Random horse fact: the reason that we mount from the left side originates from the military. Soldiers wore their swords on their left hip and therefore had to mount with the opposite side in order to avoid the blade getting in the way.
God I’m gonna sound like a whiny, spoilt brat, but I miss my riding lessons years SO MUCH! I mean I know I should be thankful that I currently have four horses that I can take care of + all my horses in Scotland that I get to ride & see whenever I go there. I literally pay NOTHING for any of this, but I just can’t help feeling like my talent is going to waste… I used to be so fucking good at Dressage. My trainer was always convinced that I could go very far with the right horse, I just never had one. God I just miss riding horses that challenge me and that can at least do a halfway decent Passage. I mean I can barely remember the last time I rode a horse that could do a flying change… I just miss Dressage so much. I’m tired of riding horses that have only had a very basic education and have limited potential. And that sounds so horrible, but riding hasn’t challenged me in the last six years and it’s frustrating me to no end. I want to move forward in this sport, not backwards.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love all my horses dearly and they keep me sane during uni life, but I would give so much to ride a horse that’s actually happy to work and wants to learn and do Dressage, instead of having to fight for any little success with horses that have only been ridden by children or are used to just go hacking.
I remember being in high school when the subject of mules was brought up, and I was shocked by my classmates’ shock that donkeys and mules were not the same thing. My school was relatively rural, but no one knew that mules were a hybrid creation of horses and donkeys. So let me say it here:
Mules are hybrid animals.
They are not a breed or an animal you would typically find in the wild. Mules are the result of crossing a female horse with a male donkey. The offspring of a female donkey and a male horse is called a hinny, but they are relatively rare.
Maybe female donkeys are too smart for stallions. It wouldn’t shock me. But the vast majority of donkey/horse hybrids are the result of a male donkey and a female horse, aka a mule.
There are three typical kinds of donkeys in the US: the mini donkey, the standard donkey, and the Mammoth Jack. There is also a rare breed of donkey in France called the Poitou donkey. They are comparable in size to the Mammoth Jack, but they are recognizable because of their “dreadlocks”. They kinda resemble Puli dogs.
For size comparison, this is a mini donk.
A standard, which is most common across the world.
and a Mammoth (next to a mini)
A female donkey is called a Jenny. A male donkey is called a Jack. And <insert jack ass joke here>. Most donkeys come in the typical “dun” coloring, be it brown or gray over their body with white shading on their legs and under their belly/head. However, some donks are spotted.
Mules come in a variety of shapes and sizes, usually dependent upon their mother’s coloring and size. Draft mares are used to get draft mules. Mini mares and mini donkeys are used to get mini mules. There are all kinds of colors of mules, and there are gaited mules as well. Here are a variety of mule types possible.
A “Mawari” mule (its dam would be a Mawari horse, known for their pointy ears)
Why a Mule? Donkeys are much more intelligent than horses, which is why they have a reputation of being stubborn. They’re far less likely to be spooky, and they tend to look at things before they freak out and bolt in the opposite directions. They are much more curious and many claim they’re friendlier and calmer than horses. However, donkeys aren’t the greatest animals to ride, and they tend to be small, so people who want the calm nature of the donkey along with the physical agility of a horse might want a mule. Mules and donkeys excel at climbing, being sure-footed with smaller, harder hooves that can more easily cross rough terrain. This is why mules are used at the Grand Canyon, as opposed to horses.
How to tell the difference between a donkey and a mule?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell, especially if the mule takes after her dad and looks a lot like a donkey. But mules tend to more closely resemble horses. Donkeys have huge heads, short necks, and tiny butts, where as mules tend to have more substantial butts, longer necks, and smaller heads. They also are less hairy.
There’s no sure way to tell, but all mules are sterile. There have been very rare instances of female mules having babies, but it’s safe to assume mules cannot produce offspring. The johns (male mules) still need to be gelded, as uncut mules still act like stallions, even if they’re shooting blanks. Female mules are called mollies.
You’ll find that many trail-riding mules cost more than their equine counterparts. People who do a lot of trail riding or farm work go crazy for mules. They can be exceptional in what they do. Donkeys and mules also make much better guard animals than horses, as they are less scared of predators. A donkey will “sound the alarm” when they see a wolf/coyote, which sounds like this:
Donkeys also make this noise to each other, or if they’re excited.
Here is a mule beating the shit out of a snake.
Zonkeys are a thing, which is a cross between a donkey and a zebra. I’m not sure the advantages this would have outside of having a cool animal to brag about. But they’re cute!
1. There’s always one or two horses in the barn who know when the vet is there. Maybe they remember the sound of the truck, or they can smell something different about our outfit. They just… somehow… KNOW….
2. That one horse in the barn that’s not being seen, but has to come over and touch all the vet’s stuff, and nose in your pocket, and wants to walk through the not-hot fence to get a closer look at what all the fuss is about…
3. That horse that’s like, perfect and stands perfect, and doesn’t really see what all the fuss is about…
4. …then I pull out a syringe and the calm horse is all like…
5. Then the owner says something like “hold on, me and [horse] need to come to an understanding” … then they kinda do the horse owner “lead rope discussion” without talking…
6. And then you see the horse try really hard to be good for the owner…
7. And then we get the work done, and somebody gives the horse a treat for being so brave and suddenly it’s not so bad having the vet there…