Chief is a Mozart aficionado. Prone to mule roughness and shoulder shoves, the guy is surprisingly drawn to classical music. Mozart in particular. Amadeus Mozart has been portrayed by Hollywood as a bubbling, giggling savant, the sort of human Chief has traditionally not sought out for kinship. This unusual revelation would never have surfaced but for my new habit of relaxing with a glass of wine in the corral after evening chores.

Because my zealous routine is tiresome for our equines, I try to tune in and tone down for the herd after everyone is bathed, groomed and doctored from the inevitable rough and tumble accidents of the day. Last week to help me relax, I poured myself a glass, found Mozart on my iPhone and blasted the ethers with sonatas while sipping my favorite beverage. Sitting on a rock in a cloud of horse hair and dust, I closed my eyes and fell into a sublime serenity. Life with mules, mustangs and burros is a simple delight.

When I returned from the ethereal symphony orchestra to our dirt corral, the sun was casting pink and purple shadows across the mesa. Chief stood in front of me, his lower lip dangling like a drunkard. Eyes half mast, I surmised we had both been tele-transported to the same European concert hall. He was swooning. The mustangs and burro Maggie were also in reverie, but Chief had been hypnotized into bliss.

It was getting dusky and cool as I slowly stood, turned off the music and headed for the house with plastic wine cup in hand. Chief jerked awake from his deep dive and bellowed in distress. His upper nose elongated and twitched as he trotted behind me, crying in protest. Badass Chief was acting much like Mozart throwing a flamboyant tantrum.

Since this incident, Paul has been joining me in the evenings for Mozart in the Corral. Chief is educating us in some refined civilities. How he became so cultured is puzzling and we suspect the truth will remain forever shrouded in mystery, much like the animal himself. And so be it.

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