Mule Psychology 101: Mule Truths By Cindy K. (McKinnon) Roberts
True or False: A mule will wait ten or twenty years to kick you or get back at you. This is false. I hear stories of owners that have owned a mule for x amount of years and then on that one given day...wham! Their own mule kicks them. Mules are deliberate and calculating animals. They do not forget their life experiences, good or bad. However, they do not hang out in their stall and put a notch in the wood rail for every act of indiscretion that came from Farmer Joe. Mule's do not think to themselves "hmmmm...let's see, I will give this guy something to remember, for all those times he whipped me." Mules and other animals, like people, can have a bad day. They develop conditions such as arthritis when they get older. They can be in pain and having a bad day at the same time. Honestly, when a 1200 pound mule is having a bad day, you do not want to mess with them....or tigers (ask Roy!) or gorillas for that matter. I have to think that owners that have been struck by their own mule have failed to properly train them in a positive manner in the first place. Using fear or force does not work on mules. Mule and horse owners that get comfortable in their handling of their animal(s), get preoccupied and then they are in a vulnerable situation where they get hurt.
No, mules don't wait twenty years to do you in; they get old and cranky just like people and deserve to be treated well throughout their lives.
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Warning! Under Missouri law, an equine professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities pursuant to the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Your participation in training your own mule or horse by following the advice given in this column and throughout Every Cowgirl's Dream web site is a risk that may result in permanent disability and even death to you and/or your animal. Advice in this column is given through 20 plus years of professional and private mule training experience. The unique personality of your animal and the individual reader's skill level will vary greatly. This column is not a substitute for a qualified mule trainer in your area. Always utilize a professional and knowledgeable trainer to assist you. The author asks each reader to evaluate his or her skill level, athletic ability and mule sense prior to attempting any training technique.