it great on the left hand side. I let you do the easy one to start with. Okay?