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anyone trail ride on a MULE?

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  • anyone trail ride on a MULE?

    Thinking of looking into mules for a safe, steady trail partner...any opinions?
    Please buy my tack!!

  • #2
    have you heard of Fenway Bartholomule? Look up didgery on Coth or http://www.facebook.com/FenwayBartholomule

    or brays of our lives... our favourite mule!


    • #3
      I brought home our mule almost two years ago. She was given to me by a freind who is very into packing and camping with her husband. They are both in thier late 70's and go all spring, summer and fall, so this mule has been all over. I just started riding her this past winter, and I love it. I didn't realize how different it would be riding a mule, but it is worth the funny looks when we are out somewhere.


      • #4
        I've never been on one, but I know quite a few people who do and wouldn't trade them for anything. They say they are "different" to handle and work with. Not better or worse than horses, just "different."

        Personally, I just think they're adorable. . .I might consider one for myself some day.
        Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


        • #5
          Mules are wonderful for trail riding! They feel different than a horse, and as far as being sure-footed, they beat horses by miles. I've ridden a mule through tricky footing that doesn't phase them --- and you have confidence that they aren't going to trip, fall, etc. Plus they have adorable ears. Saddle fit *can* be a problem on some, and you may need breeching, but a good trail mule is worth his/her weight in gold.


          • #6
            A friend of mine has one that I've ridden a lot on trails. Very steady and sure footed. We were on some treacherous trails if I was worried I would just give the mule her head let her figure it out and she would take care of it. She is awesome on the trail. I only like to ride her instead of the horses because they are a bit clumsier. That said, when you're on the ground and she wants to go somewhere..you are going there is no holding her if she wants something else. I heard all the above characteristics are a part of being a mule.


            • #7
              I did the Fla Cracker Trail ride this past Feb where we ride across the state of Fla in a a week. There were 5 mules being ridden on the ride and everyone of them was fantastic. One, Clyde had done the ride 7 times. There was also a jenny pulling a cart that led the ride (from Va) and she set a real nice pace.

              I rode one on a week long ride in Missouri and he was fantastic. They are excellent trail and camp mounts.


              • #8
                Had a mule for 4 years now. I grew up with horses, still have a great hunter/jumper/driving horse. They're very alike and very different.

                My mule is gaited (his mom was a Tenn. Walker). He'll walk/trot/canter/running walk...he's very comfortable. I've polished my patience with him. You can't push a mule (much)...they'll look out for themselves and you but you have to let them think about things sometimes and they'll be happy.

                They tend to spook in place, just a stop with a real stare of concentration...you can feel them start to inflate when they're guessing it's time to go. You can actually disconnect this action with a diversion as simple as a tap on the neck.

                The do great in the heat and mine goes barefoot through all sorts of ghastly footing. If I know it's going to be too rocky, I'll stick a set of Renegade Hoof Boots on him, other than that, except for TBxDonkey crosses, mules have wonderful feet (like most Arabians).

                They eat little, seeming to prefer ghastly nasty weeds as especially tasty. Like clean water and tend to be pretty neat in stalls.

                The bad part of mules. There's a bias against them, some barns won't take a mule. Some farriers won't shoe/trim a mule due to their undeserved reputation as terrible kickers. They don't kick more than horses, they're just more accurate .

                It can be tough finding saddles for mules. Threre aren't any mule-tree english saddles. Meredith Hodges suggests Passier or Stubben saddles as fitting mules the best. I used my Passier on my mule...it was just OK, but I got a western saddle he goes great in...I'm still working on the western part of things. Saddles don't stay put on mules (flat shoulders) so it's pretty common to need both a breast collar and breeching. Not a problem, you just look like your mule is into bondage.

                Younger mules play ROUGH. They like grabbing each other by the crest of their neck and then dragging each other around. This usually lasts in mares till they're 4, the boys till they're 6-7. Then, the little light comes on and their brain kicks in.

                Mules have a sense of humor and love their people. A good mule will greet you with an "Eehaw" when they hear you and will meet you at the gate. They are fun animals.

                One thing you will run into which I find very odd. Some people that own these guys are very defensive and have a chip on their shouldner...as I said, very odd. I found most people think they're really neat animals...they certainly add local colour to the rides.
                Attached Files
                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                • #9
                  OK, so you might guess that I ride a mule, right? Ted is a great trail mount, especially for rough terrain. He has a way of going up and down steep hills that leaves the rider almost completely level, and I feel very safe on him. My quarter horse, on the other hand, has a tendency to lunge or rush steep grades, so I have to get up off his "engine". On Ted the mule, I just sit there and let Ted do the work. Very smooth. Great feet, doesn't put himself in danger, doesn't rush because everyone else is rushing.

                  On the other hand, he has a strongly held opinion on other riders staying in their places in line. If he starts out third, he expects to finish third, and if anyone tries to pass him, he may swerve to block, and has shoved horses into trees before for being rude and trying to rush past.

