How to Manage Energy Levels in Mules Through Diet

Hybrids are very efficient in their food intake and nutrition; they can easily ingest 30% less of their dietary needs compared to a horse of the same size. What does this actually mean? Clinically, this means mules differ from horses from a metabolic standpoint. They can maintain their weight with fewer calories than horses in the same situation.  So, why are mules being fed a horse’s diet?

I think lack of knowledge and some people just feel better by giving ample amounts of feed and/or treats to their mule. Honestly, both donkeys and mules love broad-leaf weeds and roughage such as barley straw. This should form a large part of their diet however donkeys must not be fed large amounts of protein, bread, puffed rice, or processed food because they may develop laminitis and become lame. In addition, donkeys and mules can utilize more mature, less digestible, more fibrous plant material than a horse. They are able to metabolize their feed very efficiently and can be overfed very easily. The donkeys’ efficient utilization of food makes them “easy keepers.” However, don’t let the term misguide you. It is important to take care in determining when and how much to feed a donkey. Obesity is a major concern in modern domesticated donkeys and mules, yet mule owners tend to feed their mules as though they were horses.

Studies have shown that donkeys voluntarily consume much less forage compared to horses; 1.5% of body weight (BW) for donkeys compared to 3.1% of BW for horses. The donkey’s heightened ability to digest low-quality forage has been likened to that of a goat. It is important not to provide pasture that is lush and nutrient-dense. Low-quality pasture grasses are adequate. Mules are not quite as efficient as donkeys but are much more efficient than horses. 

There is limited information about protein requirements for donkeys, but researchers have suggested that they are very efficient in the utilization of dietary protein. It has also been suggested that donkeys have a 20% lower digestible energy requirement than horses. 

Good grass hay is adequate for donkeys. Legume hay such as alfalfa is not recommended for the same reason that lush pasture is not good for donkeys or mules. The digestibility is very high as is the energy and nutrient content. 

Supplements – While grass and hay are often sufficient to supply the maintenance requirements for most donkeys and mules, additional supplementation in the form of concentrate feeds might be needed when donkeys cannot eat sufficient forage to meet nutrient requirements. Classes of donkeys and mules that need concentrated feeding include those that are working heavily, pregnant, lactating, growing, or senior. 

The amount of concentrate that should be provided is determined by the BW and the physiological state of the animal.

Water – The donkey has the ability to continue eating for several days when deprived of drinking water. It has been suggested that donkeys are able to conserve internal water stores and avoid thirst by reducing sweating for temperature control and reducing the amount of water lost in manure. 

Donkeys have the lowest water requirements of all domestic animals, with the exception of camels. Under hot conditions (85°F to 100°F), donkeys consumed water at a rate of 9% of BW per day. Under cooler conditions, donkeys consumed water at a rate of 4-5% of their BW per day.

Obesity is the biggest challenge facing most non-working donkeys and mules that are kept in areas of the world where food sources are abundant and of good quality. Emaciation is very common in most areas where donkeys are used heavily for work, and food is scarce and of poor quality. 

Body condition scoring donkeys is very similar to condition scoring horses using a 1 to 9 scoring system where 1 is emaciated and 9 is obese. Donkeys tend to accumulate fat on the neck, on either side of the chest wall giving a saddlebag appearance and around the buttocks. 

Several studies in horses and ponies have clearly shown that regional fat deposited on the neck of the animal indicated a higher risk for developing metabolic challenges such as insulin resistance and laminitis. Donkeys frequently accumulate fat on their necks and, therefore, are at high risk of insulin resistance and laminitis.

Donkeys and mules that are not doing any work should be able to meet all their nutrient requirements from good grass hay such as timothy or orchard grass. Working, lactating, or growing animals might need additional concentration. 

Due to the donkey’s increased ability to metabolize energy and protein, it is important that we do not feed concentrates that are high in these nutrients.

