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World's First Roller Skating Machine
It's tough enough teaching anyone to roller skate, but how'd you like to have Abigail, a 5-year-old mule, for a student?
"She caught on fast," says Jim Bails, junction City, Oreg., who, so far as he knows, is the owner-trainer of the world's first roller skating mule.
"I've wanted to teach an animal to roller skate ever since I was 13 and heard about a colt someone had trained to skate," says Bails. "After I retired, I had some extra time so I decided to train a mule to skate.
"All it took was a little patience and some sugar lumps, candy, and popcorn. I started training her in September and, 7 months later, she was skating pretty well. She's a real sharp mule. She can turn, stand on a stool and now I'm teaching her to bow. To stop, she skates on to a mat.
"The trick to teaching Abigail was getting her to learn how to work her feet so they wouldn't touch each other. She uses regular roller skates except that they're equipped with special straps so they're fast and easy to put on," he explains.
He takes Abigail "on tour" in his van and performs for area business and children's groups.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1