Help Support CattleToday:


Aug 28, 2004
Reaction score
So what's the deal? I don't know much about them so did some looking on the internet. Mule owners claim they're better than horses, so why aren't there more around? I'm not sure that I've been closer than 50 yards to a mule and I sure don't know anyone who has one. Anyway, my buddy is a know-it-all horseman and hates mules although he admits he doesn't know much about them. It would almost be worth spending the money to have something that could outperform his horses (which would be hard to do) and see him eat crow. Is this possible or should I just stick to buying from my buddy?
But if you're looking for animals to put in a pack string, mules are tough as nails and extremely surefooted.

Just don't drag the halter or bridle over their ears, or they'll tag you with a hind foot...while you're standing in front of them!

Take care.
I read a fascinating book once about old Army calvery. They mostly used mules to get around. The scouts rode horses. Said " if you wanted to get there fast-ride a horse, if you want to get there alive-ride a mule." Hollywood depicts calvery horses cause they are more glamourous than mules. Mules are sure footed, less spooky than a horse. They have a bad rap for being stubborn. In training you can usually make a horse do something, but you have to let the mule think it's his idea to want to do it. Also, when a horse kicks, it's just that. When a mule kicks, it will take aim and hit the mark. Mules are thinkers ... you have to be smart enough to out think them. I've never ridden one myself, but I know folks who have them. They tell me they will never go back to a horse.
How mules got their bad reputation is back in the old days, people bred their good horses to stud horses, to raise good colts, and bred thier mean, stubborn, mustang type horses to donkeys to get a mule to work in the fields, Any time you breed a stubborn or mean horse to a stubborn jack-- your bound to get a stubborn mule. We have two mammoth jacks( (15.3 hand sorrel and 16 hand black jack) we stand at stud to mares only, We breed around 60 mares a year between the two jacks. We've bred some high dollar walking horses, people wanting to get gaited mules. A good gaited mule colt around here and in tennesse start at 2,500. we've bred appaloosa mares, people wanting loud colored spotted mule. lots of good bred registerd quarter horses. not to mention the draft breeds. A good riding mule will bring as much money if not more than a good riding horse. Around here in Alabama, Tennesse,GA and Ms. We may just be behind in the times.( the mammoth jacks are more laid back, with a better dispotion than the standard jack.)
a friend of mine breeds them and shows them. they are tough and stubborn but when you have their heart they will go the distance for you. also you cant beat them for coon or coyote hunting with a pack of dogs at night.
Thanks for the replies. I've heard, too, that they have incredible stamina; one of the feedyards use mules for riding pens and then the hands use the same mules to go coon hunting at night and then do it again the next day. Anyway, are they really smoother riding than a horse? (Guess that wouldn't be hard to do considering what I've had in the past.) Something about muscle structure I believe. Then you'd need different tack, right? Not happy about that. They must be about the same working cows or is there a difference? Mule owners do seem loyal though I've noticed. Thanks for your time.
My dad had a mule and he said she had the smoothest trot. He would take her on trailrides. He said he bought her because after his last back surgery riding his horse was too painful. To bouncy. The only problem with this mule was her jumping. If she could stick her nose over it she could jump it. No running start, she just hopped over it. If you wanted her at all during the day, you had to lock her in a "stud" stall( the kind with bars) otherwise after eating in the morning, she would hop the fence and be gone all day, come home for dinner and off she went again till breakfast. We also had to keep a padlock or bullsnap on the hay shed because she could turn the door knob. We caught her 'breaking' into the house one night. She had climbed the porch steps and was trying to open the front door.
I think a lot of the attempted home burgularies in the area were her.
What I've been told is, the mules do not have the shoulders/withers like the horses do. The saddle will slide over the neck going downhill. However, a cupper, which goes around the tail attaching to the saddle works fine IF the mule is well trained to it. Also britchings that wrap around the rump attaching to the saddle works. Britchings are the rear part of a pack saddle.
Well we don't have a mule at this time but we have a hinny (even more uncommon). He is the smartest, toughest animal I've ever seen his pasture buddy is a 16.5 hand high Friesian cross and they are best friends. I love him to death and wouldn't minf getting a mule we've tried using our spotted jack to breed our mares but he has no interest does anybody know how we could make him more interested? I've tried seperating him from his jennies and just putting a mare in heat w/ him but nothing happens.
Ellie May
I take care of a man's mules for him and they are great animals. One is gaited and the other is a quarter mule. They are really good looking animals that look like big tanks. We haven't put them to the test but I'm sure their stamina would be great. Both are gentle and I have had no problems with them. But they can't be trained the same as horses sometimes. I have seen people try to hit them with the lead rope like they do their horses and it doesn't work. You have to treat the animal with respect and they will respect you. Both are very smooth when riding. They won't jump a fence but can jump over 5 feet with no running start. They both act like big dogs, especially the smaller female. For trail riding I don't really think they can be beat. But I don't know about working cattle with them. I have never tried, but I don't think they would be as good as a horse.

Anything a horse can do a mule can do better! A mule is more like a dog than a horse. A donkey that has been raised with donkeys often won't breed a horse and vice-versa.
Most local folks who own mules do love them. One fellow who raises mules was on a cattle drive with us a few years ago. He was riding his favorite mule and started bragging about how he could put that mule into a pasture and leave him all winter and come spring that mule would be fat and ready to ride. My husband overheard the conversation and chimed in, "Yeah, that's because that mule you had pastured next to our place all winter would jump the fence every afternoon when we'd put hay out for our horses and jump back into the pasture when he was full of hay." It was the truth, too. That was the end of that day's bragging for the owner of the mule. :lol:

Latest posts