Mules noted for the nimbleness of foot and having long memories seem ideal for the sport. In 2014 a mule named Heart B Dana made it to the Used dressage finals in Kentucky.
Mules have made a lot of progress in dressage in the short time they have been allowed to compete. Some are very good, and more are expected to push horses for spots at the top of the ranks.
Mules have their own unique jumping competition called “coon jumping.” In coon jumping competitions mules walk up to a bar and leap over it from a standstill position without a rider. Mules rock back and forth and without taking a step they jump the fence.
Owners often bragged about the heights their mule could jump, next thing we know competitions started. For trail riding in rugged terrain, a mule is more surefooted than a horse.
This combination allows a mule to maintain stability even on level ground. A mule will scope out the safest trails when descending mountains and slopes.
Horses are quicker to react to a rider’s command and have a smoother gait. Mules have long memories, and if they refuse you on a trail, often you don’t have many options.
A couple of final things about riding mules, don’t spook easily and can endure heat better than horses. Often if they experience an adverse event, they remember it and will take action to prevent it from happening again.
If a mule feels overheated, or think it is overworked, or overused, they take some time to recover either by slowing the pace or stopping altogether. Horses can be taught very quickly but may not take the initiative to learn things on their own, as a mule will.
Mules can be harder to train, but it is not a lack of intelligence but a different way of learning and teaching. Mules also act as a guard, and they are quick to protect themselves and others by biting and kicking something, or someone it feels is threatening.
A mule kicks hard, and from a variety of angles, you won’t see from a horse. Throughout history, mules have been used to transport goods in areas not accessible by other means.
A mule can safely carry thirty percent of his body weight, compared to a horse that should not carry over twenty percent of its body weight. There have been reported cases of female mules becoming pregnant by donkeys, but this is an infrequent occurrence.
Typically, mules inherit small feet, big ears, coarse hair, and thin limbs from the donkey sire. Mules have longer heads than horses, similar to its sire in this regard.
A donkey has a large head proportionately compared to its small body. Mules have smaller feet relative to the same sized horse.
A standard mule hoof will have low heels, big frogs, and short toe. A mule takes the characteristics of its dam in height, neck length, and hindquarters typically.
Also, a mule has higher withers and carries more of its weight on its front end. From the sire donkey, the mule gets thinner limbs and smaller hooves.
Horses have shiny, smooth coats with heavy manes and tails, and mules have thinner coarser coats like a donkey and a minimum amount of mane hair. Mules follow a similar color spectrum as the horse, but most, are brown or bay-colored.
Another easy difference to spot is that, in the summer, a mule’s coat tends to more closely resemble a horse’s, rather than the longer, coarse hairs of a donkey. However, in winter, mules tend to develop coats that more closely resemble a donkey.
Having good skin is a significant benefit to people working animals in direct sunlight for extended periods. However, it is essential to consider that a mule costs less to keep, lives longer, and is less likely to have to visit a veterinarian than a horse.
Mules rarely need grain to stay healthy, and they can maintain a proper body weight eating good fresh hay or grass. The only times a mule may need grain to supplement their diet is if they are being worked unusually hard.
Even during periods a mule is worked the amount of grain he requires is significantly less than what is need to maintain a similarly sized horse. Leg problems in mules don’t occur as often as they are in horses.
Overall, mules are sounder animals than horses and require fewer vet visits. A mule is the offspring of a jack (male donkey) mated with a mare (female horse).
In the case of a mule it the offspring of a jack (male donkey) mated with a mare (female horse). Mules were good enough for the first president of our great country, George Washington.
Mules tend to be healthier, easier to keep, have more endurance, and can tolerate heat better than its dam, the horse. Mules can also carry more weight than a horse while needing less grain.
Horses are faster and quicker than mules and can jump better with a rider than a mule. Both horses and mules have had an enormous influence on human cultures.
We thought we would give these two breeds of the equines a little attention and understand how do they differ from one another and what type of experience do they offer you. They are the hybrids and are formed from the breeding between a female horse (known as mare) and a male donkey (known as Jack).
Under ideal conditions, the mules are completely infertile and cannot reproduce. They were the result of years of evolution from a doglike origin to larger species.
