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Categories: Horse Illustrated

15 Fun Facts About Mules

 



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!

Samantha Johnson

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. She loves Corgis and shares her home with her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Peaches.

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