• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Tell me more about mules

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Tell me more about mules

    I am considering a mule, small one, for a companion and possibly for my daughter. I am leaning toward a mule for the following reasons: 1) come on! they are pretty darn cute!, 2) hybrid vigor, can't beat that, 3) intelligence, 4) a pasture pet that doesn't eat me out of house and home and 5) their versatility and personality.

    The more mules I meet and read about, the more I think they are for me. I am developing a real soft spot for these long ears!

    What are the pros and cons?

    Can they be loud like some donkeys?

    Any other special needs or basic background and advice on mules and experiences is appreciated. I wanted feedback from real people and not just from mule websites and resources that don't always give you "what a day in the life of a mule" is.

    Thanks!!
    "It's about the journey, not the destination"

  • #2
    Huge variety of vocalizations. Can be loud for sure, as they do bray. Easy keepers, smart, cute, fun to ride. Bit different to train than a horse, but tolerant once they know the job.

    I rode them for ten days in the mountains years ago while on vacation, prolly got on maybe a dozen various critters from pony sized to 17 hands. Very sure footed and smart.
    Eileen
    http://themaresnest.us

    Comment


    • #3
      A friend of mine has a pony sized mule-- VERY cool animal! I don't remember her being loud, but she did jump out of the paddock one day and travel 12 miles to the next town
      "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

      Comment


      • #4
        There are no cons, only pros.

        I have a pony mule, you can see some photos of him here.

        Casper can bray, it sounds a bit dog-like but he's a very quiet fellow who rarely vocalizes.

        Mules are easy to work with. You only need to tell them something once (and don't tell them more than once, they think repetition is insulting). Unlike horses, they're conservative eaters and don't overdo it. But that's the general rule with mules, they're sensible and they're also useful for keeping horses from acting stupid.

        My mule is very kind to young horses and kids, too.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good things: They're very cute and not near as noisy as a donkey. Hybrid vigor is a great thing, tough feet, very smart little critters. Easy keepers.

          Bad things: Hmmmm, they can be a bit more discerning of their friends (don't know if that's really bad). The can dislike carnivores...and will take exception to their presence in their field...they can be trained to be good neighbors though. My mule stomped a fox flat one day, yet when a dog is out on a trail ride he seems to know it's "legal".

          Basically, get a mule that has had dealings with people and who likes them. A good mule likes people and likes being played with. They don't like being ignored, they like being groomed. Get a mule who will allow you to handle his ears and picks up his feet.

          They really are cute and funny things. I've had my first one now for 3 years, he's very funny and a character. I'll call his name across a field and he'll "Eehaw" to me...makes you feel wanted. Still love my horse, they're just different personalities.
          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

          Comment


          • #6
            Here ya go, in case you hadn't run across these.
            http://lovelongears.com/
            The American Mule and Donkey Society

            http://www.luckythreeranch.com/
            Meridith Hodges has loads of info on mules.

            http://www.ruralheritage.com/mule_paddock/index.htm
            Rural Heritage has a section with information, books, and videos. They also air programs on RFD-TV.
            The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
            Winston Churchill

            Comment


            • #7
              Jesse is the only mule I'm formally acquainted with (though I've seen some at local horse shows that are just awesome ). Anyway, Jesse's pretty cool. He picks things up quickly (Christine describes his training as going much quicker than a horse because she'd want to repeat things several times and she could tell after doing it once or twice, he'd be like, "okay, we've DONE THAT can we MOVE ON now?").

              He does bray, though usually it's in greeting to the horses returning. He's also usually the first one in his field to come up and greet newcomers to the farm. He loves his ears being scratched.

              All that said, he's pretty stubborn. He hates riding in the ring (but likes the trails) and wants the horses to do the possibly-dangerous stuff first (like crossing water, LOL). He's also not easy to fit tack for. I can't say how he rides as I, myself, haven't ridden him, but other people say his movement (especially in his shoulders and the way they feel like they're "rolling") isn't quite the same as a horse's and it's something you have to get used to.
              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

              Comment


              • #8
                I've recently made a new friend and had the privilege of riding two of her mules. I've been delighted with them (love those big ears radaring the trail) and have begun some basic schooling work with them.

                They are trail-riding broke, but have none of the bells and whistles that I like in a riding animal, such as the ability to open gates, stand by a mounting block like a rock, regulate their speed beyond merely changing gait, and leads.

                Both respond to the same cues and exercises I used on my dressage horses, though, of course, not with the same finesse. We take turns on the different mules, and I school whichever one I've got that day on gates, etc. On outing 3, the owner worked a gate without getting off for the first time in her life, and she was delighted. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't correct for competing in a show trail class, but she got it open and closed without bloodshed.

                I find that these two are needing repetition because they have never been asked to move up and approach something like a gate or a mailbox.

                One has the most delightful fast walk, though she is not a gaited mule. I could easily specialize in just riding her forever. The other has shorter, more donkey-like gaits, but I think she's got more possibilities for serious training.