Both of them have their own characteristics and based on those; they suit different perspectives. If you are opting for a rugged trail riding, the mules would be a great choice.
The smaller and upright feet that they come with makes them surefooted for such a terrain. The narrow body and slender legs make them the right ones to opt for in a trail riding.
Once they come across any bad situation, they will remember it for longer and will take care to prevent it from happening in the future. That would, however, would also make them quite adamant. If they refuse to do something that you order them to, it is extremely hard to coax them from doing it.
While they would not need a lot of coaxing as in the case of mules, if the rider is inexperienced, they take a few cues as orders (such as shifting of weight or moving a leg) and can prove to be risky enough. A mule is an expensive option when you compare it to the compatible horse.
They are capable of carrying a lot of weight to a considerable distance. Calculated by the percentage of the body weight of a mule, it will be able to carry around 30 percent of its body weight.
Horses, on the other hand, can be taught quickly, and they will follow your orders diligently. Well, mules are hybrids, and that would make it one of the exciting options when you look at adaptability and reliability.
It has always been observed that hybrids have excellent characteristics when you compare them with their parents. They would be the best ones from the perspective of health, ease of keeping them, and can tolerate weather conditions better than the horses and donkeys.
Horse, on the other hand, are known to jump better with the rider, can run faster, and can be better for warfare. Smart, agile and more sure-footed than any horse, a good riding mule has been the choice of hunters, lawmen, circuit riders and bandits.
People who breed animals seldom think of the act as a fun thing. Mules are bred because they are larger than donkeys and so as pack animals are able to cope with rougher terrain.
Mules are renowned for their health, strength and longevity. Horses are larger and faster than donkeys, but they are very delicate animals and have to be taken great care of in terms of diet, housing, grooming etc.
They were the animal of choice for long distance travel in pre-motor days. Donkeys have great endurance and are much less finicky about their diet and living conditions.
Their smaller hooves are better at picking the way in rough terrain. But they are comparatively small and slow moving, and hard to train to pull a vehicle.
Riding a donkey is possible for a short distance, even for an adult, but a long journey on donkey-back is not really feasible. Mules have inherited the best qualities of both, being larger and faster -moving than donkeys but less picky about food and stabling than horses, and cheaper to keep.
They will pull a cart or carry packs across their backs, and can be ridden. In the medieval period churchmen were supposed only to ride mules rather than horses as a sign of humility, and special riding mules were bred and trained for senior churchmen.
Mules have more stamina and endurance than a horse (hybrid vigor). A mule’s feet are very hard and tough, and they usually do not require shoes in most conditions.
But wait… how gallant would Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger have looked perched atop mules ? Despite the title of this article, do not feel pressured to make a decision between horses and mules, as there are pros and cons to each.
A mule has a larger head than a horse, like a donkey, and its unmistakable ears can measure 33 inches from base to tip. With careful, intelligent minds, mules are better at picking their way over difficult terrain and narrow trails than your average horse.
Because of the toughness of their feet and legs, mules suffer fewer soundness problems, a big plus with trail riders. This should not be surprising considering that they are the performance athletes of the horse world in many disciplines, and years of breeding for desired qualities has left the durability of the foot somewhat lacking.
I will suggest that a cross between an average or small sized male donkey and a finer boned, leaner mare will often produce a lean mule that may never put on the weight that most horse owners are comfortable with. By comparison, a mammoth jack (male) donkey and a draft mare will often produce a solid bodied and large boned mule that will be a great trail animal.
Along with greater intelligence, the mule comes with a longer memory and a capacity to be strong-minded, even what you might call stubborn. Bystanders may interpret their disposition as being even worse upon hearing your expletives when your mule refuses to do something.
If your treatment of the mule is harsh during these difficult moments, it will likely save the memory of the injustice and unleash its retribution at a later time. A few years later he was shoeing that same mule, turned his back, and was viciously kicked into the feed bin.
However, payback stories are few and far between, so I am not yet buying into the notion of a vindictive nature which stores hateful memories to be later unleashed upon the perpetrator. My friend Bob Silverstone, of Alberta’s High Country Guides School, a long time mule owner, commented that a trainer needs about 15 years with horses before attempting to train a mule.
