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RedBlaze 09-18-2012 03:11 PM

The evil miniature mule!
 
I'm training 8 mini mules and 2 mini horses. Are 2 years old and were untouched when I first started, they'd kick and you couldn't get close to them (as expected). Anyway, the owner wants them all halter broken. I have 5 halter broken and they were fairly easy after getting their trust and respect. There is a larger solid white mule (I call her Satin). . I put Satin in a run, two stalls on the left hand side, other side is solid wood, then the back is a stall. I close all the doors and get her to go to the gate. I make a small 'stall like' area so it is easier to work with her. Everytime busts out and runs to the back, against the stall. She has gotten to where she charges at me and refuses to stop and I have to keep the side stall open to avoid getting ran over. When I say charge, I mean a FULL fledged gallop at me and will not stop. She has gotten so bad that it scares the daylights out of me and I really don't like getting in the run with her. My boss and his son helped me out and got a halter on her, but I'm have no clue what to do with her anymore because she is downright dangerous. I know she isn't really evil, but this stare she gives me is quite creepy. I'm starting to wonder if everything is right in her noggin. It could always be she is a miniature, therefore closer to hell :rofl: But seriously I could really use some other trainers opinions and I'll take any advice. (Note, I've started them all out the same way.)

Mule : :evil::twisted: Me : :shock::hide:

Cherie 09-19-2012 10:15 PM

Sure, there are evil mules. Since mules are so smart, they can be REALLY evil. I think you are in over your head. This mule already knows she has you on the run and she will take full advantage of it.

The best way I know how to handle her safely is with restraints. Mules respond very well to restraints and restraining them gives you a chance to teach them that you are OK.

If you really want to try to gentle her, the very first thing you need to do is teach her to tie solidly. Mules will not hurt themselves when they are tied. Can you get the same person to help you get her tied that got the halter on her? Just make sure that the halter and lead and tying place are 2 or 3 times stronger than you would need for a comparably sized horse. They are a LOT stronger and a whole lot tougher.

Stay out of the way of her mouth. They can open their mouths wider and bite a lot harder than anything other than a Jack donkey. Stay out of the way of her back feet. A mule can kick as far forward as their shoulder. I have seen mules kick forward hard and hit people on the knees or above that were standing in front of their girth. They have incredible accuracy and reach when they want to get you.

If you can get her broke to tie solidly, I would sack her out with a big, long soft cotton rope and see if she settles down with that.

If it were me, I would put 4-way hobbles on her and she would settle down very quickly. But, that is not really advisable for someone without experience. A viscous mule can be so mean and effective in attacking, I would not wish her on anyone if she is really that mean. Be careful.

loveduffy 09-19-2012 10:33 PM

I agree with Cheire I have work very little with mins

RedBlaze 09-20-2012 01:11 AM

I'll try tying her on one of the huge support beams of the barn. Today I smacked her on the nose with the end of a buggy whip ( I had no crop) and that seemed to stop her pretty well. When she refused to stop for it I opened one of the stall doors and let her hit it. She was pretty responsive with those methods, but who knows how she will be tomorrow with the crazy thing she is. I have no idea how I would get hobbles on her. The corner I put her in, she busts out and gets her leg hung in the gate at times. The more she breaks out, the worse she is at charging and acting ugly. I tried pushing the gate back on her, needless to say it was a losing battle. Luckily my boss is a pretty strong guy so I'll have him help me with her (took both him and his son to get the halter on her, one of the most difficult haltering experiences ever.) One thing works alright with her one day, the next she's totally different. Boss wants to have her broken to pull a buggy when I get done with her (if I ever can). To heck if I'd get pulled around by that lunatic!

loosie 09-20-2012 05:08 AM

Agree with Cherie, namely that you're in over your head:-|. I prefer starting horses more non-confrontationally & I believe it's extra important to keep confrontations to a minimum if training donkeys, if at all possible(I have no experience with mules... aside from riding one down the Bright Angel Trail:shock: of the Grand Canyon when I was 20yo:lol:).

But now you've already started along that line & it seems to have brought out the worst in her, assuming you don't have time to patiently work on changing her attitude first, IMO you need to get her restrained effectively & then ensure you're effective at teaching her the lessons you want her to learn, rather than allowing her any more practice at the lessons already inadvertently taught.

Quote:

Originally Posted by RedBlaze (Post 1690285)
Today I smacked her on the nose with the end of a buggy whip ( I had no crop) and that seemed to stop her pretty well.

Yep, IMO sometimes strong punishment is appropriate. It is a bit of a 'pitstop' in that it (if effective) will stop a behaviour in it's tracks, but generally only temporarily(unless the animal has no motivation for the behaviour). Therefore I'd think of it as a 'buy you time' tactic.