                We rode 7 hours last week, an all-day outing, that I haven't matched since the 80's. Early in the 80's. Even when I was endurance racing, I didn't spend that long on the trail because I was doing 50's. We didn't cover a lot of miles because we spent time schooling and waiting for another person to arrive, but we did some very rough terrain without a qualm. The other person's horse also did the same trails and did very well, but she occasionally closed her eyes and said "Tell me when we're through it."

                At day's end, except for a wet back, neither mule showed any sign of having been ridden. There wasn't even any extra sweat trickles, and it was a fairly warm day.

                My friend has two other rescue mules, and they have issues. I'm not doing anything with them until I've learned more about mules, as these are very timid, buddy-sour, and have the potential to respond explosively.
                "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

                Comment


                • #9
                  I love them...my father in law has 2 mules, a mammoth jack and now we have an "oops baby" (check my page...very cute baby!).
                  One bray's like a donkey and really looks like a donkey minus the shaggy coat and coloring (grey with high white socks).
                  One is bay, built like a TANK, sweet, and neighs just like a horse.

                  Both have um..."personality" but are hardy, have great feet and have been great companions. I must say, they do have thick skin so they don't respect the electric fence as much as our horses do (which has been an issue) but they always stick close to home!
                  Katherine
                  Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey
                  www.piattfarms.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you intend to ride said mule, when you try said mule, attempt to do everything you intend to do. Cross water, ride out alone, hop over crossrails, whatever.

                    A hole in a mule's training will be filled via slightly different means than one would a horse's training. Great horse trainers are not necessarily any good with a mule. And vice versa.

                    They are quite hardy, strong, smart, and kind, in general.

                    I would not want to own a riding mule, to be quite honest. One I liked would likely be priced far out of my range. I've met many thoroughly average ones, and again: a hole in what they know and do is going to be filled & fixed differently. As Meredith Hodges puts it: One needs to think in terms of setting limits with mules like you would a child. They can be gently coerced, but when they refuse, they need to hit a wall in order to learn to do as you request. So that's different from how you'd correct a horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                      There are no cons, only pros.
                      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mules!!

                      They are smart, funny, and a blast to work with. Yes, they are loud, at least mine is. When he sees me he lets out a sound that can be heard a long ways away, but it never fails to crack people up.

                      I swear I can *see* my mule think and process things in a way horses can't. They really are smarter than horses and have a keen sense of self preservation, hence their reputation for being stubborn. They are easy keepers and I don't even remember the last time my farrier had to trim my guy's feet. The hard California ground keeps his feet nice and trim saving me $50.00 every six weeks!

                      I can't speak for what they are like to ride, as I am letting mine mature more before he's backed. However, introducing him to saddle and bridle was a piece of cake.

                      There is a great Yahoo Group called Mules Only. Please join us and learn from experienced mule lovers from all over the world:

                      http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/MulesOnly/

                      I have found the mule books out there to be helpful and informative in a general way.

                      Let us know if you decide to join the elite group of long ear lovers!!
                      Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                      http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bishop Mule Days

                        http://www.muledays.org/

                        This is the show you want to attend for mule knowledge. In California every Memorial Day weekend.
                        The armchair saddler
                        Politically Pro-Cat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually you don't need to attend, as Video Mike makes a DVD every year.

                          http://www.video-mike.com/bmd_.htm

                          This year's DVD just came a couple of days ago, but I don't like it as well as the older ones. However, for those who are considering mules, it may be more to their liking. A blonde singer does a lot of commentary and gushy "oh isn't he just cute" type of remarks, rides a mule and at the end of the DVD, there is a note that she bought herself a mule a month later. There is a lot of lecturing and instruction to this woman (but I just wanted to smack her upside the head), including a nice little talk by Meredith Hodges. I fast forward through all of that and just get to the mules.
                          "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We have a mule. My teen daughter does dressage and jumping and trail riding on him and is active in Pony Club. She also shows him a lot and does really well.

                            I had never owned a mule before, but my mule-owning vet gave me some very good advice. He said that "all mules have a hole, you just have to find out what that hole is and make sure you can live with it."

                            Our mule is perfect in every way except that sometimes he will pull away from you while you are leading him. This is his "hole" and fortunately the former owner told us about it up front. It can be a drag sometimes. Otherwise, he's a wonderful mount and friend. But this is his hole.

                            The vet also told me to make sure the mule is good for the farrier. Our farrier loves our mule but it is the only one he will trim or shoe. Mules have a terrible reputation with farriers. (Our mule came to us via our farrier. He belonged to her client, so we knew he was good).

                            Mules are different in that they are quite smart, which can be fun and frustrating. I often tell people who ask the difference between a mule and a horse is that "You tell a horse what to do, but with a mule you have a conversation about it." This means you have to be crafty when managing/training mules at time. Example: Our Odie decided one day he did not want to walk into the arena. He would only back up and threatened to pull away. So I turned him around and backed him into the arena. I outsmarted him a bit (or at least he figured he'd let me have that one).