Overfed and underworked mules retain high energy levels that will encourage bad behavior; bad behavior that will usually show up while riding or working with their handler. The overfed mule will tend to spook at objects they have been introduced to many times, and mules like to make a game of this. An overly-fed mule that has excess energy can get a rider in trouble. In all fairness to the mule, he has the energy to burn; the very energy that you graciously put in his feed tub.

Look at it this way. Grandparents are often warned about what not to feed when to their grandchildren. The parents don’t want to be subjected to hyperactive children who had so many sodas, twinkies, and candy that were given to them when visiting their grandparents. Parents and educators often contend that sugar and other carbohydrate ingestion can dramatically impact children’s behavior, particularly their activity levels. The same holds true for your mule or donkey.

Consult with your vet if you have dietary concerns for your mule or donkey…that is what they are there for. When asking for advice concerning your mule or donkey, please discuss it with a professional. I will be blunt: Facebook is not the go-to for obtaining vital information to help your mule or donkey. So-called experts with no credibility are offering their opinions on social media. Feed smart, check on your mules and I will see you next time right here.

How To Work With a Smart-Ass

Note: this article has been grouch-tested. (wink)

Working with mules over the years has kept me amused, captivated, fascinated, and focused, as well as being challenged. I like a challenge; it develops your creative side to problem-solving. And what better way to develop your skill set in problem-solving than by working with mules?

And now…I am creative, and I have problem-solving skills. Mules have also helped me to develop my independent side. I remember some years ago, hauling back from Colorado from a mule event, I had a palomino horse mule in the trailer; my trailer tire blew on the highway and I could not get cell service. So, I pulled the roadmap out, placed my pistol in my vest, saddled up my mule, and rode into the nearest town. A couple of hours later, I was back on my way.

Another time, the axle broke on that very same trailer while hauling through Kansas. I saddled up my mule and rode back through town to a horse motel that was a few miles down the road. The trailer was still under warranty, I was laid up for a couple of days at the horse motel. When I got home, I sold that trailer.

I suppose if I had not established myself as a leader in my mule’s life, we would have never made it out of the trailer during these emergency road incidents. You see, mules are sensitive creatures and will easily feed off your emotions. That is why your durability as a trainer is significant in working with mules. Leadership, herd boss, whatever you want to call it, the mule knows if you have grit or not. Being prepared and having confidence will help to develop your leadership skills; just remember a mule does not want to hang out with sissies. A sissy will just drag down the herd; mules know that to be safe from predators, the herd must be strong, healthy, and have it together.

A keen sense of awareness is what Mother Nature gave to the mule. In other words, mules have a high sense of self-preservation, so it is in your best interest to have it together when you approach your mule. That very mule already sized you up the very moment you walked into the corral. That mule already knows what your demeanor is for that moment; that is why you need to be established as a confident leader. I guess in a lot of ways…you are working with a smart ass.

Look, nobody likes a smart ass. They can make you look stupid. They will do things to get your attention when they are bored…because that is what mules and smartasses do. Mules will chase anything in the pasture and run from lawn equipment that they have been exposed to for years…all to work off excess energy.

You probably already know this, but mules can open doors, crawl through, or jump fences to visit in the next pasture, then return home just in time for you to feed him. And to think, this all started from boredom.

Now that you are aware that your mule is bored, you now decide to vamp up his training program. You take the time to set up an obstacle course around the barn to train your mule…except for one thing. Your mule responds by testing you…after all that is what they do. (wink) Mules will question you about the need to walk through a tire obstacle when they can easily walk around it or jump over the stuff in the first place. I mean, what’s the point?!

Again, they will question you…why get into the trailer when the other horses and mules are just tied up or hanging around? When crossing a bridge or river…is it really necessary to cross here? After all who is in charge here? This is the mindset of the mule…remember, it is his job to question you.

