Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › buying my first riding mule-advice?
- This topic has 5 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 10 months ago by Anonymous.
- March 2, 2011 at 4:28 am #42506AnonymousInactive
I am buying my first mule who I intend to use as a backcountry riding animal, possibly a pack mule. He has done both of these things. I have a lot of horse training experience and I am hoping to work on this mule’s holes–he is leery of the bit and sticks his head up when you use it, and he’s a little barn sour as far as I can tell. I’ll be changing his bit to something that fits and has moving parts and sweet iron or copper. I figure I’ll work with him how I know to but I’d like any advice on these topics or in general in terms of approaching him with different training techniques. How is working little kinks out of a mule different than with horses?
Thanks for any help! I want to be well informed so I don’t make mistakes. I am gentle but assertive in my handling.March 3, 2011 at 3:49 am #66131HeeHawHavenParticipant
Never abuse your mule. It’ll never forget. Take your time, let it think, always end training on a good note. If its barn sour and runs back hoe, spur, whip, circle at the bar then ride it farther. Away and then relax when it’s away from the barn. Make the barn the not happy place. The mule forum is a pretty good place to share and. Learn too.
DaveMarch 3, 2011 at 4:51 am #66130J-LParticipant
I agree with Dave. Your mule has to mind you but you need to not cross the line and make him scared of you. Timing is everything on discipline, but you have to have it.
As far as the bit goes, just keep working him in it. I do exercises on my saddle horses and mules where I pressure and release. When they give to the bit, let the pressure off. They can learn it like a horse, just takes a while longer on some of them. I don’t like to let them brace up and take the bit away from me and like I’ve said before, having soft hands means being as hard as you have to be to get results and not more.
With a mule that’s a little barn sour I like to do lots of half halts and one rein stops and things like that on the way back to the corral. You can turn all that energy into some good training and kill two birds with one stone. It’s the same thing I do with horses.March 3, 2011 at 8:00 am #66132AnonymousInactive
Thanks for the suggestions and the link…it all seems logical to me.April 27, 2012 at 9:47 am #66134AnonymousInactive
Look up Meredith Hodges at Lucky 3 Ranch. She’s one of the world’s leading experts in mule-training and has trained several for competitive dressage.April 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm #66133Lanny CollinsParticipant
The information everyone else has given is good. It seems mules don’t care much for their mouth but do try and take care of their nose. With this information I don’t use a severe bit but take a small rope and thread it thru the bit shank and over the nose. My reins are attached to the rope ends. This gives me an extra pressure point right across the nose. I think this would help bring your mules nose down and if the bit is not severe it will not resist taking the bit. I have had good luck with this arrangement on 2 different mules.
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