                            I'd connect with a good mule-savvy person or trainer in your area and get some help with mule shopping. Get some books and learn about mules. Buy from someone reputable and make sure you have a chance to get to know the mule well before purchasing. Uncover all the "holes" that you can.

                            Odie is not loud, in fact he brays so rarely that it's a treat to hear him. But this is something to look at.

                            Our mule is now 19 and a treasured member of our family. We've had him for 5 years. He is sound, healthy, an easy keeper and is really smart and fun to work with. He'll be with us for the rest of his life.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not to enable but this girl is cute, cute, cute (I'm talking about the mule)! http://watertown.craigslist.org/grd/1903191302.html

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                [QUOTE=Watermark Farm;5038321]We have a mule. My teen daughter does dressage and jumping and trail riding on him and is active in Pony Club. She also shows him a lot and does really well. ...[/ Quote]


                                My DH has wanted a mule for years. He just retired his roping horse and got his mule, so I'm enjoying this thred!

                                He wants me to get a mule as my second mount. However, I'm a dressage rider and I think, aside from mule specific shows, there would be bias against a mule in the dressage court. At what type shows does your daughter show your mule in dressage?
                                Thanks.
                                "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."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Antaeus View Post
                                  He wants me to get a mule as my second mount. However, I'm a dressage rider and I think, aside from mule specific shows, there would be bias against a mule in the dressage court. At what type shows does your daughter show your mule in dressage?
                                  Thanks.
                                  Antaeus, we've found dressage judges to be very fair with the mule, and overall shows, barns and trainers not only welcome the mule but are PROUD when he attends. My daughter shows in regular rated and schooling dressage shows at training level and gets respectable scores in the 60s. USDF welcomes mules at recognized shows --- they are allowed to show through 4th level at USDF/USEA rated shows and they even have a mule all-breed award. Much more than I can say for the eventing crowd, who ban mules completely at their recognized events.

                                  My daughter has had to get used to having crowds watch her tests or rides, which can be hard at times to be under such spotlight. The mule is a curiosity, for sure. He's a nice mover, but isn't built for much more than elementary dressage. He is working at 1st level and won't go beyond that.

                                  Here they are at the State Fair, champ hunter hack:
                                  http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...rBlue_1web.jpg

                                  The county fair (where they won reserve champ):
                                  http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...m/OdieFair.jpg

                                  At a "Mythbusters" TV show filming (the host rode Odie):
                                  http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...farm/Myth2.jpg

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JER View Post
                                    There are no cons, only pros.

                                    I have a pony mule, you can see some photos of him here.

                                    Casper can bray, it sounds a bit dog-like but he's a very quiet fellow who rarely vocalizes.

                                    Mules are easy to work with. You only need to tell them something once (and don't tell them more than once, they think repetition is insulting). Unlike horses, they're conservative eaters and don't overdo it. But that's the general rule with mules, they're sensible and they're also useful for keeping horses from acting stupid.

                                    My mule is very kind to young horses and kids, too.
                                    OMG! Casper!! I am so glad to see he is still around! I remember when you first got him!!!

                                    I also remember when Sir Prize was born!!! (the old CBER gang... lol) I can't believe he is so grown up now!!!

                                    And then there is another of my favourite mules... Fenway Bartholomule!!! Check him out on FB
                                    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/FenwayBartholomule
                                    and on Brays of our Lives

                                    www.braysofourlives.com

                                    How can you resist them?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                                      Antaeus, we've found dressage judges to be very fair with the mule, and overall shows, barns and trainers not only welcome the mule but are PROUD when he attends. My daughter shows in regular rated and schooling dressage shows at training level and gets respectable scores in the 60s. USDF welcomes mules at recognized shows --- they are allowed to show through 4th level at USDF/USEA rated shows and they even have a mule all-breed award. Much more than I can say for the eventing crowd, who ban mules completely at their recognized events.

                                      My daughter has had to get used to having crowds watch her tests or rides, which can be hard at times to be under such spotlight. The mule is a curiosity, for sure. He's a nice mover, but isn't built for much more than elementary dressage. He is working at 1st level and won't go beyond that.

                                      Here they are at the State Fair, champ hunter hack:
                                      http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...rBlue_1web.jpg

                                      The county fair (where they won reserve champ):
                                      http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...m/OdieFair.jpg

                                      At a "Mythbusters" TV show filming (the host rode Odie):
                                      http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...farm/Myth2.jpg

                                      Thanks! I will have to keep this a secret, or the DH will be bugging me to go try out some mules.

                                      I haven't ridden Gambler yet, but he looks/moves like he would do ok at the lower levels. Dh and I have talked about me showing him in a dressage class at Mule Days, so that might be the plan before I commit to a long ears. (I'm still looking at OTTBs...)

                                      Love the pix of your daughter and Odie!
                                      "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."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Somebody - Mike Matson? or ? Where is that video posted a while back of backcountry mules. The places they go and the things they do with them will make you want one for sure.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X