fun facts about these lovely, long-eared equines—read on to test your knowledge
and learn something new!
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.
come in all sizes from miniature to draft. Because of this, mules are
versatile and excel in many areas.
mules are the product of horse mares crossed with mammoth jack donkeys.
have long been popular as pack animals and they were of historical
importance during the era of Western Expansion.
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.
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).
Washington appreciated the qualities of mules and is said to have been the
first American breeder of mules.
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.
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.
Ruby, a champion racing mule, won over 50 races before her retirement in
the Talking Mule was the star of a 1950s comedy film series. Francis was
voiced by actor and singer Chill Wills.
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.
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.
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.
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