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  • latest reply 1 year ago

1 year ago

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Been working with a pair of 3 year olds. First mules I have ever been around. We caught them out of the brush last February and have progressed to driving in the surrounding small towns. I'm pretty sure I have learned more than the mules. They sure think different than a horse.

K.C. Fox says 2017-12-04 22:07:50 (CST)

Just remember there not full grown up yet and not to use them to hard. There trust is earned, your right there different from horses In a bunch of ways. Only 1/2 of the mules ever get along with me.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-12-05 07:25:10 (CST)

I have a horse drawn manure spreader I hope to hook them to.Going hook them 1 at a time with one of my broke draft horses this spring. They should be old enough to spread a few loads if it's not muddy.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-12-05 13:15:56 (CST)

K.C., I have never had a mule, so my question to you is, if they are not getting along with you, whose fault is it ?:)

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-12-05 15:26:31 (CST)

If those two have been together as a team all the time, you are going to have trouble working one of them with that other horse.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-12-05 18:39:49 (CST)

I understand what Vince is saying. Right now they are in separate pens. I’m hoping to break them to ride as well so hope they are not too buddied up.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Scott S says 2017-12-05 19:21:10 (CST)

I grew up with horses and started working with mules 5-6 years ago. They are different than a horse with a lot of similarities, I really like working with my mules. We ride and drive our mules. We where moving cattle with mules last year and some cows got into some standing wheat, with horses we just always rode in and drove the cattle out. The mules got into the wheat and couldn't see their feet, we couldn't get them to go. They would follow us if we lead them, then after a while they would ride some in the wheat but they wouldn't go to fast just carefully. I read where the cavalry tried using mules some, if the mule thought it looked to dangerous it may not charge when needed. Lots of fun any way.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-12-05 23:21:13 (CST)

You have a good point there Klaus. Some mules don't get along with certain people but do with others with no good reason. If a person could figure that out , they could make a lot of money.

Sometime it is their past treatment, as I am a firm believer that mule behavior is human caused, both good and bad. Mules and dogs have this trait that they will immediately like or dislike a person as soon as they meet them and we have all encountered dogs like that.

In almost 50 years of messing with the critters, I don't have good handle on that yet , but the worse ones were mistreated by other and they don't forget. Then you can also get into the situation that the mule likes women and not men and the next will like men and not women.

My best mules have always been the ones I raised myself an no one else was able to screw their minds up. I did have to send one I raised and had 12 years to work on a pack string. She lost her team mate and wasn't right after that. Never buy one that they claim it lost it's team mate. Usually isn't worth the problems.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-12-06 09:00:18 (CST)

Vincent, that all is very convincing, and yes, we all have had dogs who latched on to one person, but not to another. Kind of like people, who find each other sympathetic or not on first sight.
We have had similar discussions here before, I am asking myself how did people in the past treat mules. Did they apply the same understanding of mule psychology or were mules bruthishly forced to do what was demanded? There are stories of people starting fires underneath mules, for example.
On the other hand, in about 55 years of having horses I only had one that ,in the time I had available, I couldn't train to be safe and I had to sell him to a stable where they had more time . But that was over 40 years ago. Nowadays, thankfully, one hears trainers more and more talking about "asking" the horse to do something instead of "breaking" him to do it. Horses, and I suppose it is even more so with mules, become much more dependable if they get treated gently, yet firmly, and can understand what they are supposed to do, in any case, when they learn and experience that, what we want them do do, isn't scary to them and won't hurt.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-12-06 09:05:13 (CST)

I really don't have an answer for your question, because I don't know. Why one day they wont want anyone to pick up and trim there feet the next day I can pick up all 4 feet and trim them just halter them drop the halter rope on the ground and pick up and trim all 4 feet without a problem. The day before he pawed at and kicked at the furrier that had always trimmed his feet and that mule was the nice one of the 4 Belgium mules that I had. I don't know or have an answer for your question.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-12-07 11:24:38 (CST)

Two older documents that shed some light on past treatment of mules are:

D.C 1867.

This guy ( Harvey Riley)was in charge of all the equines in government use in the1860's + . Several 100,000 head . A good read for sure

FM-25-7, a 1944 War Department manual on Packing and Transportation.

Both stress kind treatment of the mule, but I am sure the mule has suffered some pretty hard abuse down thru the years

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-12-08 07:18:22 (CST)

I have enjoyed what has been said about mules in here. I have only personally been around five mules, all for a short period of time. Two of them were the sweetest animals you could find, two of them you never totally trusted and the fifth would of been called a class clown. Couple of thing I heard about mules growing up was 1) the dams personality determines the mules personality. This is where mules get some of their bad reputation, guys used their best mares to raise horse foals and their not so good mare to raise mules. 2) you could never have young animals in the same pasture with loose mules or the would kill them. 3) this come from the mule men that I know if you do have to punish them never do it from the ground, it needs to be done when you are on the or when hooked to something. Truth to these statements, in regards to the last one I would think you would have times that you would need to punish a you mule while your on the ground, example when you a working one he try’s to bite you. Back to the original post you do have to good looking mules in my opinion good luck on them.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-12-08 09:31:51 (CST)

A couple of things. A CDROSE mentioned about breeding. Many years ago, well bred mares were used in breeding mules, but particularly draft types. A stated any old mare that wasn't fit to breed quality horse foals were used to breed mules. That is the major factor in mules having a bad rep. You never knew what you would end up with. Some time in the late 70's early 80's the idea started to take hold that quality mares and quality jacks produced quality mules. A little more of this was noticeable in California, and the movement spread.
Today you see great progress in that..

The other thing is you don't punish a mule, you correct it. You do it immediately and then go on about your business. Too many owners lose their temper and go too far. The mule needs leadership and if the owner does not provide it, the mule will. The wrong type of correction and you will either get a defiant mule or one that is broken in will and a slave. The right amount and correct type of correction will find you with a willing partner

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-12-08 17:02:11 (CST)

" The right amount and correct type of correction...", I certainly agree with that, Vincent, yet I find that is where nowadays a lot of people will need help and unfortunately there are too few people available to show what that actually entails in practice. It, by the way, also applies to horses, dogs (and even children). Some of us were either fortunate to grow up in times and/or to be surrounded by people who could provide that practical help. There are good videos and books available nowadays in regards to training these animals. In any case, nobody should rely on trial and error only, there will be enough of that even when one successfully solicits the help from experienced people, good books and pertinent videos.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dan in Illinois says 2017-12-08 19:52:45 (CST)

Don't know about all mules but this pair can have a come apart over something and I just try to guide them through it with getting shook myself and they seem to settle right down like nothing happened. The horses I've been around get shook there nervous about everything for a while. Maybe others have different experiences?

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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