Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › Percheron Mules
- January 25, 2008 at 11:44 pm #39416PlowboyParticipant
From what I have read and learned from mule people, the Percheron mule is highly prized and commands high prices to those who work them. I also learned that the reason there is so many sorrel mules is that there is a lot of Belgian mares readily available to raise mule colts. The Percheron folks are more likely to raise purebreds because of the show demand which most of them don’t realize is a saturated market and they would bring more money if bred as work stock except for a few exceptional individuals. Much of the quality of a mule also depends on a quality Jack with good build,legs,pasterns and some bulk to produce big working mules. Legend says that at the height of the Missouri mules their mothers were Percherons. In the fifties when the tractor took over the primary draft purebred was Percheron because Belgians were just starting to get popular when Ford, John Deere and Farmall came into play. I’m not ready to haul my mares off to a jack but often wonder if they were raised and trained with their mothers if they would be quite as suspicious? What does everyone else think about this?January 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm #45432CIWParticipant
Mules in general have, throughout history, been prized for many of their attributes.
Like anything else, there will be preference and fad in the form of body style, color and breed. I’m sure some others as well.
Like breeds like.
The last I knew, color didn’t have anything much to do with an animals workability and work ethic.
I have, and have had many different mules, draft horses, and jackstock over the years. I am cautious about showing singular allegence to any one breed. The proof is in the pudding. If a certain mare and jack combination produces good mules than by all means continue.
I had 2 span of mules all out of the same mating cross. They were really good diligent animals to work with. A pleasure to be around. When the fifth one came along I sold it. Now I had 4 animals that I thought were the salt of the earth. This man, for what ever reason, just couldn’t get along with this mule, so I swapped her back for one of his sisters. After a few weeks she settled in and it was as though there was no change.
What works for one may not work for another. It doesn’t make one wrong or better than the other.
I think that you may be limiting yourself if you are looking to build a preference to any one breed. I have found sucess in looking for certain attributes vs. a special breed for my needs.
I guess if you are breeding for the registered market you would be required to add certain breed characteristics into the mix.
When ever you are breeding a hybridized animal there are alot more things to consider.
As a young boy, the most coveted feed team in the county was made with a Percheron X mare and a Belgian mule. That kind of stuck in my head.
This is a pretty big subject. I’m sure that others will have more to contribute.January 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm #45429J-LParticipant
When looking at any animal, attitude is where I start. Color is way down the line. Especially with mules. The saying pretty is as pretty does really applies.
Having said that, I think those perch mules are beautiful. The prettiest team of mules I have ever seen were a big pair of dapple gray mules, but I don’t know how good they really were.
The best team of horses I ever worked were Percherons. The best mules were Belgian. Who knows.January 26, 2008 at 10:16 pm #45428PlowboyParticipant
It seems according to the sale reports that the PA Amish are paying more for good blacks and greys than for sorrel mules. I feel with my experiences that Percheron horses are quicker on their feet, have better feet, and are more responsive than their Belgian counterparts. When putting together a big field hitch if we put Percherons in front things stay tight. There are many good Belgians around so don’t think I’m down grading them. I thought this would make good conversation seeing the Mule sector was lacking posts and maybe some of us could learn something.January 27, 2008 at 11:30 pm #45430J-LParticipant
I agree with you on the horses. My old team of blacks were real nice. Not much stumbling in rough going and when you had somewhere to go they had a very fast walk and could hold it for quite a ways. My last team of belgians were kind of stumble bums. Going over the frozen cow turds tripped them up on the feed ground a lot.
The belgian mules however are a lot more nimble than the horses were. That hybrid vigor seems to have given them more bottom as well. They seem smart enough.
I’ve got to say this about mules in general, their feet are darn good. I used to continually fight lameness in my draft horses. In this country they go from wet conditions to very dry for months and cracks just hit those horses hard. My mules get a trim now and then, mostly just to remind them that I can pick up their feet. This country is quite rocky and keeps their feet worn down pretty good.
The other thing about the mules is that they are feed efficient. Granted they are only half-draft and smaller than the full draft horses but they don’t take a whole bunch of feed in comparison, especially when working.January 29, 2008 at 11:42 am #45433Donn HewesKeymaster
Hello to all the mule People,
We must remember that we are different, and try to be patient with everone who has not yet learned about mules. Just kidding, but seriously I think Carl said it earlier and others as well, the different breeds and species are more about preference than anything else. Having said that I think those considering getting animals for the first time would do well to consider what size of animal they really want. By comparing the number of days you expect the animal to work to the number of days you will have to feed it, you may find advantages in smaller draft horses, mules, or draft ponies. Of course it depends on the work you want to do. On a farm you can almost always find a hitch that will do the same work with smaller animals, maybe just more of them. In logging (I am not a full-time logger) you might need the larger horses to make production.
Having said all that, I do like my mules, and I have three percheron mules. I would post some pictures but I haven’t figured out how yet. I do think mules think a little differently than horses, and for a person that likes mules that is just an added challenge. About fifteen years ago my first team was mules and they were runaways and I had a terrible wreck with them. I did not belong anywhere near them as I did not know what I was doing. They were beautiful animals and even though I did eventually get help and drive them, they went on to happy lives as pack animals. Ever since then I have believed that the best way to get a good mule was to have it born on the place. I think that many of the benefits I am talking about would apply to horses as well, but it may be even more important with the mule. I have had two experiences in the last few years that have confirmed this belief so far.
First, George was born here in April, 04. His mother was a percheron mare close to a ton, and George is a good sized fellow. Most of George’s training came from daily handling as we lead horses and mules to pasture, (I often lead six at a time), and ponying alongside his mother as she raked, spread manure, and pulled a wagon. Last summer George was working open faced on a rake, and a tedder, and this year he will graduate to mowing and baling. George got EPM a little over a year ago. He made a great recovery from a very severe case, but is still effected. It took the most graceful animal you could imagine and gave him a slight hitch in his giddyup. EPM is a whole other story but the bottom line is he has been a treat to work with ever day I have had him.
Lucy and Ethel on the other hand, are a pair of 12 y/o percheron mules I bought after George’s mother died. They are big, 1500 or 1600 pounds, and beautiful, but they have been a handful. I like them and have worked hard to make them succesfull on my farm, but there have been a few times when I was ready to let them go. I think any animal (horse or mule) that is 12 y/o has alot of history that you don’t really know about. Mules are a little more wary of letting go of their previous experiences in favor of the good news you have brought.
Well, I could go on and on, but must go to the other job, DonnJanuary 29, 2008 at 5:01 pm #45431AnonymousInactive
When I was just a little kid my Great-Uncle Boyce Hinton had a team of grey mules.One was iron grey and the other was dapple grey.Ever since then I wanted a pair of grey mules.They are very hard to find and very expensive when you do here in TN.Having said that,I log with Belgians that I am very pleased with and plan to cross a Belgian mare with a black jack.Hopefully I will end up raising some very stout bay mules which I think are very pretty also.If they work as well as their mother I’m sure there will be no regrets.
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