Mules? Tell me everything please?
I'm new here and just looking for some information. I'll be honest I have never been on a horse or mule but have been near them. We moved to a place where we have some acreage and I have thought over and over about getting a mule. I have read some on them and just really interest me more than a horse. From my understanding mules do a little more thinking than just reacting to situations, while horses normally just react and can be dangerous. I know there is a lot more to this story, but this is the gist of what I got from reading about these two animals.
I'm a complete novice and wondering has anyone else started from a complete novice like me or did you have some prior experience through others before getting your first horse/mule?
I have no 'job' that we need a mule to do, this would just be a well loved pet that would be ridden a few times per week and would be well loved and taken care of. However, I want to do tremendous research before I even consider getting one. I know a novice with any large animal can be dangerous and want to have a good understanding of their care, training and anything else I need to know to properly take care of and raise a mule. I don't plan to purchase one for a year or so, but this will give me plenty of time to research, think this over and get a place ready to keep one. I thought what better place to start my search than getting information from people who have owned or just have experience with them. Please fill me in on everything you think that would be helpful, any good websites, books? I would love to know about usual monthly/yearly costs, best diet, and activities and things to provide for a mule to be content.
I appreciate all the help in advance.
Read more: Mules? Tell Me Everything. - The Braying Board - HorseCity Forums
Of course, as a novice rider, I strongly suggest you start with lessons before you jump right into ownership. That way, you can decide what type of riding suits you best, English or western, and when it comes time to buy, you'll have a trainer/instructor that can go along to help ensure you get a horse/mule that will suit your needs and ability.
IMHO, a good mule is an excellent mount for a beginning rider. The trouble is finding one. A good riding mule, in most areas, will easily be 50%-100% more expensive than a horse of comparable training/ability...if you can find a good one at all.
I'm not sure where I could find lessons at, but that sounds like a great idea.
We have plenty of mules for sale all the time locally, but like you have mentioned I'm not sure what kind of training or home they have came from. We had one recently on craigslist for $200 but didn't say much more than that, probably a positive indicator that this mule wouldn't be a good choice for someone especially like me who is a novice.
Finding a place to take lessons might be easier than you think! For instance, I knew my neighbor 1/4 of a mile away boarded horses, but I didn't know she gave lessons! Had my first lesson in ages last night, and it was a blast!
Maybe put up a flyer asking about lessons at a few different feed and tack stores. Most folks I know when getting feed always stop to browse the ad board in the shops, as there can be some nifty stuff on the board. There are plenty of questions you should ask before committing to a certain trainer. Someone at the feed or tack stores itself might actually know someone who does lessons personally.
Lessons are definitely the best way to learn about equines. And it isn't too shabby of a workout, either!
I would definitely echo what others have said: take lessons first. The best research you can do is getting hands on experience through lessons. Find a barn that will not only teach you to ride, but also about daily care. A good trainer is the best ally you can have when it comes to new horse/mule ownership.
It may be harder to find a trainer who has experience with mules (no idea what area you are in) than it is to find a decent horse trainer, but I would start with what you can find. The basic care of horses and mules is very similar as is learning to ride them, so horse lessons are a good place to start since they're easier to find. Keep looking for a mule trainer while you're taking horse lessons.
The other part of it is that not every good horse trainer makes a good mule trainer. Because you have to approach them differently, there are a lot fewer good mule trainers so finding one with good training is already hard. Because the supply of well built mules with good training is so small, then any demand at all will drive prices up astronomically.
A few years ago we had a draft mule that lost his mate to west nile. Because we didn't have another to replace him to make another team, we decided to break him to ride. He had just a tiny little bit over 30 days under saddle when we sold him for about $5K.
The lady that bought him said that she'd been searching for years for a decent draft sized saddle mule and had absolutely zero luck. Everything she came across either wasn't broke at all or had serious issues to deal with and was still in the thousands of dollars :?.
How can you not like that?
What was his name?
His name was Pete LOL. Mules really aren't my cup of tea, I prefer a good horse, but he was nice enough for a greenie.
I got a donkey along with the last mare I bought. She is very sweet & quite affectionate. Adults & kids are just drawn to her & she is safe to be around. She will leave her food for petting & attention. I am eager to start doing more w/her-she is on a diet right now, as her last owner let her get overweight. She is really an easy keeper!
I'd REALLY lean away from mules for a first equine experience. They tend to retain part of the donkey brain. Let me tell you, you can't tell a donkey to do anything. They need plenty of convincing and they remember EVERYTHING. It might take several repeats of bad behavior for a horse to make a habit, it takes a donkey one time. I'd really look into getting a horse because breeding mules aren't an exact science. Some will be more donkey like, some will be more horse like. Get a solid horse, lessons and learn the basics. Then when you have mastered the skills look into buying a mule.
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