This is where the leadership thing comes in. It is your job to be the leader; you are the one in charge, your decision to ask the mule to do something should be based on that the mule is mentally and physically prepared to accomplish the task. It is essential that no harm will come to your mule, and you as the leader give him time to think about it to check things out. Successful mule trainers set up a situation where their mule will succeed. You want your mule to believe in you and to quietly show you that he is trying. By giving the slightest try, you the leader will give praise and encouragement to the mule. Your approach when presenting new things to your mule is important. The mule needs to be comfortable to be willing and to be able to respond to your request because they are emotional creatures. And remember, mules are supposed to think things through and check things out first because they are smarter than both their parents! The mule is simply behaving as the awesome creature that Mother Nature allowed him to develop into. After all, he is not supposed to be a horse or a donkey. He/she is just being a mule, the very smart ass that you are working with!

It is the mule’s job to think of clever ways to get out of what you want them to do. It is your job to be creative in your training program to get the mule’s curiosity stirred up while ensuring no harm will come to him. If the mule suffers injury then the deal is off. If things get boring, then your mule has no further interest in the lesson.

Now that you know you are working with a smart ass; you have your work cut out for you. You are not a whiner; you are determined to succeed. You possess the qualities of being a successful mule trainer. You are committed, conscientious, sensitive to your animals, creative, playful, logical, independent, and patient. You look for answers and you know what it takes. You realize what the mule needs physically or mentally and can follow through in giving it. OK! NOW WE’RE GETTING SOMEWHERE!

All right, you’ve got this…carry on. If you need help, you know where to find me.

Cindy K Roberts
I think clearly when I’m in the saddle.

New Year – Reflecting Back

During the spring of 2nd grade, my friend Robbie Ryba wrote a love letter and handed it to me in the hay shed after school. It was my first love letter; and being merely eight years old, it seemed foolish to me for anyone to waste their time writing romantic nonsense when you could be outside building a fort or playing with the horses; I firmly explained to Robbie that I had no time for love…I was devoted to my pony.

That was many years ago; being older and wiser, my love for mules, horses, and donkeys developed into writing feature articles, mule training books, cowgirl humor, judging mule events, and becoming involved with professional organizations that work to protect our trails and are concerned with the welfare of our mules and horses. Developing a partnership with my mules and securing a future for them has taken priority in my life. Working with mule owners in establishing heightened communication gives me great pleasure that I am making a difference in the mule world. My personal experience in working with mules is so endearing to me that I’ve kept a mule diary since 1985. Filled with laughter and tears my heartfelt stories are carefully documented to be remembered by. At times, I look back.

I reflect on the organizations that are committed to watching over our trails and protecting the equine industry:

Back Country Horsemen of Missouri (BCHMO) is part of the Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA). As such, BCHMO coordinates activities throughout Missouri to protect and keep Missouri’s public trails open to equestrians. Purposes of Back Country Horsemen of Missouri:

  • To ensure that public lands remain open for equestrian use.
  • To further the commonsense use and enjoyment of equines on Missouri’s trails.
  • To educate, encourage, and gain active participation in the care and use of equestrian resources.
  • To assist the federal, state, and county agencies with the maintenance and management of land resources for equestrian uses.
  • To foster and encourage the formation of new state chapters.

Interestingly, Missouri ranks third nationally in horse population. With an estimated horse population of 200,000 horses, the total value of all breeds exceeds $400 million and operating expenses are more than $200 million annually.

The horse industry today is diverse and contributes significantly to the economic health of the state. Horse and mule enthusiasts enjoy a wide range of activities such as trail riding, rodeos, racing, show competitions, jumping, driving, and hunting.

The Missouri Horse Council was founded in January 2019. The council recognizes that the equine industry is large but quite fragmented. They want to bring all stakeholders together to provide one voice for Missouri’s equine industry. The benefits are numerous, including a stronger voice in economic development initiatives, promoting equine education, improving communication of health threats, and unifying a strong voice in political discussions and voting. (

Growing up with horses will teach children how to get back on after a rough day, putting something else’s care above their own and being able to get up at all hours and function. Growing up with horses will also allow kids to develop pitchfork skills to last a lifetime, and the work ethic grows from there. This year, like every year, it is up to us to protect our shared trails for our children and grandchildren. Stay informed, get involved, make friends, and work together to protect the public lands for our children’s future.

