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Mules

Mule jenny in a pasture. Mule jenny in a different color. Mule in a dry lot pen.
Female mule called a "jenny". "July" the mule. Sorrel color mule in pasture.

A mule is a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. The mule offspring are commonly sterile. A female mule is called a "jenny" and a male mule is called a "jack". A mule's size, strength and courage depends on the dam or mother. They come in many colors, sizes and shapes. If the mother was a quarter horse it would she would be smaller than a a belgian. The mule will take on characteristics of the sire or father such as: patience, endurance and sure-footedness.

Mule team; dapple gray in color, pulling a wagon. Left: Dapple gray mule team pulling a wagon.

Below: Mules come in all sizes and colors.

Mules have come a long way from the "old days". Then, they were used primarily for plowing and pulling wagon loads of cargo. Now, mules are used in pleasure riding, roping, ranch rodeos, showing, dressage and jumping. They can be a smart and fun alternative to a horse and a good addition to your backyard ranch. Mules come in different sizes and colors.
Mule saddled at a ranch rodeo. Mule ridden on a trail ride.
Mule jenny standing saddled. Mule jenny on a trail ride.

Mules vs. Horses

There are many differences between horses and mules. Mules can pack up to 20% of their body weight in dead weight, whereas horses can only carry up to 30% of their body weight in live weight. They tend to require less food than a ranch horse of their size. They do not have chestnuts. Also, a mule has less sensitive skin than a horse in regards to pests, sun and rain.

Mules are intelligent and curious, they have hard hooves and natural resistance to disease and insects. Unlike ranch horses, ranch mules will not let their riders put them in danger. For more mule pictures, see our mule pictures and posters page.

Mule Tack Differences

There may be some differences in tack from horses to mules. Sometimes you can use the same saddle for a mule that you can on a horse. It depends on the size and shape of the mule and how the saddle sits on its' back. The cinch may need to be moved around the belly or a breast collar maybe necessary. Commonly a crupper is used. A crupper attaches to the back of the saddles and goes around a mules tail to keep the saddle from sliding forward.


 

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