Tons of Good info on mules, If you have any further Q's feel free to call or email us!
This is some good Info I found on the internet and "copy and pasted" for your convience, written by various reputable authors and trainers, mule owners/breeders with tons of experience with many different mules~ It answers alot of Questions we get about buying or owning mules, so rather than running you all over the internet I have put together a good bit of info to browse through to see if a mule is a good fit for you; I picked this info because we agree with it and have found it to be true in my experiences and opinion, however, feel free to call or email or come by with other Questions, Thanks for looking!
About Mules......As mules gain in popularity, many people are looking at them for the first time. If you don't see your question answered here, email and we'd be glad to help if we can.
What is a mule?
A mule is a cross between a mare and a jack (donkey stallion). A cross between a stallion and a jennet (female donkey) is a Hinny. Mules are male and female, just like horses, with all of the sexual organs, so females (called mollys or mare-mules or jenny-mules) do cycle and males (called johns, jack-mules or horse-mules) need to be castrated or they will get stud-y. However, donkeys have 62 chromosomes and horses have 64, so mules have an uneven number, 63, which makes them a sterile hybrid. They do not reproduce.
Are mules stubborn?
What is often called subborness in a mule is a mule's ability to think independently and an ingrained sense of self preservation. Mules have a more complex reasoning ability than most horses and this is what makes them more reliable in hairy situations. Their unwillingness to place themselves in danger is usually to their riders benefit. Many mules will attach themselves to a human with dog-like devotion and will do anything that person asks them to do overriding their reluctance to do something.
Do mules kick?
Of course, but with more discriminaltion than horses and with a lot more accuracy. There is nowhere in 360 degrees and several feet away that a mule cannot reach you, if he wants you. If it is a warning, you will be expertly tapped. A mule will always have a reason, and if it was not a good reason, then this is a good time for discipline. Once a mule knows that kicking is not acceptable, he will probably never try it again. If he continues to kick- you definitely have the wrong mule. Would you keep a dog that bites you?
Are mules hard to train?
Mules are very intelligent. They think over what they are being taught and so it may sometimes take longer to get the reaction that you are looking for. While training a mule, it is very important to "read" the mule's responses and be willing to adjust the training techniques to help the mule understand what is expected. Impatience, force, and abuse will make a mule suspicious and resentful (and might get you kicked). Slower will get you there faster.
Will a mule "get even" if you mistreat it?
There are many stories about mules that have done just that. Mules are not vindictive as such, but mistreatment (abuse) will make a mule wary enough to try to protect himself from further harm. Discipline and abuse are worlds apart, however, and a misbehaving mule will know the difference.
Do you need special mule "tack" for a mule?
Today's saddle mule is very horselike in conformation. They usually have good backs and withers and although any riding animal need a good fitting saddle, it does not necessarily have to be a "mule" saddle. Avoid "mule" bits made of chains and wires. A well trained mule will respond to any bit it is comfortable holding in his mouth, or a bosal or sidepull. (Mules mouths are generally more narrow and may take a more narrow bit.) Cruppers and breeching are generally thought of as "mule" gear, but all pack and saddle animals traveling in steep country will benefit from tack that stays in place.
Can a mule carry more than a horse?
Mules have denser muscling than horses due to their donkey parent. So a mule will carry more and go farther than a horse of the same size. This type of muscling is also why mules are not generally as quick and fast as a horse.
Is breeding a mare to a jack cruel to the mare?
A mare that is used to donkeys will stand for a jack just like she would for a stallion. It has happened in the wild farther back then we can track. A mare in heat seeing a jack for the first time, may not be quite as enthusiastic. This is a moot point on our place as well as many others these days, as with Artificial Insemination, the mare is sweet talked by a "teaser" stallion and then bred while standing in stocks by a technician. Clean, safe and efficient.
Will a mare reject a mule foal?
Heck, no. That's her baby
Do molly mules come into season like a mare does, and if so are they as cranky as a mare?
Molly mules do come into season, and they are all individuals... but in our experience molly mules are very quiet about it. Many people ride mollys for years and never know when they are in season. My main riding mule is a molly and occasionally when I am riding her, she will stop as though she is going to urinate and then I realize that there is a horse or something close by that she thinks is cute and she is showing to him. I leg her on, and that is the only indication I have that she is in heat. If there is the occasional molly that gets cranky I would not be surprised, but I have not heard of her.