By the way, Robbie Ryba has found love and has family and friends to share his dreams with. We laugh over our childhood memories and that handwritten love letter remains in my old keepsake scrapbook.

The Mule Diaries

The Mule Diaries – Licking & Chewing

By Cindy K Roberts

I keep a diary on my mules. I’ve documented my training techniques over the years, kept records, and filed my reports and photos on every horse and mule I’ve worked with. I like to take notes, handwritten and mental as well as using my cell phone. Sometimes I lick and chew throughout the note-taking process. I tried jotting down bullet points about an episode or incident but that didn’t work for me; later on, I’d proceed to file the condensed version of my thoughts and not have a clue as to what I was thinking or texting about! That is why I am so fastidious about my note-taking. When a thought or finding overwhelms me, I immediately pencil it on paper while licking and chewing. [In the equine world, licking and chewing will occur when the animal has registered a thought, the horse/mule has changed from a higher anxiety to a lower anxiety and has accepted the idea.]

To enhance the stories written in my diary, I picked up a 15:2 hand paint mule, that had been on unemployment most of her life. She wasn’t the kind of mule that you could easily read; I gathered that she was trained harshly early on, then at some point in her life, received ill-treatment or none at all due to misinterpretation of her behavior. I knew these issues would take time to work on, but in time I thought this mule would become a special mule worth owning, and I would have reached another goal. I named her Cabo.

The constant tail twitching, a cow kick or two and three bites later . . . I learned just how special this mule really is. It took some work to get her into the trailer and that can be typical of a mule that has had time off or perhaps not hauled enough. I studied her, and she studied me; in some ways, this mule had an intimidating presence about her; I swear, Cabo had a look about her, as though she were able to read people . . . sizing them up for the kill.

After loading the mule, Cabo stood quietly in the trailer, made mental notes, and licked and chewed the whole way home.

After arriving at the barn, I opened the gate and turned her out with the herd knowing that I had my work cut out for me; tomorrow we would work on approaching and being haltered. The herd pretty much ignored her and just as I figured, Cabo galloped over the south ridge as though she had just busted out of jail. I knew then this was the kind of mule that required training while I kept a sandwich in my hip pocket; and a water bottle worn on my belt throughout the training sessions. Spunky mule trainers will confirm, there are no lunch breaks when training mules; of course, I updated my diary accordingly.

I LOVE CATCHING MULES. As weird as it sounds, I feel as though I am playing the part of Dog the Bounty Hunter . . . the thrill is in the hunt! Dog the Bounty Hunter can get a good read on the criminals he is tracking, I feel the same way about mules on the run. The sport of catching the most wanted mule excites me; it just flows through my veins! If you are lucky enough to have other team members working with you, it’s really a hoot! The excitement, the cussing, the hollering as you approach your most wanted mule…it is a captivating experience! As I have recorded in my findings, appropriate mule hunting clothing and effective gear is required when going after a habitual runaway. Khaki pants and athletic shoes won’t get the job done. For this job, lace-up boots or Justin Gypsy boots with rubber soles are best to be worn with your favorite pair of Wranglers™, treated with anti-chigger spray. Leather gloves, a rope halter, and a lariat are essential.

I’ve worked alone to snag mules but it’s even more fun to saddle up another mule and take off after the mule in question. Riding close and putting pressure on the absconded mule (the one who failed to show up for his/her court date) is just enough to keep them worried. Eventually, the runaway mule will stop to rest mentally and physically. Next, I step down off my saddled mule to approach the evasive mule with the rope halter in my hand. It’s interesting, during this process I find that older herd members would stand around watching the game I call, “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”

The older mules and horses in the herd would quickly tire of the “catch-me-if-you-can” game the absconded mule is playing; some shake their heads and pin their ears to show their disapproval. Several times I would get so close to the animal and the mule in question would take off again! A younger member of the herd may step away to clear the path for the mule on the run simply because the young mule is intimidated by this whole scene. As frustrating as it may seem, the thrill of going after that mule again made it even more exciting for me.

