Mules, Mules, And More Mules

Mules. A most unique and captivating equine. Are mules really sure-footed, stubborn, opinionated, “bombproof,” or more “dog-like” in bonding to their human? Are mules different from horses?

After a trip down and back up the side of the Grand Canyon on a mule, Rose Miller becomes enthralled with these splendid creatures and has a burning desire to own a mule of her own. Thus begins a fascinating love affair with those long-eared equine hybrids. After owning, showing, breeding and training horses for nearly 40 years, Rose is ready for something quiet, steady and unflappable. Because of her bad back, a smooth-gaited mule that would allow her to sit back and enjoy the ride was desired, but not all was smooth going. Continue along for the trip as she uses her engaging around-the-campfire-story-telling style to introduce her mules: Mirabella, Samson, Maybellene, Ruth Ann, Susie, and Lucinda. You will laugh out loud as she learns the hard way, mules and horses are different, and are not perfect.

After a few nasty falls from her not so unflappable mules, Rose wonders if at her “older age” she should finally hang it up and stop riding.  After much soul-searching, she recognizes she had, in fact, been very lucky in all her incidents and that just as with her horses, she needs to be a part of the conditioning and training process. Just because she now had mules, did not mean she should become complacent. Each mule teaches Rose something different, but in the end she realizes that mules have become a new addiction.

Mirabella, her first mule, was only 2, just started under saddle and had a lot to learn herself and to teach her new owner. Because the little mule trotted (she was supposed to be gaited), she eventually found her “forever home” with a young lady who taught her to jump competitively. Big Samson was 16.3h tall with an ego to match. At first it was love at first sight, but as time went on, Rose realized Samson wasn’t the best mule for her. Maybellene had been an “outfitter mule” whose job was to pack supplies probably on long trips. She was gaited and had a beautiful Arabian head, but turned out to have a good deal too much energy. Relaxing to ride, she was not. She found her new home with an endurance rider. Susie Q was one of those animals you can search your whole life for: sweet, intelligent, well trained, dependable and beautiful, she quickly got the nickname: Little Miss Perfect. Ruth Ann was a show mule, who had been owned by the same family for all but 13 months of 13 years. She had bonded strongly to her owner. How would she bond to Rose? That was a big question and although she finally did, it took over a year and lots of loving care. She also was arthritic, and how bad, time would sadly tell. Lucinda, purchased because she was “bombproof,” was underweight and dull-minded when she first arrived. After more food and less saddle time, she quickly transformed into a spooky unpredictable mule…

Anyone who loves animals for their uniqueness, those who own mules, and those who are thinking about getting one, will surely enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

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