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Mules? Tell Me Everything.


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#1 momtoone

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:53 AM

Hi,

 

I'm new here and just looking for some information. I'll be honest I have never been on a horse or mule but have been near them. We moved to a place where we have some acreage and I have thought over and over about getting a mule. I have read some on them and just really interest me more than a horse. From my understanding mules do a little more thinking than just reacting to situations, while horses normally just react and can be dangerous. I know there is a lot more to this story, but this is the gist of what I got from reading about these two animals.

 

I'm a complete novice and wondering has anyone else started from a complete novice like me or did you have some prior experience through others before getting your first horse/mule?

I have no 'job' that we need a mule to do, this would just be a well loved pet that would be ridden a few times per week and would be well loved and taken care of. However, I want to do tremendous research before I even consider getting one. I know a novice with any large animal can be dangerous and want to have a good understanding of their care, training and anything else I need to know to properly take care of and raise a mule. I don't plan to purchase one for a year or so, but this will give me plenty of time to research, think this over and get a place ready to keep one. I thought what better place to start my search than getting information from people who have owned or just have experience with them. Please fill me in on everything you think that would be helpful, any good websites, books? I would love to know about  usual monthly/yearly costs, best diet, and activities and things to provide for a mule to be content.

 

I appreciate all the help in advance.

:)


Edited by momtoone, 15 October 2013 - 08:53 AM.


#2 nick

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 10:17 AM

there are a couple of very knowledgeable people here who will give you valuable information, but as a horse person who has had 40 years of experience being around and having horses and who looked into mules three years ago i decided against it.   as one very seasoned mule person told me, "you have to get it right the first time".  horses are a lot more forgiving (or have shorter memories).


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#3 Greenhaven

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:56 PM

I was going to say something similar; if you are a complete equine novice I recommend NOT getting a mule as your first equine companion.  I would, rather, suggest you spend some time at a sanctuary or therapy center that has both horses and mules and gain experience under the tutelage of experienced handlers.

 

Sure, mules are different, but that does not make them less dangerous or complicated.

 

Best wishes!  From time to time I consider a mule for my next riding partner, but, like nick said, feel like I would be way out of my league even with all my years of horse experience.  :smileywavey:


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#4 nick

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:08 AM

^^what she said, and i would suggest you read the various threads running on these boards right now, especially those regarding the handsome "Super".


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#5 luvallbreeds

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 04:07 PM

I knew all my Super posts would come in handy some day  :winking: Just keep in mind Super is a young John mule and full of character. Not every mule is a Super, I would really suggest you find the nearest mule show and attend it. Ask questions have them tell you tales about their mules. Mules are much more reactive then horses until they learn they have no reason to be. Mules just have a stronger sense of self preservation. A nice old mule could be right up your alley if they take a liking to you. Regardless if you just want to ride around your only personal pasture a few days a week, take riding lessons ..if even just a few.  Check out lovelongears.com for more information.


Edited by luvallbreeds, 16 October 2013 - 04:08 PM.

"If you can not be a good example...you will have to be a horrible warning."

#6 equinitis

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:41 PM

What she said^! I would not hesitate to recommned a mule for a first time owner but I would qualify that by suggesting that you buy from a reputable person that will offer continued support. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of conflicitng information too! lovelongears.com mulesandmore.com luckythreeranch.com Are all good sources of information. Don't buy a young mule, get one that has been there, done that and has been well socialized. They can be very bonded to a handler and that can be difficut to deal with when you are the "new guy", especially if you are not experienced. They live longer than the average horse, so a teenager is just starting to get some sense and will be useful for many years to come. Most mule enthusiasts are more than willing to share their knowledge, experience and mules. Almost too willing in some cases, we can be .....um........er....... "expansive" when talking about our mules!






Ride, ride, ride!!!

#7 equinitis

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:25 AM

I am or I guess was a complete Novice when i got my first horse. But, i had taken riding lessons and hung around and helped out with the horses. I took lessons at a friend of the families place, and now i board my horse there! so i would suggest boarding your horse or Mule somewhere atleast until you learn the ropes of taking care of a horse/mule, i find it to be more convenient to board some where as it gives you more freedom and there is usually always someone around who can help you.

So the same person who taught me to ride and basically everything i know is also my "trainer" any problem i have or question she is there to help me and show me and also give me a kick in the butt to get over fears or letting a horse get away with things. I find horses to be easier than mules, also you can not breed a mule. which i'm sure you probably do not plan to do but it's just wierd. also they can have alot of donkey-ish traits, just from the ones i have ridden and been around i would rather have a horse any day, a horse is also way more forgiving.

 When or if you do get a horse or mule i recomened doing a join up right away and just establishing trust respect and making it clear who the leader is.

They are tough animals so don't be afraid to get tough with them.

For a Novice older is better, wether getting a mule or a horse any where from 10 to 20, i would say. MAKE SURE THEY ARE DEADBROKE. Not spooky no bad habits.

 

Those donkey-ish traits are what endear mules to mule lovers! Mules don't "join up", jsut so you know. Your mule has to learn to trust you before it will let you be the leader!

 

Mules are not for everyone just as and AQHA or an Arabian are not for everyone.








Ride, ride, ride!!!

#8 Curmudgeon

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 08:51 PM

 I finally got my first real mule experience this year. (Previously I had borrowed mules for trail rides and had handled them at the sale barn I work at) I got to put a couple months of riding on a very green and "high strung" young mule. I absolutely loved that critter!

You have to motivate a mule. They will do what they *want* to do, not what you push them into doing. When a mule trusts you, they are quite reliable. They are very full of personality. It took a couple of weeks of just getting to know each other, but once she knew me she was meeting me at the gate every time she saw me outside. 

 Now, there were some challenges with her that were different than most horses. She was wary of anything done with her for the first time, while most horses seem to come to expect new things while in training and get to be fairly easy to "coax" into different things. The mule has to analyze every situation. Once they figure out everything is OK, it is almost like you installed a new button. They get "programmed" easily. That can be good and bad. If you let them get away with things, that will always come back to haunt you. 

 

 I don't recommend that anyone without experience run out and buy an equine of any sort. Take riding lessons for a year or so, read everything you can get your hands on, and save your money and buy a quality, well broke animal when you are ready. I don't see why you wouldn't get along with a very well broke, teenage mule with a good brain, as long as you got some experience first.


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