The Mule, an extremely intelligent, hardy working animal, has a counterpart, the Hinny; the Hinny has the same genetic makeup, but is smaller than the Mule. Mules have an age-old reputation for being stubborn.
Any Mule enthusiast will tell you that the Mule is more intelligent than stubborn! Mules have strong independent personalities and are very self-preserving; if they feel threatened, they will refuse to remain in the situation.
This may be good, because a Mule saving himself will also save the person or cargo on his back! It may be bad, when you are trying to have the Mule do a task for you. The trick to having a willing worker in a Mule is good training and trust.
Mules tend to be distrusting, and once you have won their confidence, are much more likely to work for you. Once you have your Mule’s trust, he tends to be quite forgiving, as well as loyal, sensible and patient; however, he will also be jealous of your interaction with other animals!
The Mule must be persuaded, not forced, to work. Because Mules are so intelligent they are easy to train; however, Mules are slow to forget bad experiences and you will have to work with a Mule for a very long time to get him to do something he feels might end in disaster!
If a Mule feels threatened, he will not hesitate to kick with swiftness and accuracy; Mules never take the offensive, however. They are very hardy, sure-footed animals and are strong. Mules have incredible stamina and can do hard work for long periods of time, provided you can persuade them to!
Mules have horse-like bodies with donkey-like limbs! This is because their mother is a horse and their father is a donkey. A different type of Mule, called a Hinny, is the offspring of a donkey mother and a horse father!
Hinnies are smaller than Mules, having to be birthed from smaller wombs, and have the opposite body type of a mule. Hinnies’ bodies are donkey-like and they have horse-like limbs! They also tend to be less hardy and less intelligent, but this may make them more compliant or forgiving than Mules.
Mules have very long ears like donkeys and their thin manes are very short or shorter than those of horses. Their tails are a bit shorter than horses’ tails, but do have a few long strands in them. Mules have flat backs, low withers and goose rumps!
Often, Mules are taller than both of their parents are but their bodies are narrower than horses’ bodies and less deep chested. Their sides are flat and their quarters appear weaker than a horses’. A Mule’s hooves are small and very hard. Mules are extremely healthy, disease resistant, and because of their intelligence, they are rarely injured. They can live on less feed than horses and are better at withstanding a wide variety of temperatures.
Mules have been raised since antiquity, and before the Mule proper was hybridized, an animal like the mule, bred from Onagers and horses, was used. Mules were extremely popular as work animals and in the 1800’s some Mule breeders bred special, large types of donkeys known as “Mammoth draft” in order to produce better Mules.
Today, Mules are kept mainly by enthusiasts, and are still used as pack animals in some places of the world. For example, it is the Mule who carries tourists down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the top rim and back up again!
Be sure your Mule has been properly trained and socialized when young or it will be nearly impossible to work with. Like most animals, badly treated Mules will become bad-tempered and stubborn.
Mules are sterile. In very, very rare instances, some female Mules have produced offspring sired by horses or donkeys.