Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mules

The Mule is a cross between a donkey stallion (called a jack) and a horse mare. Hinnies are just the opposite - a stallion horse crossed to a donkey jennet.
Mules are considered hybrids, a cross between two species. They are sterile, the females cannot bear young (a few extremely rare cases have been documented) and the males cannot sire offspring. They exhibit 'hybrid vigor', are tough and are long-lived.
I never had much interest in mules until I started riding in the mountains and developed an interest in packing as a means of traveling in the mountains. I took a few Pack Classes as a member of the Back Country Horsemen Assoc. and was intrigued by the mules.
On my first Pack trip to Colorado with Jerry, I packed in with a little black old-timer of a mule. He was quite the character, intelligent, and fun. Then Jerry and I took a trip to 'Mule Days' a weekend of fun filled mule competitions.
Mules come in all sizes and many colors. Yes they can do anything a horse can do.... except reproduce. Personally I think they are best suited to packing, I just love packing with mules.



I watched mules run barrels. Not too bad if you don't compare them to a horse. They just don't have the grace and speed of a quarter horse. And if one decided it wasn't a day he wanted to run, well, he just didn't run.




Mules are awesome jumpers! They can jump over 4 foot high fences from a stand still, easily! But when it comes to a hunt course, they just don't have the flowing beauty of a nice thoroughbred. (I mean that with all due respect Dear Jane!)


And I know this is a prejudice on my part, but it just doesn't look right for a tall, lanky, ruggedly handsome cowboy to be sorting cattle on a mule! And no mule I've watched seems to be too thrilled with working cattle.





Now this is more like it. Mules are BAD ASS PACKERS. They are super sure footed on mountain trails. They have a strong sense of self preservation and seem to 'think' things over. Not as much of the flight response that horses exhibit when they perceive a danger.


These mules sure seemed to be having fun. It was a Pack Scramble Race. They were a hoot! I can't believe I just wrote 'hoot', but it seems to be an appropriate mule description.


And then finally I got to take a week trip to Durango. Riding and packing mules. This little fella is very cool and in his mid 30s! That is when I decided that I should have a mule one day.


Jerry and the two cutie mules he packed up to the cabin in Durango. They carried all of our supplies; bedrolls, food, drink, clothes, and assorted supplies for the cabin. Nice of them.



This handsome fella is 'Pistol' a three year old. He is new to trails and Jerry has been riding him a lot this summer. We don't own him but I would like to. I have gotten very attached to this sweetheart. He comes running to me from pasture when I call him, he has a real soft unique heehahaw, and he loves to jump in our trail and go on adventures! Soon he will learn to pack.




I never imagined that I could become so attached to a mule! I just need to convince his real owner to give him up!

Tomorrow A Pack Lesson.


3 comments:

Jenn said...

Mules are cool! There is a mule farm a bit down the road from us on Equine Lane. I pass another farm every day on my way to work that has been developing a big Belgian cross mule. They are neat looking...and HUGE!

I've seen people do dressage on them and you know, while they are neat, they just aren't elegant at all.

If I ever needed a pack animal, a mule it would be, that's for sure.

lov mom said...

I do enjoy reading all your bloggs. Learn alot from them. You still are a great writer, make things real interesting.

Kathy said...

Jenn the belgian mules are wonderful draft animals!
Thank you for the nice compliments Mom.