Do mules and horses get along?
Every mule had a horse for a mother. Mules love horses. Horses that have never seen a mule may be more standoffish or even mean to a mule. A mule does not have the strong herd instincts of the horse and so will normally back down from a horse. It usually works out.
Will a mule kill a dog or a foal?
Donkeys and wolves are natural enemies. Instead of running, like a horse, a donkey will stand and fight. This is why they are used to guard other livestock. A mule gets this influence and given the right set of circumstances, a mule will stomp a dog, foal, or other small animal. Mules and the family pets will get to know one another, either mock fighting or the dog will learn to stay out of the mule's way. And although many a mule has been reported to have stolen a foal (or even a moose calf) to mother, it is a good idea to keep young foals separate.
Is it true that mules do not founder?
No, mules can and do founder- just not as easily or frequently as horses. Mules tend to be discriminate eaters . They will pick around bad feed and not over eat. There are exceptions, but in general, the expression should have been, "healthy as a mule!"
Is it true that you do not have to shoe mules?
Mules hoof walls are very thick. Many people never shoe their mules. However, if you are doing hard riding in rocky areas or many miles on gravel, it is a good idea to shoe your mule to prevent soreness and cracking.
Mules are as diverse as the breeds of mares that they are bred out of. Quarter horse mules are athletic and often cowy. Thoroughbred mules can run. Arabian mules are great endurance prospects. Draft mules are awesome for pulling. And Gaited mules are caddilacs!
In general, mules live longer than horses.
It should have been- Healthy as a MULE!
There is nothing better than a good mule...
there is nothing worse than a bad one.
Longears Lingo- Here is a very complete list of donkey and mule terms from ADA.!
Following is a great article that address The Big Question....
"Why would you prefer a mule to a horse?" mule lovers are asked over and over again. Here are some of our reasons:
Mules endure heat better than horses do.
It has been scientifically proven that the donkey is similar to the camel in its ability, when water starved, to drink only enough water to replace lost body fluids. Most mules inherit this ability. Water founder in a mule is so rare as to be notable when it does occur.
Mules have fewer feeding problems than horses do.
Many farmers keep their draft and work mules together in pens with feed available at all times, yet the mules rarely overeat to the point of colic or founder. Mules from pony mares, however, may grass or grain or road founder, so the idea that a mule never founders is not true. Mules require no fancy hay-just plain, clean, fresh hay suitable for equines. People who buy cheaper weedy hay find that their mules clean out the weeds first.
Mules eat less than horses do.
Mules that are not working usually don't need grain at all. Good pasture or clean hay is the usual maintenance ration, unless extra fat is required for show purposes. Many a man has complained that his mules won't fatten because they won't eat enough, requiring the owner to spend extra money buying richer food to put the fat on. When mules are working, their grain ration is usually about 1/3 less than that of a horse of the same size. Of course, a mule must be fed enough for its size, its metabolism, and the work it is doing.
Mules rarely have hoof problems.
Mules naturally have small, upright, boxy feet-which is part of the secret of their surefootedness. Mules that work on pavement, stony ground, etc. are shod, but most pleasure animals, or mules that work on softer ground, never see a shoe. Regular hoof trimming keeps them just fine. Their feet are strong, tough, flexible, and usually not as brittle and shelly as those of a horse. They have less of a problem with splitting, chipping, and contracted heels.
Mules excel in physical soundness.
Mules last longer, are more "maintenance free," and are less expensive at the vet's office than horses are. Leg problems are far less likely in a mule than in a horse, and when leg problems do occur, they are far less severe. "Why do they stay sound?" wonders Robert Miller, DVM. "Seeking answers... equine practitioners exposed daily to the tragedy of lameness in beautiful horses, look at the mules, run their hands down the tough little legs, and wonder." Not only legs, but wind, "innards," and all other parts of the mule including his hide are tougher and more durable than comparable parts of the horse. Hybrid vigor explains a lot of this; the tough physical and mental qualities of the donkey explain the rest.
Mules live longer productive lives than horses do.
