Written by Maria Wachter, Contributor HorseNation.com

Mules: 50% horse, 50% donkey, 150% themselves

Mules are a lot like horses: after all their momma (or daddy, if you have a hinny) was one. They also are a lot different from horses. They are all unique and have their own personalities but there are a few things that most mules tend to possess that make them much different than their horse brethren.

  1. They tend to be insanely jealous. Yes, horses can be attention and affection hogs, but mules will actually get so jealous that they’ll pout if you ignore them or attack their herd mates hours later in fits of rage if you give more attention to someone else.
  2. They are very loyal. Once they bond to you, they act more like a dog than an equine. They holler when they see you, come running for affection and can be turned out loose on the property without wandering off. They’ll even sometimes help you out doing tasks and try to charm you and make you laugh with their personalities. If they’re trying to get your attention they’ll go to all measures: braying annoyingly, banging on fences or grabbing the chain on the gate and making a lot of noise with it.
  3. Their brays are all super distinctive. I can sit in my house and know exactly which one of them is talking. Some sound like Foghorns, some sound like giggling school girls, and some sound like they’re getting murdered in a dark alley.
  4. They LOVE to roll. Before they eat, after they eat, before they ride, after they ride and anytime in between. They actually are addicted to rolling. They also can get up front first or @$$ (ha, get it?) first. A horse gets up front-end first, a cow gets up back-end first. A mule can do either.
  5. Most of them LOVE their ears rubbed. I’m not talking about a gentle ear tip massage, I’m talking about sticking your fingers into their ears and practically scratching their brains. My mules run up to me and put their head down every day to get their daily ear scratchings.
  6. They can be wimps compared to horses. Yes, horses can be nervous and spooky, but they tend to live in the moment. Mules can brood over things for days at a time. Something scared them last year? They will be thinking about it scaring them next year. For example, one of my mules had an elk jump out on him from behind a bush, so now every time he’s near the same spot he looks behind every bush waiting for an elk to jump out at him again.

They really won’t do anything unless you convince them it’s safe to do. A horse you can practically ride over a cliff. A mule won’t do that until they trust you and know it won’t hurt them.

Photography Courtesy; Susan Wachter

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