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Choosing Your Herd

Somehow, having a child forces you to contemplate things you haven't thought of or had active in your life in years. It causes you to go dredging the river of your childhood, sifting out the flakes of gold, the sludge and the other interesting and perhaps nourishing minerals with less glamour factor than gold.

Some three decades later in my life, Breyer now produces (coincidentally) foals for its Stablemate collection. I have been strangely compelled to buy them in hopes my daughter will want to play with them. But let's face it, if you're going to add babies, you can't forget the hybrids. Where are the mules in the collection?

My product idea submission to Breyer is this: build a model plastic mule called Pippi Longstockings. Pippi is a 6 year old gaited mule- she's a foil for life's lessons. Her Mom was a Tennessee Walker and her Dad was a Mammouth Jack. She loves to roll in the dirt and then dry in the sun (mudbaths). She's seeking a trail to walk and treats (carrots, beet treats, apples, celery). Stubborn, smart and always a challenge, Pippi is very sexy and intriguing to most horses and generally isn't accomplished at much except being a very smart (and therefore challenging to anyone who rides her) creature.

On a more personal level, having a child forces you to ask: where is my herd? With whom do I run? Whose lead do I choose to follow? Who are my chosen community?

In Pippi's case, she's often blowing out her nostrils angrily because something in the bushes (a flock of wild turkeys, or a deer) threatens the entire stable. Mules are very protective of the herd. As a child, I always appreciated the role of the stallion or the lead mare as protector.

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