Sunday, May 16, 2010


Someone once toyed with the idea that equine had personalities just like humans did.

No way, right?
Well you wouldn't be saying that if you owned an equine.
I own mules and I can say that yes, each mule we have whether born and raised here or not have a uniquely distinctive personality.

What's the trick?
The trick is understanding that personality and matching your training or riding to it.

There have not been many studies regarding this.
In fact I'm not even sure how a scientist could quantify 'personalities' in an animal.

There however is an interesting article I did read called:
Equine Personality Types and it really does sum up many good points.

Dominant mule. One who likes to be in charge.
This is Opal, she likes to be 'in charge' and will often challenge her rider [at age of 26~ish].
She is competitive and will do anything asked of her ~~ as long as it is reasonable in a mule's eyes and not dangerous.

Timid mule. Wow. Don't have one!

Babysitters. We had two of these and in some instances Badger can fall into this group.
He has a cool head and rarely gets flustered in any situation. Babysitters are rarely according to the article, good animals for showing or competing.
But. They are awesome animals because of their consistent behavior and good thinking.
However I have two mules that fall into the Dominant AND Babysitter category.
How can that be?
Well, I can only say that these mules understand the level of rider that they have on their back.
A novice?
They will behave as 'sitters'.
My husband or I?
They behave as Dominant, Competitive Mules.

[What can I say? Mules are incredibly perceptive!]

Silly. Well, I don't think we have any of those...but yet again, Badger likes to be silly, not spook - silly but playful sometimes, as well as Fred and Opal our Dominant, Competitive, Babysitter Mules.

Well there you have it.
A mule falls into this category because they never see the reasoning of dangerous behavior from the rider
do they like to do things that they don't understand or comprehend.
They are considered sometimes to be slow learners but that is because they need to be convinced that they need to learn that particular task.
Not because they are slow.

So when I go out to ride later,
I'll pick out a Stubborn Dominant Babysitter Silly Mule and enjoy the multi faceted mount that I am riding!


mj said...

Is that Badger behind those gloved ears??? Good disguise.

This is a well thought-out post. I like it. I haven't decided yet which of those traits, if any, suits my mule Polly. I have always considered her a very cautious animal, but once she decides that something is OK, it usually stays that way. If she does question something, I normally figure that she has her reasons to need to take a moment to think. This trait has saved us more than once.

Val said...

I don't think you can pin a particular personality trait on a mule. They mix and match these traits according to their situation.

...and yes, that was Badger at his first Endurance ride. His ears were cold, so I put gloves on them!