About Brick

The other day, months after I should have done it, I introduced you to my mule Cracker. Today, I’m going to introduce you to Brick.

Brick and Cracker on the road (outside Shawnee, Wyoming)

Brick

I know Brick’s mom was a horse but I swear it was a white-tailed deer. She’s long legged, wasp waisted and has jumped a 4-foot steel gate from a standstill. Twice. Uphill. Electric fencing doesn’t stand a chance.

Busted: Brick caught in the act of jumping the hot tape at home. This amuses me but not my wife Julia. I say it’s a sign of athleticism. She’s says it’s a sign of pain-in-the-ass-ism.

Brick’s edgy, agile and fleet. I rode her with Julia from our farm in western North Carolina to Virginia and back. You can read the account of that ramble here at:

Brick serves as my pack mule on my current ramble though I ride her occasionally to give Cracker a break.

Brick’s Past

I bought Brick from Lyndsy Goode of Painted Quarter Horse Farm outside Statesville, North Carolina. She got her from Winston Smith who bought her from a person he says, “didn’t deserve to own her.”

From what I’ve been told she’s from eastern North Carolina.

When she was young, somebody man-handled her and that will stay with her forever. From what I was told, the person that had her tied her up too short and committed one of the equine world’s cardinal sins – eared her down. Earing one down is where you twist its ear so it submits. This may have worked on kids in Dicken’s time (it didn’t by the way) and is a horrible idea.

It also explains why it took 2 people to bridle Brick when we bought here. Once a mule decides it doesn’t want its ears messed with, it can be ear shy for years – sometimes forever. Brick still doesn’t like her ears touched.

Luckily Winston ended up with her. He was patient. He called her Ruthie and got her back on the right track. He put in the time as you should, leading her around, teaching her to walk over tires and tarps and ditches.

Brick under Winston’s tutelage. Here, learning that standing on a tarp is okay. (Winston Smith photo)

The good news is Brick isn’t dwelling on her past.

It’s hard to tell where her impish nature overlaps with her relative youth. I bought here in 2018 when she was only 6. That’s considered young for a mule since many folks that mess with mules say they really only mature around 10 years old..

Brick’s the survivor of our troupe. If rations are sort, she’ll substitute moss and sage for sweet feed. I know. Not recommended for long term sustenance but it her meal time flexibility keeps her ribs covered when other animals wouldn’t fair as well.

Brick dining on eastern Wyoming moss. Yes, she had other food available.

Did I mention she’s damn cute? Yeah, the sexy imp with the sparkle in her eye and the leap in her feet. A road mule through and through – minus a few shies in traffic…

Brick hanging with Byron of the Monk King Bird Pottery (Jeffrey City, Wyoming)

Brick Bio

  • Age: 7
  • Nickname: Briquette, Bricklin
  • Ex names: Ruth, Red
  • Microchip ID #: 977200009416125
  • Starting weight: 826 pounds
  • Current Weight: probably 50 pounds more
  • Hoof boot size: 00
  • Favorite snacks: dried tumbleweeds, ramen noodles, vanilla soft serve, clover, Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal, potato chips, sage brush if there’s nothing else
  • Vices: spooking at dump trucks, tractors and school buses

4 Responses to About Brick

  • I am so impressed, after all the miles you’ve done, your mules look fabulous.

    • Thanks Todd. I sure appreciate your seeing that. Keeping them in good condition will become a challenge with cooler weather coming on. The good news is that there’s plenty of sunny, albeit cool, weather forecast between the rainy days.

  • Yes it shows! It’s because Bernie’s number one concern and pride is the health of his mules not the time or distance traveled. It’s very impressive that they can look so good at this stage but from behind the scenes that came from a lot of care and concern on Berni’s part about them all the way along. That to me cries good horsemanship/ mulemanship more than anything else about Bernie’s impressive long ride.

    • Julia.
      You mention the care the mules are getting.
      I could not do this alone. Sure, I can buy the occasional bag of feed. But just this rainy, 38-degree morning – weather that’s really hard on the mules – I woke to found Cracker munching on a flake of alfalfa hay compliments of Alpine (Wy) resident Jim Corsi. Amazing how folks have stepped up to help me take care of Brick and Cracker.
      This is the larger lesson I’d really like folks to understand.
      This country may be politically divided but overall, folks I’ve met still have an incredible sense of helping each other out. Right down to slipping hay under a wet mule’s nose.
      Amen.
      That’s my Sermon on Mule Care.
      B

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