Recognize Distractions to Your Success

Working with a mule that is distracted; it can easily be a herd member calling out to another when working with your mule in the round pen. Or it can be, that he’s very aware of new things that have been moved around the barn, a baggy blowing in the breeze…you get my drift. Some mules quickly look for the exit door when learning a new task requiring intense concentration. Knowing this, I keep the lesson short and reward on the slightest try. The focus here is keeping things favorable for the mule. Mule trainers recognize this and implement the resistance-free training methods with the reward system.

Performance-bred mules are quick on their feet. This mule was a challenge to keep focused on learning a new task.

As mule trainers, we know how to work around livestock. The work is never easy but that’s why we do it. Sure, you sweat when training a horse, but horses can be pushed around, mules simply won’t tolerate it. It takes a mindset to work with them, the mind games, testing you, questioning your resume… every day is like appearing on a game show, going up against the champion.

Well pal, it’s like this. You signed up for this. There’s no whining, and you have the tenacity and grit to do this. As a trainer, you know that working with clients in the mule industry is demanding. You are putting your reputation on the line. It’s part of the job, it goes with the territory and you choose to be a winner.

As mule trainers, it is important that you recognize a distraction as just that, a distraction. When working hard at a project, we are emotionally involved and focused on getting the job done in a timely manner. If family members are involved in our work environment, we could be challenged with a situation, and things can get difficult. Criticism is not well received when working hard, feeling pressured, and pushing yourself to succeed. Not only are you dedicated to your work, but you are sincere, on the level, and forthright about your career moves. You play by the rules.

Well, not everyone plays by the rules. And now, it can get sticky. Aside from not liking it, you are aggravated in the process and the pressure takes over to a point where you feel like lashing out or calling him or her out. In the Old West, when calling out someone, you would meet your rival out in the dusty street with your six-shooter strapped on. You took up playing the piano to keep your trigger finger ready. Hmm…

Truly, in today’s world, this is a distraction to your success and doesn’t deserve your time and energy. Distractions are such energy drainers, that your time is better spent on moving forward with your business plan. As professionals working in the mule trade, we strive to focus on the things that matter most. We are concerned with:

Round pen training is ideal when introducing a new task to the mule.
  • Positive growth in the mule industry.
  • Moving forward and keeping our energy positive.
  • Keeping business records current and organized.
  • Taking time off when needed to refresh our own business persepctive.
  • Staying committed to our training program.
  • Training mules through an honest approach and not by trickery or deceit.
  • Respecting livestock and providing care for them.
  • Developing a partnership with our mules to gain their trust.
  • Working with clients in the field, one-on-one to address their concerns.
  • Living and working by a code of conduct that builds on our integrity.
  • Renewing our strength to remain driven and focused.
  • Documenting what works and learning from our mistakes.
  • Positively using the social media platform in a positive manner to promote the mule industry.
  • Surrounding ourselves with friends and family that support our dreams.
  • Passing on our knowledge to others in hopes they will keep our mule legacy ongoing.
  • Establishing a reliable team with a skillset in training mules, to assist when needed.
  • Being supportive to others in the mule industry.
  • Challenging ourselves to perform better.

We can easily become hard on ourselves for different reasons. Working as professionals in the mule industry is not easy, but we accept the challenges and have a work ethic. An ethic we are proud of.

Your strength and commitment is needed. It’s not all glory and glamour, we know this. It’s tough, the entire mule industry requires a winning attitude. Your passion for mules will drive you. You’re the one that our youth look up to. They want to be just like you! Your high-profile and notariety is recognized. Your character is exceptional and you reflect on your potential and ability to remain positive in the mule industry. Stay focused, maintain your integrity, and don’t allow distractions to overcome your own success…the mules need you.

Mule Girls

Cindy K. Roberts with Tara Streck

Mule girls are special; they’re tough, competitive, whimsical, sassy, creative, compassionate, and above all…they have grit. You, the mule girl, know who you are in every sense and you don’t question your abilities. Your essential qualifications…your skill set is unmatched, yet you work at improving your expertise. You hope for the best and expect the worst; it’s life and you accept difficult situations with a definitive strategy.

Your wardrobe consists of boots, chaps, and cowboy hats…it’s you. Your Wranglers® fit you well. Turquoise is your stone; you are surrounded by the scent of leather. You are loyal to the care of your saddle and tack; yes, you’re a mule girl…laundromats fear you.

The road is never-ending for a mule girl…you live each day with adventure. Your truck and trailer is hooked up for the next mule rodeo. You live your life as though you are on a mission. You answer to the call of the untamed wilderness. You step up to make a difference; like a town tamer looking for action, you accept the challenge and pin on the badge…because mule girls are cowgirl tough and dedicated to helping those in need.

Cindy K. Roberts

Friendship isn’t taken lightly with a mule girl. You live by a code, the Mule Girl Code.

  • Mule girls live with honesty, fairness, integrity, respect, and compassion.
  • Mule girls ride for the brand. It identifies your commitment to the cause.
  • Mule girls are patriotic.
  • Mule girls have respect for the wilderness.
  • Mule girls care for livestock and mules, their needs come first.
  • Mule girls support each other, giving strength and comfort when needed.
  • Mule girls keep a list and engage in the upkeep of the barn, tack, truck, and trailers.
  • Mule girls share their knowledge with others.
  • Mule girls show compassion and love to all animals.
  • Mule girls welcome a challenge without adding drama.
  • Mule girls have a sense of humor surrounding their everyday life with their mules.
Tara Streck

Mule girls make the best of cloudy days and dance in the rain. You dance with your mules and make snow angels on a winter’s day. You talk to cows in the nearby pasture, stretching the truth, you reassure them you eat salad only. Mule girls celebrate National Mule Day on October 26 to showcase and bring awareness to all mules. But honestly, everyday is mule day to the mule girl. Your mule girl training is steadfast and your mule girl record shows, you are undefeated.