Leaping onto the saddled mule, with the reins in my left hand and the rope halter in my right, I’d lope after the alleged lawbreaking mule. After several attempts of stop-n-go antics, the mule eventually gets tired and willfully gives up…just like an episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter!

In pursuit of Cabo…five sandwiches and ten water bottles later, I finally got the rope halter on her. I was elated! I was proud that I stalked that mule morning and afternoon for five days while chattering non-stop, as she took refuge in the low-hanging cedars. Once she was caught, I could tell she had a relieved look on her face. I think being on the run took a toll on this mule, we walked back to the barn as she licked and chewed the entire time. This incident alone was a lengthy new edition added to the mule diary.

Cabo was then placed in a small corral with an amazing view of the pond and lower field. A soft place to roll, a shed, a huge water trough, shade, and meals were brought to her every morning; I saddled her every day.

Every day Cabo shook her head, pinned her ears, tried to bite, refused to pick up her feet, and twitched her tail. After using a soft cotton rope and then getting a hold of a foot, the mule then took pleasure in leaning into you. Even though I felt she had special qualities about her, Cabo’s attitude did not improve. She wasn’t a lawless kind of mule; she didn’t buck, rear, or race back to the barn…she was the kind of mule that I call an opportunist. When an opportunity arose, Cabo took it. Opportunities such as the cell phone rings, and this was an opportunity for Cabo to bolt for 100 yards or so. Drinking water from out of a plastic bottle; not to mention the sound of plastic crinkling as you drank the water down, could easily be accounted for bolting another 200 yards or so until you realized, just drop the dang bottle and shut the mule down with two hands while leaning back. Riding downhill gave Cabo the opportunity for her to run, shake her head, and then head for a low tree branch to unseat the rider…licking and chewing after each episode. That’s an opportunist.

I took Cabo to a Loren Basham Cow Working Clinic. Loren diagnosed her as “her give-a-damn is busted.” That’s not a good evaluation of a mule as it takes a lot of quality training and time in hopes of reviving their spirit once their “give-a-damn” is busted. Wow, I thought, this mule is very special. So, I went to the gym every day, working out, learning new moves and balancing techniques to aid me in this mule’s training. As usual, everything has been recorded in the mule diary.

It wasn’t always a fun ride; there were times I was so worn down and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this anymore. Maybe I’ve reached the age where I just want to drive an automatic, maybe I need to try something new in my life, like sewing or painting. I even whined and cried in my mule diary…yikes! SMACK!!! #!%!! I slapped myself back to reality. I then took a sheet of paper and documented the pros and cons of working with this mule. Mathematically figuring, I now know what needs to be done. It’s down on paper, it’s recorded in detail, it’s official and I started tackling the list to fix this mule.

The following day, Giddy up Jann and I were cutting down vines on the new trail located on the south ridge. One tiny vine came across my waist and didn’t break as I expected; I flipped backward, landing face down on the soft ground thinking . . . ‘well that didn’t quite work out.’ The opportunity came for Cabo to trot off downhill, stop, lick, and chew while waiting for what came up next. Giddyup Jann’s old mare then came to life for the first time in several years. That broken-down horse reared to the right, reared to the left, and did a jig all because of a loose mule that responded to a trail-stunt-gone-wrong opportunity. Eventually, things were back to normal and the incident was noted on a page by itself in the mule diary.

Later that winter, Medicine Man Dave rode along with me on the south ridge at a good pace. Dave is a retired radiologist otherwise known as an alternative practitioner; Dave can make quick diagnoses for most of the injuries that develop from risky barn activity. Risky activities such as stepping on a horseshoe nail, receiving rope burns, being attacked by chiggers, and performing heroic maneuvers that involve sprains.