Farm mules average 18 years to a horse's 15 years. When the mule is a companion animal doing lighter work and getting better medical care, better feed, and good management, the mule can give its owner good riding at age 30; 40-year-old retirees are not at all uncommon.
Mules can more easily than horses be handled in large groups.
Mules can be corraled on farms 30 or 40 to a group, or up to 500 in a feeding pen, without the injuries or other consequences commonly seen with horses.
Mules have a strong sense of self preservation.
This is one good reason why mules physically last longer than horses do. If they are overheated, overworked, or overused for any reason, mules will either slow down to a safe pace or stop completely. Mules are not stubborn. Neither are donkeys. Yes, of you want them to work too hard for their own well being, especially in hot weather, they will be "stubborn." We have never heard of a messenger running a mule to death the way legends say they ran their horses! The facts that mules are inclined not to panic, that they think about what is happening to them, and they take care of their own physical well being prevents many accidents that might happen if they were horses.
Mules are surefooted and careful.
Their surefootedness is partly physical and partly psychological. On the physical side, the mule has a narrower body than a horse of the same height and weight. He gets this from the ass side of the family. His legs are strong and his feet are small and neat. This narrow structure and small hoof configuration enable him to place his feet carefully and neatly. On the psychological side, mules have a tendency to assess situations and act according to their views (most of which have to do with self preservation). A mule will trust its own judgement before it trusts yours.
Mules incur fewer veterinary expenses.
It seems odd and unprovable, but to the confirmed mule owner a horse seems to be a vet bill waiting for a place to happen. Hybrid vigor accounts for a good deal of the mule's sturdy health. The toughness of the ass accounts for the other aspects. Perhaps the instinct of self preservation that shows up in such diverse ways as not drinking or eating too much when hot, or not panicking when caught in barbed wire, accounts for the rest. This is not to say that mules never get sick, injured, or otherwise "damaged." It is just that they are tougher than horses and they take care of themselves better.
Mules don't look like horses.
This is the thing about a mule that is most obvious to the casual observer--of course they look different. Well, you see, mule lovers like the look of a mule. We love those magnificent big ears. We love to watch those ears flop in a relaxing rhythm on a placid drive, or prick rigidly forward when the mule spots something interesting. We begin to think there is something wrong with those tiny little useless-looking ears of a horse. We like the mule's look of strength without bulk. We enjoy being different, knowing that a mule will draw attention where only the most outstanding and expensive horse will stand out from the crowd. Everyone looks at a colorful Appaloosa, but everyone "oohs" and "aahs" over a colorful Appaloosa mule. We like they way a mule sounds, too-kinda silly, but fun.
Mules are loaded with personality.
This is the most difficult thing to define. Yes, mules are intelligent. They can be very decided about how they want to do things. They are great at running a bluff, a trait they undoubtedly get from the donkey. All of our donkeys refuse to do anything until they are aboslutely positive that we are going to make them do it, then they give right in and cooperate like angels. Rather than pit your strength against the tremendous strength of a mule, either outthink him or use some physical means to calmly outmaneuver him. By physical means, we mean gadgets-yes that horrifying word. Gadgets that
come immediately to mind are tying up a fore or hind foot; draw reins; twitches; chain leads; etc. Any of these, used carefully to achieve a specific goal, will allow you to call your mule's bluff. Once you do that, you have won. The key to handling mules is to do things simply, calmly, and firmly. Don't lose your temper and don't push too hard until you are ready and sure you can make it stick. The big secret to having a calm mule that never kicks and doesn't have bad habits is to handle it firmly but gently from the time it is born, or from the time you acquire the mule.
additional info on mules.......