The idea has merit as there can be a mountain of difference between the calm forgiving nature of horses like our Fjord crosses, and a sensitive mule with a long memory. A short distance from her house was a large corral and barn where her mule, Horace, had free run of the area.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, Horace came busting out of the barn bucking and rousting about in a great panic. Unfortunately, the house could not be saved, but she was convinced that the point of Horace’s behavior was to relay the impending danger.
When the season is over and you are at home sitting in your comfy chair, the best pack horse, dude horse, or mule you can have is one that does not bring to mind any negative events related to it. Many landowners also like having a mule or a donkey around because of their extreme dislike for predators, such as fox, coyote, cougar, or bear.
Well, their popularity as trail mounts has been increasing for years and continues to grow, but they still have a hill to climb. The surefootedness of the mule is put to the test on the trails of the Grand Canyon, a vast chasm of hoodoos and pillars, muted, distant, with the haze of heat, red and brown hues beyond, and far below the muddy twine of the Colorado River and the faint green patch of the Ghost Ranch.
You need the experience of walking down the trails of the Grand Canyon to truly appreciate the incredible reliability of the mule. We began raising and training our own line of Morgan, Fjord, draft cross horses years ago and are content with the decision, but I can say with conviction that we would have no qualms about breeding mules.
Notwithstanding, there is something about the nobility of the horse and the heroic acts I have witnessed over the years when stuck in remote and difficult places where no man or beast should be, in situations the wilderness sometimes throws at us. There is something about that heart, spirit, drive, bravado, and willing mind of a horse that pushes through, over, and beyond to another campfire and another day.
Main article photo: A mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. Mules have inherited the best qualities of both, being larger and faster -moving than donkeys but less picky about food and stabling than horses, and cheaper to keep.
On average, they live longer than horses ; a mule working into its thirties is not uncommon. Both are very strong, but the mule has greater physical strength for its size, and more endurance.
The price is usually determined by how often the mule has won competitions, how often it appears in shows, how old it is, and how trained it is. Mules should be seen as smart instead of stubborn, according to Kristin Heyday, a research assistant at the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK.
The donkeys and horses were about equal in their ability to figure out the question, though both were slower than mules. Horses are larger and faster than donkeys, but they are very delicate animals and have to be taken great care of in terms of diet, housing, grooming etc.
Breeding between a female horse, or mare, and a male donkey, or jack, will produce a mule. When a female donkey, also known as a jenny or jennet, and a stallion or male horse are bred, the result is a Ginny.
Mules, much like their donkey sires, tend to require less food than a horse. Often more intelligent than their parents, mules tend to enjoy social interaction.
They tend to be gentle, docile creatures, making them great family pets as well as working animals. It begins with a calculation that King made if America would stand by its promise of 40 acres and a mule, which is $20 a week since the late 1700s for 4 million slaves.
We love those magnificent big ears and long goofy face. 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.
Are shod, but most pleasure animals, or mules that work on softer ground, never see a shoe. Their feet are strong, tough, flexible, and usually not as brittle and Shelly as those of a horse.
Mules last longer, are more “maintenance free,” and are less expensive at the vet's office than horses are. 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.
We have never heard of a messenger running a mule to death the way legends say they ran their horses ! A mule will most often when frightened spin in place to face the threat to fight first and run second.
This gives the mule time to see what it was that scared it and usually realize it's not a threat. On the physical side, the mule has a narrower body than a horse of the same height and weight.
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).
The trail rides that go down into the Grand Canyon only use mules to carry people down the very narrow rocky paths that are usually long deadly drops to the bottom. Picture in your mind, a narrow trail winding down the wall of the Grand Canyon, a string of riders on mules.
The mule cannot see his feet, but he anticipates where each foot has to go as he moves forward. The bad side to this is a mule can kick with all four hooves more accurately than a horse with its best two.
Offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare) Mule Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalian Order: Perissodactyla Family: Equine Tribe: Equine Genus: Equus Species: Synonyms The size of a mule and work to which it is put depend largely on the breeding of the mule's female parent (dam).
Mules can be lightweight, medium weight or when produced from draft horse mares, of moderately heavy weight. :85–87 Mules are reputed to be more patient, hardy and long-lived than horses and are described as less obstinate and more intelligent than donkeys.