As we slid down the southern slope, I could tell that Cabo was not very confident with her footing. I was hoping by now she was ready to take on more challenges; amazingly Medicine Man Dave’s gaited mare was not having any problems at all. Soon, Cabo lost her footing, and quickly went down on her side while trapping my left ankle underneath her! The only way to describe the incident is…it was a True Grit moment, minus the 1873 Winchester sporting rifle that Rooster Cogburn used to take on the outlaws (that) we would have been trailing! Since I am a biased pro mule owner, I like to tell people that Medicine Man Dave’s horse stopped abruptly and tripped my mule on the trail; it makes me feel better about the whole incident anyway.

The ankle is not broken but the ankle sprain is severe according to Medicine Man Dave; Cabo collected herself and walked gracefully downhill to wait . . . licking and chewing while trying to sort out what just happened. I will give this mule credit. During a trail ride mishap, Cabo doesn’t hightail back to the barn like other knucklehead mules that I have owned.

After several attempts to stand, Dave finally shoved me on top of his springy, spotted mare like a sack of potatoes. I was hesitant to get on a horse; it was either that or a helicopter ride out of the south ridge to the ER! Dagnabit!

Medicine Man Dave then hand-walked his mare out of the field as I tried to play the part of the rescued injured rider as best I could. If only I had a hanky and southern accent, I could have originated a tear or two. Dave treaded up the hill while towing his horse, I turned my head and whistled for Cabo, and to my surprise, the mule walked steadily up the hill, behind the painted horse, and back to the barn! There’s that special quality that I was looking for in this mule! Cabo faithfully followed us back to the barn! Alternative Practitioner, Dave said I watched too many Fury episodes when I was a kid.

A deer hunter’s carcass sled awaited me at the gate, in which “Deer Slayer Dennis” pushed me the rest of the way to dump me into my Dodge Nitro. I wasn’t going to the ER for treatment, since Medicine Man Dave gave me his opinion and that was good enough for me. Meanwhile, back on the Homefront, I got caught up on reruns of Gunsmoke and High Chaparral and every detail is being recorded in the mule diary.

Two weeks later…I couldn’t afford to give Cabo time off, so I limped to my truck, schmoozed the mule into the trailer, and hauled her to John Erick of C&H Horse training to be saddled and ridden; a month later I hauled her back and let her know that she is now under probationary status. Any more screwy stuff on the trail and she will do time…in the mountains with a pack saddle. Cabo leaned one ear in my direction, pretending she was paying attention. (Another discrepancy has been noted.)

My ankle wasn’t healing as fast as I’d hoped it would, but I saddled up anyway, climbed on top of some structure, and got into the saddle. I soon learned Cabo was still very much an opportunist. That mule sensed that I wasn’t working at full capacity, so she attempted to run off at any given opportunity, sideswiping trees along the way. After every episode, Cabo stood still, licking and chewing.

My grandfather, God rest his soul, was a muleskinner for the U.S. Army. He enlisted in the Cavalry back in 1924 and he loved adventure while in the saddle. By the time I took on the mule challenge in my life, my grandfather had passed on; he loved his whiskey, and that got the best of him. I do have Grandpa’s letters and a journal from his Army days, and that drives me more into working with mules.

That evening, I recorded the events carefully and while in deep thought…I realized these dicey episodes are nothing more than mind games. I was now very much aware of what I was up against and it’s personal. I could feel my heartbeat, my adrenalin was at an all-time high, my senses heightened and now I am moving forward with gusto…the game is on! I realize I could always take the easy way out and buy a horse, but I won’t do that. I’m smarter and tougher than that. A mule will humble you and this will allow you to develop into a better person inside and out.