Quote:

The corner I put her in, she busts out and gets her leg hung in the gate at times. The more she breaks out, the worse she is at charging and acting ugly.
It was probably being reactive out of fear when she was cornered to begin with. The behaviour worked for her, so with every 'practice' she's getting 'better' at it.

Quote:

Boss wants to have her broken to pull a buggy when I get done with her (if I ever can). To heck if I'd get pulled around by that lunatic!
Inclined to agree with your sentiments the way it's going:lol:, and I wouldn't trust her not to stew on it until she works out a way of getting the upper hand(she is half donkey, after all!) if she's 'broken' with manhandling, but IME even 'crazies' can become well mannered & reliable when trained considerately & effectively.:wink:

Cherie 09-20-2012 08:34 AM

Loosie, You're expecting horse responses from a mule. They are VERY DIFFERENT. A spoiled mule is impossible to trust as one will lay in wait for months to get even or get away.

The reason restraints work so well on mules is because they are so different. If you want a good mule, you cannot let it make mistakes. Once the mistakes have been made, you better quickly go to plan B or you have a mule that will take advantage every chance it gets. They just have different ways of thinking and reasoning than a horse. -- any horse. They do not think like donkeys and they sure do not think like horses. They think like mules.

If you do not handle this one while it is tied solidly, I guarantee you will have a mule that bolts and jerks away from you in no time at all and you will have no choice other than to go to a chain halter. They are so smart that they yield to restraints immediately. Using them buys you the time and safety to teach them to listen to and respect you. It is not 'forcing' them to do anything. It is not 'breaking' one. It is preventing them from hurting you and learning even worse bad habits. But then, I really do not expect anyone who has no mule experience to understand how they think and how bad it is to let them learn bad things. Did I mention that they think differently?

RedBlaze 09-20-2012 12:27 PM

I won't be breaking her to a buggy not my cup of tea, the amish will. As far as keeping her in that corner, she knows pretty well she can break out. Just to tie her I'll have to have my boss grab her halter and his son hold the gate so I can put the rope on her. Yes, her attitude of ' charging me then busting through everything ' is my fault. When she first started charging, I should have stood my ground but obviously she was too first thought was to jump out of the way so I did. Now I've got myself in a mess that I've made and I'd like to be able to clean it up.

loosie 09-21-2012 01:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cherie (Post 1690463)
Loosie, You're expecting horse responses from a mule. They are VERY DIFFERENT. A spoiled mule is impossible to trust as one will lay in wait for months to get even or get away.

I'm not at all expecting horse responses actually. I do appreciate they're very different, having worked with a fair number of donkeys. I expected they're similar to donks in the way they think & behave(Aside from more reactive & powerful, with the horsey side). But you think not? Perhaps you can tell what you feel the major differences are? Re the 'spoiled mule impossible to trust' is why I wrote my last comment on training them to pull a cart.

Quote:

They are so smart that they yield to restraints immediately. Using them buys you the time and safety to teach them to listen to and respect you. It is not 'forcing' them to do anything. It is not 'breaking' one. It is preventing them from hurting you and learning even worse
Of course 'restraining' it to do stuff to it that it won't otherwise put up with is forcing it. It just.... is. But not saying that's necessarily a bad thing in the least. Perhaps you missed that I agreed with you that that is likely the best approach, now that the beastie has already learned some bad behaviour at least. Obviously we have very different approaches & mindsets, but there are actually other (effective) ways of training animals than having to restrain them for your safety.

Saddlebag 09-21-2012 01:02 PM

Has she been vetted? She may need to be tranquilized so he can give her a good going over and that can be a good time to get acquainted with her, by just being there. You don't know her history so you don't know what you are up against other than what she is displaying.

RedBlaze 09-21-2012 07:23 PM

I am 125lbs.. frankly I wouldn't dream of man handling her, and even if I wanted to I couldn't. As for spoiling her, the mules I train are rewarded, but not spoiled. I wasn't there for my boss to get the halter on her, but I'd say she probably was man handled for that but it's not like he beat the heck out of her. We hoped getting a halter on her benefit her (which it will). Some of you may think it was a bad idea for me to move for her when she charged. I don't know about you, but I'm not gonna stand there when a mule is running at me, especially when this mule has gotten close enough that she has grazed me. The agreement with me getting this training job, or any is for me not to put myself in situations to get hurt (I'm 15, I had to agree or not get the job. We are all aware that doing anything is dangerous and that they have minds of their own. I'm pretty sure that standing infront of a charging mule doesn't quite follow the agreement) Saddlebag, she hasn't been to the vet but she should be getting scheduled for an appointment.


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