~Mules

~Grand Canyon, October, 2017

For some reason, I felt compelled to visit the Mule Barn, located near the Village along Village Loop Drive. I had expectations of seeing a few mules and was pleasantly surprised to see a Mule Train coming back to the barn. I haven’t ever seen a “Mule Train” tethered together before.

 

Returning to the barn
Mule Train

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What does the name “mule” mean?

The word “mule” can be used for any hybrid, and is a cross between two species of equine: the horse or pony (Equus caballus) and the domestic donkey (Equus asinus). The term “mule” is used for either the cross of male donkey on female horse, or the cross of female donkey on male horse, although the latter cross is more correctly known as a “hinny.” Mules and hinnies each have one horse and one donkey parent, however the two crosses generally differ from each other in appearance and stature, and—to some extent—temperament. (information taken from Lucky Three Ranch.

~

 

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Returning to the barn.

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Mule Barn
Mule Barn

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The mule in the photo below was turned out into a corral. The section of fence where Howard and I were standing didn’t have any “Don’t Pet the Mules” signs. So, being the animal lover that I am, I began petting this friendly mule. He came right up to the fence and seemed to enjoy the attention I was giving him. I was totally ignored by three other mules in the same corral.

After giving him lots of love, we continued on our walk along the path next to the corral, it was then that I noticed the signs “Don’t Pet the Mules”. Oh well, too late! {grins}

Pack Mule
Pack Mule

~

They just look so sad, but how would I know for sure.

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~The information below was taken from the Lucky Three Ranch:

 

What are the physical characteristics of the Mule:

  • A distinctive bray.
  • Long ears.
  • Short, upright and thin mane.
  • Hair only on the end of its tail.
  • Tends to look more horse-like.
  • May come in a variety of colors.
  • Hooves are narrow and box-like, unlike the horse’s hoof. They’re upstanding, and made for rock and mountain climbing. They are tough and elastic, non-chipping and can grow to long lengths when the animal is on soft ground and the hooves are left untrimmed.
  • Long body with long, wiry muscles.
  • Short and straight back. Lacks upstanding withers and is excellent for packing and weight bearing.
  • Bone is dense and hard.
  • Gestation is 12 months, whereas the gestation period for a horse is 11 months.
  • Usually has a white belly and muzzle, and circles around the eyes.
  • Colors are much like that of a horse.
  • They can come in more colors than a horse, even an Appaloosa.
  • Mule’s conformation falls somewhere in between that of the donkey and that of the horse.
  • Mules inherit best traits from both its sire and its dam.
  • Mules get their athletic ability from the horse, while strength and intelligence come from the donkey.

What are the mental characteristics of the Mule:

  • Highly intelligent, alert, curious and affectionate, when not worn down by bad conditions (i.e., cruel treatment, bad shelter, bad food and water or overwork).
  • Quick to learn. A well-trained mule is calm, tolerant, loyal, affectionate, obliging and patient.
  • Sensitive. Mules and donkeys might be mistaken as being stubborn when they’re actually afraid or confused.
  • Has common sense and not prone to panic or carelessness.
  • Can recognize danger.

~

 ~I don’t believe I could ride a mule down into the canyon. However, lots of people do.~

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “~Mules”

  1. Very interesting. Sounds as though you are enjoying your venture to Florida. The weather looks great also. When we were at the Grand Canyon is was so cold and snowy. All I wanted to do was get back to Mesa, but it was the end of March. Have a fun and safe trip.

    1. Hi Arlene! Hope you and Moe are doing well and looking forward to your upcoming trip. We sure did have a wonderful time at the Grand Canyon. I am so glad we stayed in the park. I can imagine how cold and windy it can get. Last Friday was a “cooler” day there.

  2. Okay…here’s my acrophobic information. Years ago (about 1990) I tried to walk down Bright Angel Trail; made it about 50 ft. before I was so dizzy I couldn’t go on; plastered myself along the upper wall and “side-stepped” back up the trail; equilibrium acrophobia in full force; I was going to PITCH over the side (see Sheila’s post “scary”- she did way more than I could ever do). So then I see the Mules; they walk on the EDGE; THE EDGE…THE EDGE THAT FALLS INTO THE CANYON. No way; unbelievable to me that people will sit on top of these wonderful, sure-footed creatures and go down into the canyon. My adventure at the canyon was to bike all the way to Hermit’s and back in freezing weather while my husband hike with 3 friends down into the canyon to celebrate his 55th birthday. I was exhilerated, cold, but on ‘terra firma’; rim hiking OK for me; but don’t take me “down, down, down”…

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