Scientific name: Equus caballus x Equus asinus
A mule is a cross between a male horse or pony (Equus caballus) and a female domestic donkey (Equus asinus). The cross of a female donkey and male horse is more correctly known as a "hinny". Because horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes, all male mules and most female mules are infertile.
Mules have been used as beasts of burden for at least 3,000 years and are still used today in many parts of the world because of their ability to work under harsh conditions which are too severe for other draft and pack animals. Mules are able to carry more dead weight than a comparable-sized horse, and are said to possess the patience, endurance and sure-footedness of the donkey, and the vigor, strength and courage of the horse.
Appearance / health:
Mules come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colors, depending largely on the breeding of the mule's dam.
Mules have hybrid vigor, and rarely become ill or lame. They are able to withstand extremes of temperature, can live on frugal rations and have tremendous stamina and resilience.
Behavior / temperament:
Mules are intelligent and quick to learn, though they mature more slowly than horses. They tend to be sensitive and somewhat untrusting at first, which might be the cause of their legendary stubbornness. It is said that you cannot force a mule to do anything, but instead, you must persuade him, or organize his work so he is only asked to do those things he wants to do.
steep terrain, great trail mule, good calm ride, solid working animal, excellent pack animals
good patience, stubbornness
long memory, Long eared equine, humour mules, self preservation
Why Ride a Whole Horse When Half a Horse Will Do?
Without writing a book, it's safe to say I am a fan of the mule. Mules get a bad wrap and it's very true that all mule lovers are horse lovers but not all horse lovers are mule lovers. We bought our first mule after reading a great book called, "The Natural Superiority of the Mule". A friend of a friend had a 21 year old mule with loads of experience that she was looking to sell and said she would make us a good deal. When we went to look at him, with visions of a beautiful horse body and face with long ears, we were surprised to see a very short and stocky donkey bodied animal with a huge bucket head and giant ears. He was not a beautiful mule, but she priced him low and he loaded up easily so we took him home. He turned out to be a great addition to the family. Anyone could ride him and when visitors came, he was the mount for all types. We rode him in parades every year with costumes and he won several awards for various parade events. We took him to play days and he was not even close to fast, but was a great sport. He liked to announce his presence with a long half neigh, half bray that could deafen those in a 30 foot radius. We loved him and had many great memories with him. However, mules are not for anybody. They have some tendencies that can make them potentially difficult to work with and dangerous. Mules bond up tight with their herds, or a single mare in particular. They are always the low man in a herd, but they are very attached. They do not like being left behind and it has been many a mule that has broken leads, fences, corrals, boards, hot wires and trailer ties to catch up to the herd when left behind. Mules are smart. While a horse can be beaten into submission and forced into danger and mule will not. If a mule doesn't want to go somewhere, it won't go and there is pretty much no muscling a mule into anything. They are stronger of body and of mind than their horse cousins. Mules must be treated with respect. Mules don't forgive and forget like their horse cousins and a mistreated mule can be very dangerous. Fencing can be challenging and hot wire is almost always a must. Like the old goat adage- if a fence will hold water, it will hold a goat... that goes for mules too. They can knock down, squeeze through or jump many types of fences. They can be one of the most rewarding animals to own and partner with, but they are not for everyone..
From goatherdgirl Nov 16 2014 10:48PM
Mule Days are Great
Gus came from a horse trader who was sending him to auction. I knew little about him other than he was an in your pocket kind of guy. Gus adapted quickly to his new horse and other family members. He was clipped, bathed, trimmed, and ridden without issue. Stubborn as a mule described him, but he was never mean, just stopped and stood until he was sure about what was happening. In fact, after just a few months he was placed in a new home working with a disabled child. Gus was the first mule I have owned, though I have worked with others, and he was a true pleasure. I have never met a more laid back animal. I would recommend trying a mule for anyone who wanted to ride, but needed an easy keeper. .
From dawningtomoro Oct 16 2016 9:06AM