Next, I loaded up Cabo the mule and headed to a campground one hundred miles away. I set up camp 20 feet away from her stall, sat in a chair, and studied her while adding notes to my mule diary. I jotted down specifics with energetic strokes of my pen. Five pages later, Cabo gulped her water and her ears went parallel as she licked and chewed. She knew I now had her number and the game was up.

The next morning, I saddled Cabo, strapped on my spurs, and mounted her from a rock or fallen tree as my ankle was still trying to heal completely. We rode through the Missouri Ozarks, crossed the Jacks Fork River, loped up through Coyote Passage and back down through the valley, stumbled back through the high water, and rodeoed between Kayaks on the river. Cabo then danced around a couple of snakes, went airborne to avoid a monster dump truck, picked up her pace, and looked for predators all week long. We charged after groundhogs, plowed through brush, sailed over fallen timber, dodged low branches, darted around fallen rock, and chased after a coyote on the run. We rode through a thunderstorm, watched the eagles fly over the river, and counted the fish that hovered around the lily pads in the deep blue pond. I think Cabo enjoyed the afternoon when we counted fish, or maybe it was because we were just standing around and doing nothing. Every evening I had new, thrilling details to scribble in my mule diary.

After a week of boot camp, Cabo brayed at the first sight of me carrying hay to her. She now stands quietly to be saddled, loads quietly in the trailer, stands patiently while tied and rides anywhere I point her as we ride alone. She greets me at the gate and snubs the rest of the population; she rides heavy in the front end and is forward in the bridle; because of this, my biceps have really developed, and my lower back and balance have all come back. All of these fine points have been recorded and my experiences are well noted in the mule diary.

Cabo is turning out to be that mule that now has a heart. When we go to work, she now gives a damn. Cabo recognizes my rank, otherwise known as leadership. She still has days where I am put to the test, and that’s OK, that’s her job and I accept the challenge.

I update my diary every day, keep a list, and check off the items we have accomplished, and I swear, at times I catch Cabo standing there…STUDYING ME. I then grab my pencil and notebook documenting my findings and we both exchange glances…as we lick and chew at the same time.

Riding the roller coaster and never leaving the farm.

It started out as a pleasant ride; the leaves covered the ground, and deer on every surrounding ridge. Cabo was a little on the anxious side, I took extra time while saddling her, giving her time to settle in about things…such as life. I noticed she gained a little more weight in the last week, Cabo looked good. We rode down into the hollow and, watched the whitetail deer romp through the woods, and as usual none of this bothered my mule. We rode past the “stuffed lion” and she made a mental note of that.

Riding up and down the ridge with bridged reins, I was balanced in the saddle while using my seat and leg. At the bottom of the trail, Cabo stiffened her neck, threw her body to the side, and bucked up and down. Sitting deep in the saddle, I brought her back down, and immediately rode her through the trees while doing figure eights, to get her mind back.

Now I have her thinking straightened out, rode along the fence line, then I rode up the path back to the barn. We get to the top of the trailhead and Cabo has a complete meltdown! I come out of the saddle, lodge my right bootheel onto her shoulder, and praise the Lord I don’t wear spurs. I thought for sure I was going to come off, Cabo came up on me again, and that momentum was enough recoil to spring myself back into the saddle while grabbing onto the horn! I quickly got my seat again, thumped her around in two circles then barked orders for her to walk on. After I was sure I had her mind where I wanted it, I rode back down to the “trouble” areas to work her in and around the trees. It was like riding a roller coaster at the amusement park but never leaving the farm. And I did get my money’s worth!

In all honesty, this mule is only working half the time in the saddle than what we have been doing. Clearly, she needs to have her feed program adjusted. One cup of steam crimped oats, no molasses, one oz Sho Glo, one oz corn oil, and free-choice hay.

Mule Girl Shenanigans by Cindy K Roberts (2nd edition)

Mule Girl Shenanigans

More silly tales that will delight any horse or mule girl. Barn stories that have been grouch tested! Available at Amazon Prime and other participating outlets.

