mules - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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mules

I've always wanted a mule. But have never had one and would like to get one some day.
But no time soon.

Anyone have any info about them you'd like to share?
I have had a lot of donkeys and even broke a couple to ride.
What things do you do different with a mule than you would a horse or donkey?
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post #2 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 02:14 PM
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I have heard that mules are much less forgiving of mistakes than a horse is. Apparently the training has to be the mules idea, or the mule will balk.
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post #3 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 02:40 PM
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Well, in about 2 years I'll be finding out the differences with our mule.
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post #4 of 30 Old 12-12-2013, 10:45 PM
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Mules are much smarter. It is much more of a 'mind game' with them.

In the early stages of training, they do not let you make mistakes or they will capitalize on every tiny one.

If you let them make mistakes, they will come back to haunt you. They are sooo much stronger than a horse of the same size that you have to be smarter then they are. You just cannot out-muscle them.

You must show them the easy way to do something and not try to force them to do it. Then, get out of their way and 'let' them do it.

I love training them. We raised them for many years. It takes longer to train one, but then you have an animal that will literally take care of you for decades.

Some are more like the donkey and others are more like the horse parent. It has been our experience that if you want one to lope like a horse and not like a donkey, they should be loped very early in their training under saddle. We have also like the gaits and ability of the mules sired by saddle type Jack. Our best saddle mules were sired by a Catalonian Spanish jack. They had soft mouths and horse-like gaits under saddle.
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post #5 of 30 Old 12-18-2013, 11:01 AM
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I have a not-quite-two-year old hinny (means that mom was a donkey and dad was a horse vs. vice versa). Mules and hinnys mature more slowly than horses---typically 5 years old before knees are closed, etc.

They learn stuff FAST, and then get pissy if you try to reinforce the lesson. They need to have several short lessons of different things rather than any kind of long training session.

They do not suffer fools gladly.

I adore my baby girl. Her dad was a paso fino, and she's gaited. But she's also likely going to be smaller than I'd hoped so I'm looking into training her to drive. But a riding mule is an absolute joy--and more sure-footed than most horses. A good riding mule is also almost always more expensive than a comparable horse. And since their backs are often very different than a horse you may find that you need a custom-fitted saddle plus britching. So overall, they can cost more there. But they tend to be easy keepers and cost less in feed and vet bills. Assuming you can find a vet that will work with a mule.
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post #6 of 30 Old 12-18-2013, 11:09 AM
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I have heard nothing but good things about them (assuming you're smarter than they are ;D ). I have also heard that they make awesome jumpers.
That said, what are you planning to do with one? If you want to show, there are some organizations and associations that don't allow them, depending on the discipline.

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post #7 of 30 Old 12-18-2013, 12:30 PM
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post #8 of 30 Old 12-19-2013, 12:52 AM
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She has done EVERYTHING with mules and donkeys. Little Jack Horner (30+ year old donkey) used to be her show jumper.
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post #9 of 30 Old 12-26-2013, 11:17 PM
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I started riding my friends mule about five years ago as riding their mule was much easier on my back than my own horse. My horse died a year and half ago I have been a mule owner now for 8 months.

My mule came out of some pretty bad situations before the people that I got him from got him. Once I got him I turned him in with my friends horses at my house and just let him be a mule. I wanted him to know this was his home. I started doing some ground work with him and to my surprise he knew everything I was asking of him. He is 12 years old, I didn't know him he didn't know me so by doing ground work with him we have been able to establish trust in each other on the ground. He has gotten to the point were he is super protective of me more so when I am in the pasture and the other horses are around, wich he is just telling them that he owns me.
I can not wait till spring to start riding him.
I do agree with a lot of the above. Once a mule gets something in their head it takes along time to get it out or change it and even then they will flash back.
I am one that I do not feel a mule is stuborn. If you are riding down the trail and your mule refuses to go forward, look around cause that mule is trying to tell you something is there. I have always let every mule I have riden pick it's path on trail specially rocky slopes and river crossings. Mules are extremely smart. I have had horses for over 40 years, now I own a mule and I can say I never ever thought I would ever own a mule. I do and I am really liking my mule.
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post #10 of 30 Old 12-27-2013, 07:00 AM
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Pictures, I love pictures of wonderful mules.
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