The mule is valued because, while it has the size and ground-covering ability of its dam, it is stronger than a horse of similar size and inherits the endurance and disposition of the donkey sire, tending to require less food than a horse of similar size. Mules also tend to be more independent than most domesticated equines other than its parental species, the donkey.
The median weight range for a mule is between about 370 and 460 kg (820 and 1,000 lb). While a few mules can carry live weight up to 160 kg (353 lb), the superiority of the mule becomes apparent in their additional endurance.
Although it depends on the individual animal, it has been reported that mules trained by the Army of Pakistan can carry up to 72 kilograms (159 lb) and walk 26 kilometers (16.2 mi) without resting. A female mule that has estrus cycles and thus, in theory, could carry a fetus, is called a “molly” or “Molly mule”, though the term is sometimes used to refer to female mules in general.
Pregnancy is rare, but can occasionally occur naturally as well as through embryo transfer. With its short thick head, long ears, thin limbs, small narrow hooves, and a short mane, the mule shares characteristics of a donkey.
In height and body, shape of neck and rump, uniformity of coat, and teeth, it appears horse-like. Charles Darwin wrote: “The mule always appears to me a most surprising animal.
That a hybrid should possess more reason, memory, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endurance, and length of life, than either of its parents, seems to indicate that art has here outdone nature.” The mule inherits from its sire the traits of intelligence, sure-footedness, toughness, endurance, disposition, and natural cautiousness.
From its dam it inherits speed, conformation, and agility. :5–6,8 Mules are reputed to exhibit a higher cognitive intelligence than their parent species.
That said, there is a lack of robust scientific evidence to back up these claims. There is preliminary data from at least two evidence based studies, but they rely on a limited set of specialized cognitive tests and a few subjects.
Mules are generally taller at the shoulder than donkeys and have better endurance than horses, although a lower top speed. Handlers of working animals generally find mules preferable to horses : mules show more patience under the pressure of heavy weights, and their skin is harder and less sensitive than that of horses, rendering them more capable of resisting sun and rain.
Their hooves are harder than horses ', and they show a natural resistance to disease and insects. Many North American farmers with clay soil found mules superior as plow animals.
Instead, a mule makes a sound that is similar to a donkey's but also has the whinnying characteristics of a horse (often starts with a whinny, ends in a heehaw). Mules come in a variety of colors and sizes; these mules had a draft horse mare for a mother Mules come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, from minis under 200 lb (91 kg) to over 1,000 lb (454 kg), and in many colors.
Mules from Appaloosa mares produce wildly colored mules, much like their Appaloosa horse relatives, but with even wilder skewed colors. Mares homozygous for the LP gene bred to any color donkey will produce a spotted mule.
Mules historically were used by armies to transport supplies, occasionally as mobile firing platforms for smaller cannons, and to pull heavier field guns with wheels over mountainous trails such as in Afghanistan during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mules and whinnies have 63 chromosomes, a mixture of the horse's 64 and the donkey's 62.
The different structure and number usually prevents the chromosomes from pairing up properly and creating successful embryos, rendering most mules infertile. A few mare mules have produced offspring when mated with a purebred horse or donkey.
In China in 2001, a mare mule produced a filly. In Morocco in early 2002 and Colorado in 2007, mare mules produced colts.
Blood and hair samples from the Colorado birth verified that the mother was indeed a mule and the foal was indeed her offspring. A 1939 article in the Journal of Heredity describes two offspring of a fertile mare mule named “Old BEC”, which was owned at the time by Texas A&M University in the late 1920s.
The other, sired by a five-gaited Saddle bred stallion, exhibited no characteristics of any donkey. That horse, a stallion, was bred to several mares, which gave birth to live foals that showed no characteristics of the donkey.
The mule is “the most common and oldest known man made hybrid.” Homer noted their arrival in Asia Minor in the Iliad in 800 BCE.
Mules are mentioned in the Bible (Samuel 2:18:9, Kings 1:18:5, Zachariah 14:15, Psalms 32:9). Christopher Columbus brought mules to the new world.
In the second half of the 20th century, widespread usage of mules declined in industrialized countries. The use of mules for farming and transportation of agricultural products largely gave way to steam then gasoline powered tractors and trucks.