                  Saddle fit: Use a crupper and a breast collar if you're going up/down hills, as the saddle may flip up or slide back otherwise. There is no wither, there is no "butt dip". All flat.

                  Agree with others about the non-spookiness. Ted will just stop and look at something if it trouble him, and puzzle it out, and usually go sniff it and see if it might be edible. He did let out a big jump and fart once when what he was sniffing turned out to be a bird hiding on the ground.


                  • #10
                    Trakehner-love that photo!

                    I will have a mule some day when I have my own farm. Until then I will remain jealous of all of you who have good ones.
                    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."


                    • #11
                      I saw a team of gray mules (perchx) they were drool worthy. They were simply gorgeous Mules.


                      • #12
                        Not my personal cup of tea. I don't enjoy the way they think. If you enjoy turning over control and dealing with how rigid they can be about what's done and how it's done, great. If you change things up and aren't 'predictable' you may both be miserable.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by katarine View Post
                          Not my personal cup of tea. I don't enjoy the way they think. If you enjoy turning over control and dealing with how rigid they can be about what's done and how it's done, great. If you change things up and aren't 'predictable' you may both be miserable.
                          Ok, I'm confused...you list your profile interests as: QH, TWHs, donkeys, scuba diving, road tripping. Did I miss something?

                          People don't turn over control to their mule or donkey...but they also can't be abusive and crop/spur them through life either. Mules and donkeys require and respond best to a patient and thinking rider and handler. The classic saying is you treat a horse like your kid and a mule like your grandkid. You don't spoil from either approach, you just find yourself enjoying the trip a bit more when you bring patience and humour to the relationship.

                          I didn't change much in dealing with my first and only mule vs. a lifetime with horses. I give both time and hopefully understanding when dealing with new and scary stuff.
                          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                          • #14
                            Donkeys aren't mules I have a pet small standard who has been with us for 13 years. I love Chico and we have a good deal, he's learned to load/fly spray/tie/pony/drag Christmas trees, etc etc etc....

                            The implication I might not be patient, thinking, or kind isn't true or applicable. The suggestion I am abusive in order to dominate the horses I ride is ridiculous in the extreme. It is a more subtle disconnect I have with riding mules: I believe you would agree that mules and donkeys are stoppy rather than go-ee, and I prefer the latter.They also LOVE a routine- as someone else said if you usually ride in the third slot on the trail, that mule is not going to appreciate being passed or asked to do it differently. I would rather reel one in and figure out how to manage that throttle than coax and cajole and peddle. Mules cannot (typically) be talked into enjoying a big forward happy gallop- it's not their nature- the donkey in them is always looking to push the clutch in, pause, and think through something. I just like a more forward animal, it's just that simple.

                            I don't dislike them. I just don't enjoy them. You can set aside any notion that means I abuse and harass my horses impatiently or coarsely. Nothing could be further from the truth.


                            • #15
                              Agree with Trak and Ted. Love my mule! Looking at a second one at the moment.

                              I use a 5 Star mule pad, and my Crates and Craig Cameron saddles fit Gambler well with it. I use a breast collar but no crupper when schooling or on mostly flat trails. Use a crupper when taking Gambler into the hills or mountains.
                              "And I will be an embarrassment to all
                              Who have not found the peace in being free
                              to have a horse as a best friend."


                              • #16
                                My surprise baby will be coming back from training this month and we will be hitting the trails until he goes into sport mule training for dressage and jumping!

                                Mules are so wonderfully different from horses and I've enjoyed learning about them for the past for years.

                                For those of you who aren't familiar, there is a great Yahoo group for all things mule related:

                                Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                  I don't dislike them. I just don't enjoy them. You can set aside any notion that means I abuse and harass my horses impatiently or coarsely. Nothing could be further from the truth.
                                  I never said or intimated you were mean or snarky to your mule/donkey. I wrote: "People don't turn over control to their mule or donkey...but they also can't be abusive and crop/spur them through life either."...I was disagreeing with your comment: "If you enjoy turning over control and dealing with how rigid they can be about what's done and how it's done, great." which was pretty insulting to mule owners.

                                  Oh well, if you don't enjoy em', don't get one...but don't intimate those who have them are somehow passengers vs. riders.
                                  "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                  • #18
                                    I didn't mean for it to sound that way, and I can see where you heard it that way.

                                    They are just 'different' and they are not simply long eared horses. I am pretty sure we CAN agree on that


                                    • #19
                                      I can't add how wonderful they are on trail as we haven't been there yet. My mule is almost 7 and still in the breaking/ training phase I have to admit. I have no excuse except time for this because I owned his mom and have had him all his life. He is the smartest guy I have ever owned and you can just see the wheels turning in his mind. They will test you, push you and love you like no other. I am glad they live for 35+ years because i think it will take that long to get him trained!


                                      • #20
                                        Here's a dumb question I've always wondered.
                                        Do they not grow a mane or are they always cut short as a tradition?