Is training a mule different then training a horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-12-2012, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Is training a mule different then training a horse?

How much different is training a mule from training a horse/pony? Or is it the same?

I was offered a 50in. all white mule who needs a lot of work so I might get the chance to train one soon. I'm just wondering what are the difference in how to handle things or how to approach training. I am aware that all equine are different. Just wondering if it is normally different or if it is the same.


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post #2 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 12:09 AM
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Hmm, I was wondering the same thing too. Subscribing!
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 12:29 AM
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Mules are a ton different than a horse. For one thing, they are smarter and need a legitimate reason to do what you want and "because I said so" isn't a good enough reason for them. You can't push them the way that you can a horse and you have to have a ton more patience and "stick-to-it-iveness". It takes a special kind of person to be a good muleskinner (mule trainer).

That's why you always hear about how "mules are stupid" or "mules are too dang stubborn and you'll never get them to do anything for you".

Everyone who's ever said that has been outsmarted by a mule.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Mules are a ton different than a horse. For one thing, they are smarter and need a legitimate reason to do what you want and "because I said so" isn't a good enough reason for them. You can't push them the way that you can a horse and you have to have a ton more patience and "stick-to-it-iveness". It takes a special kind of person to be a good muleskinner (mule trainer).

That's why you always hear about how "mules are stupid" or "mules are too dang stubborn and you'll never get them to do anything for you".

Everyone who's ever said that has been outsmarted by a mule.

Sound's like my mini.


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post #5 of 15 Old 07-13-2012, 06:40 PM
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Mules and donkeys have a much stronger self-preservation instinct than a horse, so using flight zones to train them just doesn't work as well. I was warned to really research mules before I bought one because you can ruin a good mule easily by treating it like a horse, and that is true!

Mules are way smarter, and really don't get it if you try to drill them on anything. One circle is enough. In terms of teaching them new things, use natural obstacles to make it make sense to them. For instance, teaching a mule to back up is easier if you put them in a spot where they HAVE to back up to get out, then rewarding them.

The reason more donkeys and mules are abused than horses is this: longears have a way of making people feel dumb. Even if you are good with them they'll find your button to push it.

Best advice I ever got about training mules/donkeys was this: Have a VERY good sense of humor...you'll need it. :)

That being said, I love working with longears, so much more rewarding than with horses, and I always always feel safer.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-14-2012, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Mules are a ton different than a horse. For one thing, they are smarter and need a legitimate reason to do what you want and "because I said so" isn't a good enough reason for them. You can't push them the way that you can a horse and you have to have a ton more patience and "stick-to-it-iveness". It takes a special kind of person to be a good muleskinner (mule trainer).

That's why you always hear about how "mules are stupid" or "mules are too dang stubborn and you'll never get them to do anything for you".

Everyone who's ever said that has been outsmarted by a mule.
I train mules and horses. I really don't do anything different. I do not like the type of approach where I would force either one to do something. Basically you have to make them want to do whatever you ask for. And a lot of positive reinforcement. Be patient, kind and consistent. You really don't want to loose your temper. Oh and treats for job well done aren't a bad idea either. ;)
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-14-2012, 04:16 PM
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Ever wonder why we use the term "jackass" to describe certain people. Might be a hint.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-14-2012, 08:09 PM
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You will never win a fight with a mule. If they sull up, they won.
I was taught to count to ten, and try again.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-14-2012, 08:38 PM
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Someone once told me that a horse should be trained the way every mule must be trained. And I couldn't agree more!
Anyone who forces horses or mules in to anything is just asking to get hurt.
Using common sense and making the correct behavior easier than the unwanted one is really a way to go.
When they do something I don't like I never try to stop them, but than I don't let them stop until they are sick of it.
They love to be praised. Release of pressure is not rewarding enough. Praise them like crazy. Kind of like you would a little kid. Make even a small accomplishment a big deal.
It's important not to confuse them. There is no in-between. When they do something right let them know, if you don't like something, let them know too. Do not let anything slide. They remember everything.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-20-2012, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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We turned down the mule do to the fact he apparently needs a lot more work then first thought. And theres a possibility of a very small mini mule or mini horse being added to the family.
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