Mules--what makes them stubborn? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 16 Old 06-10-2010, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Mules--what makes them stubborn?

Mules are known for their stubborness. Why are they like that? Is it genetic? Does it come from the donkey in them, or is it a mix of DNA from the horse and the donkey that creates it? Or is it all just a myth, and they're just as stubborn as any horse?
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-10-2010, 10:17 PM
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With my experiences with my mule, you have to make her think that she's doing what she wants, while in all actuality, she's doing what you want. So basically, get her to do what you want her to, but make her think its her idea.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-11-2010, 12:56 AM
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they're smart. That's what makes them stubborn, they THINK, horses that think can also be freakishly stubborn. ;)
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-11-2010, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ridergirl23 View Post
they're smart. That's what makes them stubborn, they THINK, horses that think can also be freakishly stubborn. ;)
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I agree with this 100% anything that REALLY thinks will often be really stubborn.


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post #5 of 16 Old 06-11-2010, 01:50 AM
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I agree with everyone else - it's cleverness really. Just like a lot of ponies are rather clever and have a mind of their own, thinking for themselves, and are often stubborn with lots of personality.

I know a lot of people who have said "This horse/pony/mule is just stupid, it's SO stubborn!" and I just laugh, because usually it's just a case of the critter outsmarting the person! ;)

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post #6 of 16 Old 06-12-2010, 11:00 PM
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Mule stubbornness, in a traditional sense, is a myth. By traditional sense, I mean that they are unreasonable obstinate and are so for no reason. Mules can be "stubborn", but only in situations when freezing is best.

There are two reasons while mules behave like they do: Instinct and deep thought. To understand the instinct reason for mule stubbornness, you have to look at the donkey.

The wild donkey lives in the deserts of Africa in mountainous areas. When scared, they can't just run blindly. They would run themselves right off a cliff. So what do they do? They think. They look at the predator and think, "Would I run, stay, or fight?"

So, when a mule is confronted with a scary blue tarp or creek crossing, they use the jackass lodged deep inside their brains and think. "Should I put my foot on the tarp? Will it hurt me? Why not just go around the stupid thing?" Once you convince the mule it is a good idea or the mule convinces himself, he will go on with no problems.

Second reason for mule stubbornness is deep thought. This is a lot like instinct, only it happens randomly at various times of the day (and usually right when you don't want it to happen). "What should I do next? What is good about option A? What is bad? What about option B?"

You see, mules are only stubborn because they are smart. Mules know that running into or away from everything isn't going to work as well as thinking it through. Many people will tell you "Trust your mule." Mules are sometimes smarter than people and are highly sensible.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-13-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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That makes a lot of sense....thanks!
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-13-2010, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
Mule stubbornness, in a traditional sense, is a myth. By traditional sense, I mean that they are unreasonable obstinate and are so for no reason. Mules can be "stubborn", but only in situations when freezing is best.

There are two reasons while mules behave like they do: Instinct and deep thought. To understand the instinct reason for mule stubbornness, you have to look at the donkey.

The wild donkey lives in the deserts of Africa in mountainous areas. When scared, they can't just run blindly. They would run themselves right off a cliff. So what do they do? They think. They look at the predator and think, "Would I run, stay, or fight?"

So, when a mule is confronted with a scary blue tarp or creek crossing, they use the jackass lodged deep inside their brains and think. "Should I put my foot on the tarp? Will it hurt me? Why not just go around the stupid thing?" Once you convince the mule it is a good idea or the mule convinces himself, he will go on with no problems.

Second reason for mule stubbornness is deep thought. This is a lot like instinct, only it happens randomly at various times of the day (and usually right when you don't want it to happen). "What should I do next? What is good about option A? What is bad? What about option B?"

You see, mules are only stubborn because they are smart. Mules know that running into or away from everything isn't going to work as well as thinking it through. Many people will tell you "Trust your mule." Mules are sometimes smarter than people and are highly sensible.
Love this answer.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-13-2010, 02:33 PM
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Copy that. You find the same thing in smarter dog breeds like basset hounds, boxers, and bull dogs.
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Originally Posted by JumpsxGlory View Post
I agree with this 100% anything that REALLY thinks will often be really stubborn.

"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and she'll listen to me allll day."
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-13-2010, 03:57 PM
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Not to steal the thread, but when I ride my mare out by herself, she'll be walking along and then just stop on a dime and I'll kick her to go forward but she just backs up faster and faster.. (I don't let her get away with it, if I have to, I'll back her up down the street until she'll go forward) Is this her thinking ..because she doesn't want to leave all her buddies? She is buddy sour..

There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing. ~ Will Rogers
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