Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Mules › Starting saddle Mules in Harness
- February 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm #42427AnonymousInactive
I’ve been looking for a smaller draft ponie team for lite farm around my homestead for over a year. Ever since I retired my single draft mare do to her age. I’ve been shoping with no luck but turned up with a great brother and sister pair of 900lb mules. These things are automatic under saddle and were also used as pack animals for ther whole life (14 years) in Colorado. My 5 and 7 year old sons are catching and riding them with no help and have trail ridden them all summer and winter with no problems to report. But spring is coming and the farm work must get done. Any Thoughts on starting them in harness. Or advise on doing so. They are real calm and have agreat mouth and respond well to the riders comands. its a nice problem to have and I am looking forward to getting started but have no help in my area and realy only have you guys for support. So all comments are welcome.February 11, 2011 at 2:43 am #65579MacParticipant
Russ, go put your harness on them, (one at a time first, then together) hook them to a tractor tire, take a good hold on ye lines and let ’em go. If they’re as gentle as you say they are, they oughtn’t to do much. I’d put em in a round pen the first time or two. All it takes is just working with them. It took me a while to get my boys worked out. When I started the young one, he ran clean away with my sled, out of the lot and down the road. When he got half way up the hill from home, I whistled and he turned around and trotted back. It was an experience. But ever what you do, be careful. Mules and horses can kill ye quick if you don’t watch’em. Good luck and stay safe.
MacFebruary 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm #65577Donn HewesKeymaster
There are many schools of thought represented here on the answer to your question. I wish I knew how to search the site for all the threads that offer suggestions. You could read “starting them the old school way” I believe it is in the training draft animals area. you need to make a basic choice between the hook and go method, and taking all the steps apart and introducing each piece separately method. There are an infinite number of variations on these basic methods that introduce different elements in different ways. I lean toward braking the process up into a few steps. I also think these animals are very smart and if they think you aren’t sure what the purpose of it all is, they will resist quickly. That speaks to the need to work toward putting them in harness and going and doing something. What will be there first piece of work you ask them to do when they are ready? Do you have all the equipment you need? Just some thoughts – feel free to ask more specific questions. I think 14 years can be harder than other. younger animals. Your ability to read them and understand how they are reacting to what is going on will be critical to your success I would guess. Good luck. All that an no real answer, Sorry. DonnFebruary 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm #65578AnonymousInactive
I read the site avidly and there are lots of good advice out there. It so hard to get started with out help. Thanks Guys and I’ll keep u up dated on how its going.
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