A mule is the result of the mating of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare) to produce a hybrid. The much rarer hinny is the result of mating a female donkey (jennet) with a male horse (stallion) although the hinny is much harder to produce than the mule. The jennet's reproductive system is more efficient at detecting and eliminating foreign DNA than the mare's is. The hinny conception rate is lower and the miscarriage rate is higher. It really isn't possible to distinguish a mule from a hinny by appearance. Mules are anatomically normal and show normal breeding behavior unless gelded (castrated) early in life. Mules are sterile due to an uneven chromosome count. There are have been a very few rare cases since the 1500s where female mules have been known to produce a foal when mated to a stallion or jack. Males are completely sterile, and as an old muleman said,"Ain't nothing meaner than a stud mule!" Mules are commonly found around the world in any area where there are donkeys and horses inhabiting the same environment. Mules have been bred by humans for use as riding and pack animals, and for ploughing or any work one does with horses. The mule's body type and temperament depend on the breed of mare and jack used. Huge draft mules are created by breeding draft horses such as Belgians to Mammoth jacks. They have the size and power of the draft horse with the mule's ability to tolerate heat and less feed. Racing mules are produced using Throughbred mares, and trail mules are often produced from Quarter horses, Paint horses, and Appaloosas. Mules come in any horse or donkey color or combination of both. A mule is easily distinguished from a donkey by looking at the tail. A mule's tail is haired all the way to the top like a horse's tail; a donkey's tail has a tuft on the end like a cow. They compete successfully with horses in all venues including dressage. The mule has the patience, endurance, sure footedness, sense, and drought tolerance of the donkey, combined with the size, speed, strength and courage of the horse. Operators of working animals generally find mules preferable to horses as mules have harder skin that is less sensitive than that of horses, meaning that mules can deal with climate extremes such as strong sun and rain more easily. They require less food and water than a horse of the same size. The mules hooves are harder than horses hooves, and both the mule and the mules hooves show a natural resistance to disease and insects.
This is a link to another very informative website all about mules and their training by a very successful mule and donkey trainer Meredith Hodges http://www.luckythreeranch.com/mulefacts.html
More facts about mules and donkeys
A mule is a hybrid animal, which is created by the mating of a jack (male donkey) with a mare (female horse). A female mule, known as hinny, is formed as the result of the breeding between a jennet (female donkey) and a stallion (male horse). Hinny is much rarer in comparison to a mule, owing to the fact that it is difficult to produce hinny. Though the breeding process is different, mule and hinny look similar in appearance. Since the prehistoric times, mule is being used as a ‘pack and draft’ animal. It is also used for riding, farming and transportation of agricultural products. The animal finds great use in United States. It was George Washington who first bred mule in United States and now, it is mainly found in the southeastern states. We bring you some more interesting facts and amazing information on mules, in the below lines. Facts About Mule Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Perissodactyla Family: Equidae Genus: Equus Species: E. caballus + E. asinus Weight: 363 - 454 kg Lifespan: 30 to 50 years Diet: Herbivorous Interesting & Amazing Information On Mules
- Mule shares many of the characteristics of its parents. It has a short thick head, short mane, thin limbs and small hooves, like that of a donkey. It resembles horse in terms of height, neck, croup, teeth and body shape.
- Mule is similar to both donkey and horse, not only in terms of appearance, but also in nature and behavior. It is highly patient, sober and tolerant like a donkey and courageous, vigorous and strong like a horse.
- The coat of a mule is almost similar to that of a horse. It comes in a variety of colors, like black, grey, sorrel and bay. The less common colors are white, palomino, buckskin, roans and dun.
- The mules produced from Appaloosa mares are known to be have their coat in wild colors.
- A mule looks more or less like a donkey. However, it does not sound like either of its parents. Its cry is mixture of a horse’s and donkey’s sound, as in the sound is similar to that of a donkey, while the whining characteristics of those of a horse.
- A mule’s size and its capacity to do work depend on its breeding. It can be light, medium or heavy weight, depending on the mare used for breeding.
- All mules and most of the hinnies are infertile in nature. However, several hinnies are seen reproducing offspring, when mated with a purebred horse or donkey.
- A mule has hard skin, which is not much sensitive to sun and rain. It has hard hooves and can carry large weights on its back. It is naturally resistant to diseases and insects. Hence, it is more preferred to horses.
- The animal can strike with any of its hooves and that too in any direction, including sideways.
- In comparison to its parents, mule is more intelligent. It is highly curious in nature and generally does not allow the rider to lead it into any dangerous path.
- Mule tends to eat less than a horse of the same size.
- Generally, a mule can carry “dead weight” up to 20% of its body weight, which consist of non-living things. When it comes to ‘live weight”, like a rider, it can carry up to 30% of its body weight.