Curing The Rainy Day Blues—The Cowgirl Way
Cowboy The Paint Horse – The Horse With A Big Ego
Bubba The Mule – He Was Obnoxious As They Come
Dollar The Rehab Mule – Wore Out His Welcome – Couldn’t Keep His Zipper Up
The Boenker Mule Farm—Where Every Critter Is Family
Cowgirl Points and How to Collect Them – Important Stuff Here
How to Have Fun With a Broken Arm – Just In Case You Break You Arm!
When I Am an Old Mule Woman – How I Will Spend My Winters
Chick Magnet Horses – The Ones For Those That Can’t Get A Date
Working with A Smart Ass – It’s Job & Someone Has To Do It!
Living  By the Code of The West – Morals To Live By
Hearts and Horses – Therapeutic Horsemanship – A Warm & Fuzzy Tale
Ma’am, Please Leave – Places I Wore Out My Welcome
Don’t’ Forget to Live Today – You Gotta Get Out & Let Go
Campfire Memories – The Story Of Jesus & His Burnt Up Leg
The Lone Horseman – The One And Only
Donkey, Another Love Story – Have You Ever Been Swooned By A Donkey?
Kicking Up Dust In Deadwood – Middle Age Won’t Stop Us
The Cowgirl Spirit – Just What It Means
They Almost Got Away With It – Ridiculous News Tales
A Horse Named Flame
Twenty Years Ago
A Mule That Requires Meaningful Conversation
Cleaning the Water Trough: A Tadpole Story
Living Up To A Name
The One Night Stand Mule
Dang! A Stump Is Stuck Under My Tail!
Operation Mustang
The True Meaning Of A Saddle Pal
146 pages of silliness that will tickle your funny bone! (Grouch tested.)

The Queen of Hearts Is Your Best Bet

The saga continues. The sequel to Desperados Of The Wagons West Expedition. Descendants of notorious outlaws, muleskinners, horse thieves, brothel workers, wagonmakers, as well as Texas Rangers try to reform, return to private life and earn an honest trade. Not long after losing the posse and starting a new life in Oklahoma, a restless Sagebrush Sandy takes up with Cisco Kid. A new town in Missouri emerges, “Panther Creek” ran by head-honcho Miss Melinda, who calls on the Texas Rangers to help keep law and order. To promote business, Miss Melinda summons the Brothel Inspector to open up an upscale establishment to attract elite gentlemen. The desperados, eluding from the law, drift into town to stake a claim and make a fast play; hoping to make the cut, to compete in the first annual poker tournament, held at Panther Creek Saloon. All eyes are on the dealer.

Available at Every Cowgirl’s Dream, Amazon Books, and other participating outlets.

The Desperados Cookbook & Guide To Common Sense

Mule Sisters, Round Up Wendy Boenker, and Author, Cindy K Roberts
aka Cisco Kid pose for the cover.

Available at www.EveryCowgirlsDream.Com

The Desperados Cookbook & Guide To Common Sense Recipes and Protocol For The Modern-Day Saddle Tramp

Published by Every Cowgirl’s Dream

174 pages of good cookin’ and straight-shootin’ advice on:

  • the art of romance and how to go courtin’
  • how to handle the in-laws
  • how to handle the busybody 
  • Lady Rhinestone’s advice on gossip
  • Kick-butt advice on how to handle obnoxious relatives 

Desperados of The Wagon’s West Expedition

Desperados of The Wagon’s West Expedition:
A Modern-Day Dime-Store Novel published by Every Cowgirl’s Dream.

Descendants of notorious outlaws, muleskinners, horse thieves, brothel workers, wagonmakers, as well as Texas Rangers gathered at the N Bar Ranch in Reserve, New Mexico. These modern-day desperados, rode at the top of the mountain in the Gila Mountain Wilderness, on the same range as the Apaches once roamed. This is a modern-day dime-store novel published by Every Cowgirl’s Dream.


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