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Mules are known for their stubborness. Why are they like that? Is it genetic? Does it come from the donkey in them, or is it a mix of DNA from the horse and the donkey that creates it? Or is it all just a myth, and they're just as stubborn as any horse?
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With my experiences with my mule, you have to make her think that shes doing what she wants, while in all actuality, shes doing what you want. So basically, get her to do what you want her to, but make her think its her idea.
 

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they're smart. That's what makes them stubborn, they THINK, horses that think can also be freakishly stubborn. ;)
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I agree with everyone else - it's cleverness really. Just like a lot of ponies are rather clever and have a mind of their own, thinking for themselves, and are often stubborn with lots of personality.

I know a lot of people who have said "This horse/pony/mule is just stupid, it's SO stubborn!" and I just laugh, because usually it's just a case of the critter outsmarting the person! ;)
 

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Mule stubbornness, in a traditional sense, is a myth. By traditional sense, I mean that they are unreasonable obstinate and are so for no reason. Mules can be "stubborn", but only in situations when freezing is best.

There are two reasons while mules behave like they do: Instinct and deep thought. To understand the instinct reason for mule stubbornness, you have to look at the donkey.

The wild donkey lives in the deserts of Africa in mountainous areas. When scared, they can't just run blindly. They would run themselves right off a cliff. So what do they do? They think. They look at the predator and think, "Would I run, stay, or fight?"

So, when a mule is confronted with a scary blue tarp or creek crossing, they use the jackass lodged deep inside their brains and think. "Should I put my foot on the tarp? Will it hurt me? Why not just go around the stupid thing?" Once you convince the mule it is a good idea or the mule convinces himself, he will go on with no problems.

Second reason for mule stubbornness is deep thought. This is a lot like instinct, only it happens randomly at various times of the day (and usually right when you don't want it to happen). "What should I do next? What is good about option A? What is bad? What about option B?"

You see, mules are only stubborn because they are smart. Mules know that running into or away from everything isn't going to work as well as thinking it through. Many people will tell you "Trust your mule." Mules are sometimes smarter than people and are highly sensible.
 

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Mule stubbornness, in a traditional sense, is a myth. By traditional sense, I mean that they are unreasonable obstinate and are so for no reason. Mules can be "stubborn", but only in situations when freezing is best.

There are two reasons while mules behave like they do: Instinct and deep thought. To understand the instinct reason for mule stubbornness, you have to look at the donkey.

The wild donkey lives in the deserts of Africa in mountainous areas. When scared, they can't just run blindly. They would run themselves right off a cliff. So what do they do? They think. They look at the predator and think, "Would I run, stay, or fight?"

So, when a mule is confronted with a scary blue tarp or creek crossing, they use the jackass lodged deep inside their brains and think. "Should I put my foot on the tarp? Will it hurt me? Why not just go around the stupid thing?" Once you convince the mule it is a good idea or the mule convinces himself, he will go on with no problems.

Second reason for mule stubbornness is deep thought. This is a lot like instinct, only it happens randomly at various times of the day (and usually right when you don't want it to happen). "What should I do next? What is good about option A? What is bad? What about option B?"

You see, mules are only stubborn because they are smart. Mules know that running into or away from everything isn't going to work as well as thinking it through. Many people will tell you "Trust your mule." Mules are sometimes smarter than people and are highly sensible.
Love this answer.
 

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Not to steal the thread, but when I ride my mare out by herself, she'll be walking along and then just stop on a dime and I'll kick her to go forward but she just backs up faster and faster.. (I don't let her get away with it, if I have to, I'll back her up down the street until she'll go forward) Is this her thinking ..because she doesn't want to leave all her buddies? She is buddy sour.. ;-)
 

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We have 2 mules at my barn a male and female. You cannot treat them like normal horses. From what the owners tell us you cannot "correct" them or "punish" them for being bad.
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^^^

You can and should punish them like a horse, but not for all the same reasons. You have to train a mule like you should train a horse. Nipping, kicking, wiggling, not listening, and all that deserve correction, but not if they are kicking, nipping, not listening, or wiggling for a good, mule sensible reason. Just like you should only punish a horse if he's disobeying you of simple disrespect rather than a good, sensible reason.

You say, "What is a good reason for a mule not to listen?" Imagine a trail ride. Suddenly, mule sees something and stops dead. You kick, but he's pulling a donkey on you and won't move.

First, why isn't he moving? Well, he's scared of the sound ahead. He's deciding if he should run, attack, or go on. A scary, possibly deathly sound is a good reason to stop in a mule's mind. He's just thinking; don't hit him for it. If you give him time to think, he'll sort it out on his own and never be afraid of that sound again.

Some situations that do require "punishment" require special care when working with mules. Imagine one day you're about to saddle up your mule. You've had your mule for years and years, but one day he's decided that he doesn't want that bit in his mouth. First, examine for mule sensible reasons. Is the bit hurting him? No. Have you recently changed bits and he doesn't like this one? No.

He's playing games with you; testing you. But, in order to play games, you have to have two players. If you get mad, mule wins. If you give up, mule wins. But if you keep going like nothing's happening until you get that bit into his mouth, you win. Hitting doesn't help; simple patience will work for most mule misbehavior's. (Except biting and kicking for no reason. Slap the heck out of 'em! Never but up with aggression!)


That grand trick to training mules is to find out why they're doing something rather than fixing what they're doing.

EDIT: Dang! I went out on a tangent! Sorry, everyone! I like to talk about mules...
 

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Interesting! I was always told at work that you cannot treat them like horses. Ofcourse kicking, biting, etc etc is not acceptable but other things like dragging you or pushing you. Or refusing to move that i should just let them do it or go with it. Iv never worked with mules before and typically i just let the owners handle them.
 
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