Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › best for a beginner
- June 12, 2009 at 1:03 am #40583
I do not have a draft animal yet but I am looking into when for when I live in the country. I have heard that mules can be great if you know what you are doing so would you recommend using a first until I am more experienced teamster?June 12, 2009 at 1:53 am #52548Donn HewesKeymaster
Hi Thousand Hills, Just my opinion, but the best thing for a beginner is a broke team. Doesn’t matter if they are mules or horses if they are truly trained as advertised. The reason I say this is because you will learn much more quickly and safely with their help. Considering your general knowledge and skill with horses, and other teamsters near by that are willing to help will assist you in determining what other options for less trained animals are open to you.June 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm #52553
not sure what my option are here in Missouri? I have just heard great things about mules but an Amish guy warned me that they are to hard. I was just wondering what those that work with mules thought. I could probably get oxen and their are draft horses around here. I think mostly the mules round here are used for trail riding. any way thoughts and comments welcome.June 16, 2009 at 4:08 am #52552HeeHawHavenParticipant
You are in mule country! You should be able to find draft mules in Missouri. I think it would be best for you to look up draft horse/mule clubs and find some folks who drive. Then, learn what you can from them. They will also know of available animals. I am new also. We’ve had mules for 6 years. You can start with mules. Just make sure you have the right personality for them. They don’t forget anything – good or bad and need patience from their owners. We also have a fjord gelding horse and he is the one teaching us about driving.
DaveJune 16, 2009 at 5:53 am #52549near horseParticipant
Thousand hills – once again Donn has hit it pretty straight on. There seem to be good suitable teams of every color, size and species as well as some “not so good” ones. The biggest issue is finding a team that fits where you’re at. Eventually, you can always move to a more challenging pair if you desire but if you start off over your head, it can be over before it starts.
Good luck and keep at it.June 16, 2009 at 9:56 am #52554
Thats cool I just did not want to get into something or try do something impossible.June 22, 2009 at 1:54 pm #52550bivolParticipant
have you tried to read some books on mules?
for example Harvey Riley’s “mule”, from 19th century? it deals mostly with contemporary issues, but you can learn some things too.
for mules, IMO you should start with a team that’s older than 10 years and broke. that’s because mules settle after 10 years, they mature mentally. i’ve seen broke pairs of mules of that age for round 3000 dollars on net, mule ranch, i think Missouri.
think they are your best gamble. you need to learn how mules think, interact with them, get to know them. humans learn a great deal when just being around animals, without even noticing it. maybe you should spend some time around mules before buying your first.
and, treat your mules like you’d treat a dog more than you’d treat a horse. means more close and personal, give an occasional treat, but stay firm!
oh, and DON’T loose you head! if you’re prone to anger quick, avoid mules. better safe than sorry!;)
if you want to get a young mule and start training it, you should do it under supervision of someone experienced. books can learn you a great deal, but only live experience can show you how to avoid mistakes.
advice: AVOID pet mules! they usually don’t fear humans, and therefore don’t respect them. they are harder to brake than wild mules!June 25, 2009 at 12:37 am #52555
great advice bivol.June 26, 2009 at 8:28 pm #52551bivolParticipant
no problem! i’m learning a lot too on this forum, too!
this is what forums are, i think, supposed to be all about, sharing knowledge about common interests.
one thing that experienced muleskinners may know, but it was sure new to me, was the concept that mules don’t kick out of revenge. (that’s a relief!:))
mules are supposedly notorious for their long memory, and that they’ll get back to you after a long time. found the text on a mule trainer’s website, i think it was mr. Cameron’s. anyway, the idea that surprised me was that a mule doesn’t know the concept of revenge. it simply feels threatened by you, or any other human, if it experienced abuse before, and it’s as a consequence, distrusts humans. so, sooner or later a teamster is going to be in a situation when the mule feels threatened, and can defend itselt. it will then kick.
the idea is, that while it may look as an act of planned retaliation , it is simply a defense mechanism on the behalf of a really sensitive and smart animal who has, yes, a long memory for both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and acts towards them.November 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm #52556RobernsonParticipant
So how did this go?
~~RNovember 26, 2009 at 12:48 am #52547J-LParticipant
I have mules and horses. I like them both and think both have good points. Having said that, my opinion is that a good, honest, experienced team of draft horses is what I’d recommend. I know it’s hard to find such a team, and it may be expensive, but it’s worth it if you can find them.
Mules do not have revenge on their minds. That’s a load of B.S. that someone made up. If anything they can be very forgiving. I do think taking into account their quirks is something you need to have experience to deal with. If you ever figure them out you’ll get along fine with them. I happen to like them very much. Some guys don’t. Most everyone can get along with a gentle old team of Belgians/Percherons/Shires or whatever.
In my experience a mule can figure out a little kid or an inexperienced person in fairly short order and take advantage of them. When they know they can’t get anything by you, then they’re great.
That’s my two bits.December 12, 2009 at 3:30 am #52557LostFarmerParticipant
Mules and ponies are quick to learn there is a rookie on the lines and will almost always take advantage of the situation. I would go for a broke team or nearly worn out draft horses. The calm nature and age helps a bunch. They won’t be cheap but then a hospital stay ain’t exactly free. LF
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