15 Fun Facts About Mules

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    mule

     

    We’ve gathered up 15
    fun facts about these lovely, long-eared equines—read on to test your knowledge
    and learn something new!

    • A
      mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, and typically possesses
      a mix of horse and donkey characteristics (long ears , for example).
    • A hinny is
      the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. Mules and hinnies are
      nearly always sterile and cannot reproduce; therefore every mule or hinny is a
      hybrid horse/donkey cross.
    • Mules
      come in all sizes from miniature to draft. Because of this, mules are
      versatile and excel in many areas.
    • Draft
      mules are the product of horse mares crossed with mammoth jack donkeys.
    • Mules
      have long been popular as pack animals and they were of historical
      importance during the era of Western Expansion.
    • Although
      the phrase “stubborn as a mule” suggests otherwise, research has proven
      that mules are actually quite intelligent. The “stubborn” stereotype is likely
      inaccurate in many cases.
    • Mules
      are found in a variety of colors and patterns (including Appaloosa patterns),
      and sometimes exhibit characteristics of donkey coloring, such as lighter-colored
      muzzles (this trait is known as pangaré).
    • George
      Washington appreciated the qualities of mules and is said to have been the
      first American breeder of mules.
    • The
      first successfully cloned equine was a mule named Idaho Gem, born in May
      2003. The cloning project was a collaborative effort between the University of
      Idaho and Utah State University.
    • The
      American Mule Racing Association exists “to promote the racing of mules at
      recognized distances in the sport of racing.” Mules are noted for their
      strength and stamina, characteristics that help them excel in the sport of
      racing, especially at short distances.
    • Black
      Ruby, a champion racing mule, won over 50 races before her retirement in
      2008.
    • Francis
      the Talking Mule was the star of a 1950s comedy film series. Francis was
      voiced by actor and singer Chill Wills.
    • The
      American Mule Museum is an organization dedicated to telling “the story of
      the contributions of the unsung hero, the mule.” Fundraising is currently
      underway to build a museum in Bishop, Calif.
    • Mule
      Days, an annual event to promote “the legacy, heritage and talents of the
      mule” is held each Memorial Day weekend in Bishop, Calif. A full slate of
      classes include western pleasure, cowboy dressage, hunter hack, costume class,
      and everything in between.
    • Mules
      hold a special place in our hearts.

    Is there a
    mule in your barn? Share your stories in the comments!

    About the Author: Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer
    and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh
    Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge.
    Follow her on Twitter:
    @miraclewelsh

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