Mules are still used extensively to transport cargo in rugged roadless regions, such as the large wilderness areas of California's Sierra Nevada mountains or the Paste Wilderness of northern Washington state. Commercial pack mules are used recreationally, such as to supply mountaineering base camps, and also to supply trail building and maintenance crews, and backcountry footbridge building crews.
As of July 2014, there are at least sixteen commercial mule pack stations in business in the Sierra Nevada. The Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club has a Mule Pack Section that organizes hiking trips with supplies carried by mules.
Approximately 3.5 million donkeys and mules are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide. Mule trains have been part of working portions of transportation links as recently as 2005 by the World Food Program.
Because of the mule's ability to carry at least as much as a horse, their trait of being sure-footed along with their tolerance of poorer coarser foods and abilities to tolerate arid terrains, mule trains were common caravan organized means of animal powered bulk transport back into pre-classical times. In many climate and circumstantial instances, an equivalent string of pack horses would have to carry more fodder and sacks of high energy grains such as oats, so could carry less cargo.
In modern times, strings of sure-footed mules have been used to carry riders in dangerous but scenic back country terrain such as excursions into canyons. Pack trains were instrumental in opening up the American West as the sure-footed animals could carry up to 250 pounds (110 kg), survive on rough forage, did not require feed, and could operate in the arid higher elevations of the Rockies, serving as the main cargo means to the west from Missouri during the heyday of the North American fur trade.
Their use antedated the move west into the Rockies as colonial Americans sent out the first fur trappers and explorers past the Appalachians who were then followed west by high-risk-taking settlers by the 1750s (such as Daniel Boone) who led an increasing flood of emigrants that began pushing west over into southern New York, and through the gaps of the Allegheny into the Ohio Country (the lands of western Province of Virginia and the Province of Pennsylvania), into Tennessee and Kentucky before and especially after the American Revolution. In the nineteenth century, twenty-mule teams, for instance, were teams of eighteen mules and two horses attached to large wagons that ferried borax out of Death Valley from 1883 to 1889.
The wagons were among the largest ever pulled by draft animals, designed to carry 10 short tons (9 metric tons) of borax ore at a time. SS Mexican unloading US Army mules in Naples, Italy in Sept. of 1944.
In 2003, researchers at University of Idaho and Utah State University produced the first mule clone as part of Project Idaho. The research team included Gordon Woods, professor of animal and veterinary science at the University of Idaho; Kenneth L. White, Utah State University professor of animal science; and Dirk Vanderbilt, University of Idaho assistant professor of animal and veterinary science.
The baby mule, Idaho Gem, was born May 4. Veterinary examinations of the foal and its surrogate mother showed them to be in good health soon after birth.
The foal's DNA comes from a fetal cell culture first established in 1998 at the University of Idaho. ^ Rough forage means mules, donkeys, and other asses, like many wild ungulates such as various deer species, can tolerate eating small shrubs, lichens and some branch-laden tree foliage and obtaining nutrition from such.
In contrast, the digestive system of horses and to a lesser extent cattle are more dependent upon grasses, and evolved in climates where grasslands involved stands of grains and their high energy seed heads. Horses and Horsemanship: Animal Agriculture Series (Sixth ed.).
The Mule Men: A History of Stock Packing in the Sierra Nevada. The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General.
What Mr. Darwin Saw in His Voyage Round the World in the Ship 'Beagle'. ^ Troops, Leanne; Faith Burden; Britt Isthmus (2008-07-18).
“Mule cognition: a case of hybrid vigor?”. ^ Caption of Mule Battery WDL11495.png Library of Congress ^ Savory, Theodore H (1970).
^ a b Mules, mankind share a common history in modern world”. The Mule Men: A History of Stock Packing in the Sierra Nevada.
^ “Mule Pack Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club”. ^ Bearded, Milt (2003) The Main Enemy, The Inside story of the CIA's Final showdown with the KGB.
Arnold, Watson C. “The Mule: The Worker that 'Can Get No Respect',” Southwestern Historical Quarterly (2008) 112#1 pp. “Colorado miracle mule foal lived short life, but was well-loved”.
“It's a Mule: UI produces first equine clone”. Long, R.; Chandler, A. C.; Song, J.; Macbeth, S.; Tan, P. P.; Bad, Q.; Speed, R. M. (1988).
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