I am planning on breeding my mare next month and want to breed her to my friends mammoth jack. I absolutely LOVE mules and have ridden severl and been around them though never owned one. Anyone got any advice.
I understand the whole economy sucks and why breed when you can buy but I love my mare dealy and she has great conformation etc. but the jack does as well and they would be a great match.
The economy may suck right now, but in my experience, a good mule still commands a pretty decent price tag. At least in my area. I love mules and hope to get one someday myself, however I expect to spend in the $5,000 range to get a hold of a quality mule.
The point really would be to make sure you are breeding a GOOD mule, however. The same standards should apply to breeding quality of your mare, no matter if you are breeding to a mule or a horse. If your mare would produce a substandard foal bred to a good quality stallion, she will produce a sub standard mule as well.
There are a lot of threads on here knowledgeable members have posted on making sure you are breeding horses of quality. I recommend reading through them all and and doing your homework. Selecting a good to great quality mammoth jack is important too, depending on your location you might have to travel far to find one our use AI. Don't settle on the nearest or cheapest jack. Make sure you are breeding a great mule worth having. Good luck!
As a mule momma myself, I say go for it! I have had three mules, and still have the one I raised from a colt (I raised two from babies). They're great! I can totally understand wanting to have a baby mule from your horse. Just make sure you don't run into conformational or medical issues with your mare + the jack. And make sure the jack will breed a mare. Some will breed only jennets.
Also, please bear in mind a mule is DIFFERENT from a horse! It is not a long-eared horse. A lot of the differences are beneficial, like a mule is an easier keeper (can live on worse food and less water), is usually stronger and more resistant to issues (why New Orleans banned horses to pull their carriages and only allow mules), usually tries to figure things out instead of bolting, won't eat itself to death, usually has tougher feet, etc. But a mule thinks differently from a horse--it has a very strong self-preservation drive, so you have to partner with it and convince it you want it to do something instead of just telling it, like a horse. The main thing to keep in mind with a mule is that it is always saying, "What's in this for me?" Mules also take longer to mature/develop than horses, and breaking and riding need to wait until about four years old (they fully mature around five or six). There's also the need for different tack, as mules are usually shaped differently from horses--often narrower, with low or no withers. You will probably need a saddle with mule bars and you will need a crupper. That said, my first mule was built just like a quarter horse and took a regular quarter-bars saddle. But she needed a crupper if we were trail riding anything other than flat land!
The other thing is making sure the folks around you know how and are prepared to deal with mules (trainers, vets, farriers, etc.). NEVER send your mule to a trainer who says, "Oh yeah, I broke me a couple mules before. They're just like horses." Mules have long memories and don't forget bad experiences.
If you understand these things and do your research, mules can be VERY rewarding.
My first mule, Miz Blue. She loved trail riding! I rode her in the grand entry to the rodeo once, and everyone thought she was a horse until I got close to them. The double-takes were great!
Here's my current mule, Blackjack, when he was little:
And here we are now:
And here's my pony mule baby Sassafras (Sassy) at one day old:
And later, when she was about two. She LOVED to be with people. She always had her head under my arm when I was cleaning the water tank or doing something around the property. I traded her and Blue for training for Blackjack from a top mule trainer. I miss the little sweetie!
In order to understand mules, one must be well versed in mule logic. In order to understand mule logic, you must know horse- and donkey-logic.
Horses are plains animals. At first site of danger, they run blindly. Running blindly isn't a bad thing when you live on the opened plains with nothing to run into and has worked well for the horse.
Donkeys logic is different. (Most mules have a donkey's mind.) Donkey's don't live out on the opened and running blindly will caused them certain death. They might run off a cliff, slip and fall, run into a dead end in a rocky gorge... They have to constantly think. Why run and risk so much when you don't have to? Donkeys stand and size up their opponents and chose one of three options: Fight, Flee, or Ignore. Yes, donkey (and some mules) will stand and run off what ever is threatening! If they can't fight, they will run a short distance away. (No further than necessary). If what spooks them is harmless, they will completely ignore it.
Mules favor donkeys in there logic, but some are more horse-like than others.
Mules are smart critters and will look at things in very 'selfish' way: "What's in it for me?" Horses have 'heart' and are willing to put themselves in danger for their owners. Like it or not, most mules don't have that. They will NOT put themselves in danger for ANYTHING. If a mule ever does something like that for you, you better feel really, REALLY loved. The best way to train a mule is with common sense. Make sure it makes sense from a MULE point of view.
I could go on all day, but I'm getting kind of sleepy. :) Good luck with your little mule-lings!