I'm usually the lone mule/donkey lover in any crowd, so people just back away from me slowly ;-)
And god, I couldn't live with an equine I couldn't pet/love on. What would be the point of it all? You might as well just buy a car or a motorcycle.
Hi Mulefeather, All!
I have encountered people who will not ride with George. The usual excuse goes something like "My horse has never been around a mule before . . .", but a good friend actually told me he was afraid George would kick his dog. As his dog, a middle aged Blue Heeler, has a bad habit of nipping at a horse's back feet while underway, I had to agree with him; "Yep, if she nips at Georgies feet, he's gonna launch her . . ."
Once we encountered a group of riders in a switchback on a single track trail. A young girl was on a white horse who was afraid of George; the horse looked like he was about to faint or something. The girls father started cussing at George and I; "Get that d____d mule out of the trail!" Ordinarily, I would have suggested that dad F.O.A.D., but out of consideration for the little girl and her poor horse, I asked G. to back down the trail (too narrow/steep to turn) until we could step off into the trees and let them pass. Not a word of thanks.
Then there are always other riders with disparaging comments; "What _is_ that you're riding . . .?". I just smile; "This is my buddy George! Isn't he Spec-Tacular?"
I'm still not clear why holes in _your_ animals training are _my_ problem, but I guess in the long run, those who _can_ have to make accommodations for those who can't.
So yea OP, and anyone else following along; as a presumably intelligent entity, it is your job to sort the wheat from the chaff. You accomplish this by considering as many different viewpoints as possible, and sorting based on your own wisdom, and what makes sense. This is termed Critical Thinking, and it's a valuable skill, 'cause without it, you are just another sheep following the flock. This is a fairly universal concept BTW, certainly not limited to equestrian issues, tho I might suggest that it is an area with plenty of opportunities :-)
As far as petting, my critters are pets and friends first, and carry me around once in awhile because they _like_ me. Wouldn't have it any other way.