Breed Description Mules can be as diverse as the breeds of mares used to breed them. Quarter Horse mules are athletic and tend to be "Cowy". Arabian mules make
excellent endurance prospects. Thoroughbred mules will run fast, but Gaited Mules are like Cadillacs!
Gaited Saddle Mules are gaining in popularity, as more people become aware of the advantages of owning mules, the demand has increased and
breeders can now be found throughout the U.S. and parts of Europe.
We know why the smooth saddle gait of any mount is desirable, but just what is it about mules that people love? Other than those adorable
long ears and big bright eyes, once you meet a mule in person you might see just what that is! They have wonderful personalities, are very
loyal, dependable companions, who really bond with their people. Their hybrid vigor gives them advantages over horses; they can carry more, go
farther on less fuel, with less waste. They are pound for pound hardier than horses. The old expression "Healthy as a horse" should have been
"Healthy as a mule" - they also tend to live longer than horses on average. These are all great perks to owning a mule, but to sweeten the
package, you can have a smooth ride to boot!
Breeding for just the right type of mules can be a constant experiment, some Jacks will contribute certain consistencies of conformation or
gait in their offspring, but not to the same degree as a horses. This is most likely due to the way chromosomes are paired when crossing the
two species together. (More variables)
Choosing a mare with strong qualities you desire is your best option, and look for a Jack with similar qualities, or traits, that will
complement your mare nicely. The resulting mule will look somewhat like both its parents; its ears shaped like a horse - only much longer, its
eyes will have an almond shape, and its size is generally very close to the mare's. Mule color, as in horses, is fairly determinable by what
color genes the parents have.
Because the mare will also contribute her personality traits by raising your mule foal the first few months, it's a good idea to use a mare
that has an excellent, calm disposition when she has a foal at side.
If you want a smooth moving Saddle Mule, your chances are greatly increased by using a naturally gaited Jack, and a strongly gaited mare. No
matter if it's a Single - foot, a running walk, Fox Trot, or a Paso Llano - as long as it's a strong gait, you will (almost certainly) get a
nice smooth Gaited Saddle Mule from such a cross. Even mules from non-gaited breeding often have a nice smooth fast walk.
Walk, trot, gait, canter and gallop; most Gaited Mules will do it all - and more! Mule's gaits are as diverse as those of gaited horses, some
Saddle Mules have multiple gaits, though usually they have one type of gait they perform best. Your Fino Mule may have an excellent Corto, but
may also do a Running walk or Single-foot gait. Peruvian bred Mules will tend to have a gait very much like the Paso Llano or Soberandano that
Peruvian Paso horses have, and a Tennessee Walking Horse bred Mule is a good candidate for a nice Running Walk, though sometimes they will Fox
Trot and/or Rack. What discipline you choose for your mule may determine how and when your mule gaits, for instance, some mules (and horses)
prefer to trot when pulling a cart.
Beneath those fuzzy, long ears, and behind soulful eyes, lies great intelligence. These "self thinkers" have a high preservation instinct.
Those who breed and raise mules say this independent thinking is the main reason why they have often been unfairly labeled as stubborn. "There
is nothing better than a good mule, and nothing worse than a bad one" - this old-time saying contributes to the idea that mules are stubborn or
difficult. Like horses, there are rarely bad individuals, only badly raised/trained individuals.
Training a mule is a dedicated process, you must teach with a certain firmness to gain respect, and guide with kindness to earn confidence and
trust. You can't make a mule do anything - and mules that are treated badly can and might just protect themselves if they feel threatened.
As with any Equine, you want to make sure the animal has matured before training under saddle and asking for gait executions. A mule may reach three
to five years of age before it is coordinated and matured enough to gait with consistency.
Once matured, there is no limit to what a Gaited Mule can do, within reason. Jumping fences, cutting cows, driving a cart and climbing mountains -
they are making their way into the show rings, competitions, and into the hearts of Equine lovers all over the world.