Black Mountain Ranch Colorado Dude Ranch Mule

So here I am, again.

Yeah, I spent some time wondering, again, about what I should write about this week. Is this sounding familiar? You don’t have to worry, this post won’t be just like last week’s post. Which makes me worry, because I can’t write exactly what I wrote last week. Which makes me panic a little, because, evidently, my post last week was somewhat popular and I am not going to be able to follow that winner up.

So, seeing that I have no chance of writing something great again, I may as well write about something awful, that no one could possible actually like, but still related to the world of Black Mountain Ranch.

Ponder, I did all day about this . I pondered it long enough that I have even gotten reminder emails from our other bloggers that today is my day to post something. This did not help me relax and digest the 15 pounds of food I ate while giving thanks yesterday. All day today, I pondered. What can I write about, relevant to Black Mountain Ranch, that is awful, nobody likes, and makes me anxious?

Jenny the Mule.

I should explain. For those of you that don’t know, a Mule is not a horse. It is a totally different animal. Jenny looks mostly horse-like in appearance, the tail, hooves etc, but that is where the similarities end. She doesnt even make noises like a horse. She sounds like a chimpanzee imitating a horse. Horses are usually emotionally sensitive animals that are capabile of forming great bonds with humans. Jenny would steal your wallet if she had thumbs. You can tie a horse to a rail in the corral, and it will stand there waiting for you to saddle up and go ride. Jenny knows more knots than a Boy Scout and will untie herself and then just stand there waiting for you to realize that she is smarter than you, and is in total control of the situation. Don’t worry. You will realize it.

A number of years ago, I was coming back from Pack Camp in the early season, riding a horse with Jenny in tow with her pack saddle on. In a good snow year, we won’t be able to get trucks up to Pack Camp until June, and so we will use Jenny and other pack horses to get the tents and all the supplies up there into the woods. I was coming back from Pack Camp one morning, on a horse with Jenny in tow. It was a beautiful day, clear skies with sunlight filtering down through the aspens, and the sailing had been smooth with Jenny the whole ride back. I should have known all hell was about to break loose. Nothing ever goes smoothly with her for too long.

We were just above the Honeymoon Cabin, on the road to John’s Pond, when some riders came up the road, suddenly appearing from around the road right inn front of us, at a full gallop. To say I was quickly snapped out of the ranch bliss I was experiencing would be like saying the Titanic had some structural issues. The horse I was on was experiencing a similar state of relaxation and when he got surprised by the oncoming riders, his prey animal flight reflex kicked in and he took off for the woods at full speed, with me still on top. It was all I could do to drop Jenny’s lead rope and hang on for dear life.

Once my brief saddle bronc impersonation was over, and trail traffic apologies were made, I took stock of the situation and realized the Jenny was nowhere to be seen.

Convinced that I would be able to follow a trail of scattered pack saddle contents all the way back to the ranch where Jenny would be standing in the corral, I turned back to the road to get going. But as soon as I took a look back up the road, there she was. Jenny was standing 50 feet back up the road, just off to the side, and pathetically attempting to hide behind a scrawny Aspen sapling with a terrified look on her face. I should also mention that not a single thing had fallen out of her pack saddle, nor had it shifted even an inch.

While trying not to fall of my horse while laughing as hard as I was, I realized something. Jenny the Mule isn’t a psychopath who will only tolerate you long enough to get to really ruin your day. She isn’t what a horse could be if horses could harbor hate and evil in their big hearts.

Jenny the Mule is so smart, that she can actually imagine how big and scary the world can be. She doesn’t need a beating, she just needs a hug.

So next time you are lucky enough to be at Black Mountain Ranch, give Jenny the Mule a hug.

I dare you.


  1. Kitzel Ruth

    Jimmy, you made me laugh once again. Bravo, friend!

  2. Jacki Michell

    Love your writing Jimmy! I remember that story, an oldie but a goodie! Look forward to you sharing some more. By the way, Jenny loves me… with a hand full of gum drops!

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