Mule girls dwell on strength, whining is never an option. You know that every challenge placed before you, is God’s way of making you stronger. You know that storms never last, and the rainbow after the torrentuous rain, signals to the mule girl, there is a new day coming; a new beginning, and once again…you will be chasing your dream. Because the call of the wild, the whispers in the wind…never end.

Here’s to all the mule girls out there, my hat is off to you. (smile.)

You Don’t Start at the Top

You Don’t Start At The Top

It’s proven, mules mature physically and mentally at a slower pace than horses do. However, being hybrids, it is also proven they are smarter than both their parents. Yes, that means they are smarter than the horse (a given, because horses can be forced or bossed around into doing a task) and they are smarter than the donkey, who is a thinking machine in their own species.

So, while some mule owners get impatient about the training process, that is when the roadblocks start showing up in their schooling efforts.

Everyone wants to be at the top. The time and effort put into the equation may cause some people to give up. Because with time and effort, you will make mistakes. You have to make mistakes, in order to learn. You might make a career change and try something new, or you may become hard on yourself for not making accomplishments at the pace you so desire.

And, slamming someone for their own mistakes is not a part of the working solution. This is so unsettling to me, because as humans, we tend to resort to using cheap tactics by becoming “Keyboard Karens.” I don’t dare let my mules have access to the computer, because they do know so much! Being assertive is one thing, but becoming a Keyboard Karen is not cool at all.

With all kidding aside, as humans, we can get better at our work…provided we learn from our mistakes. Quite simply, if we don’t learn from our errors, lessons are repeated until they are learned! That’s the Karma wrapped up in the Universe. It’s a big world out there and the Universe is endless.

As trainers or instructors in the mule industry, we don’t start at the top. At times, we will fail. We desire to show our best videos and photos that make us look like mule superstars, never do we show our bloopers. Dang! That opens the gate for “Keyboard Karens” to cut us down! Which brings to my mind the real fascinating stuff to this article.

Mules don’t take to internet bullying tactics. They have no interest in “Keyboard Karens” and they don’t show off muscle or “strength” to impress themselves or in an attempt to get outside approval. Mules comply to their barnyard rules of conduct, known as the pecking order. In this scenario, size doesn’t matter. The 2,500 pound draft mule is generally easy-going and follows through with the herd boss. What matters is the herd will stick together; this makes the herd structure stronger and well protected from predators. Stick with me, there’s a lesson here: mule trainers, instructors, and riders with integrity, show respect for other trainers/riders and offer assistance where needed. They won’t slam others and they show a high regard for others wherever their journey takes them.

As a side note: you can talk bad or take a slam at them from your keyboard as often or long as you want on social media. You know what? You just made an ass of yourself. And yes, the pun is intended. (wink.)

The Adventures of Bronco Laura

True Tales of Adventure from a Desperate Mid-West Housewife

True tales of adventure recorded in this book have all the elements of a good, trashy Western movie: sexy cowboys, athletic mules, runaway horses, more sexy cowboys, western action, and flirty cowgirls with cleavage that are revved up on margaritas. True escapades that have happened around the summer, steamy barn and on the trail, humorous, and witty. Available in perfect bound and instant download.

The Adventures of Bronco Laura: True Tales of Hysteria from a Desperate Mid-West Housewife – Kindle edition by Roberts, Cindy K. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @

The Performance Bred Saddle Mule

Breeding of American Jackstock & Jennies

Introduction by Meredith Hodges, of the Lucky Three Ranch, Loveland, Colorado. Includes breeding contracts. Inaccuracies on breeding defined.

This book is dedicated to breeders, exhibitors, and the donkey and mule owners who strive for a better-performance breeding program that will favorably dominate the mule world.


In conclusion: educating the equine breeding industry is our responsibility to ensure a better future for the all-around saddle mule. In short, mules with good minds make safer mounts and mules with excellent conformation will stay in service longer as compared to those that are weak or lacking. This means, the mule will have a much better future to be in service. It is also critical to document and register the jack sires in the industry.

Overbreeding is not desirable; those dedicated to the professional mule industry are careful about their breeding standards. Mules destined for the kill pen is not a pretty picture.

The future for the performance-bred saddle mule is in our hands; the overwhelming support coming from the mule world is phenomenal! Let’s work together and keep it going! ~Cindy K. Roberts

Available in full color 8 1/2 x 11 perfect bound and instant download from Amazon books: The Performance Bred Saddle Mule: Breeding of American Jackstock & Jennies (Color Copy): Roberts, Cindy K, Hodges, Meredith: 9781796601664: Books

Life Lessons from a Rodeo Cowgirl

1994 World Champion Bull Rider, Melissa Phillips took life by the horns and rode her way to the top.

Her titles include:

  • 1985 Cowboys Regional Rodeo Association Best Dressed Cowgirl of the Finals.
  • 1992 Reserve World Champion
  • 1992 Rough Stock Rookie of the year
  • 1993 Women’s Pro Bull Riding Champion
  • 1994 Challenge of Champions—Invitational only
  • 1994 Reserve World Champion Bull Rider
  • 1995 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Nominee
  • 1995 National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Rough Stock Champion
  • 1996 Producer of 5 Bud Light Cowgirl Classics held at the Allen Ranch  Bixby, Oklahoma dedicated to Domestic Violence Intervention Service
  • 1996 Bud Light Cowgirl Classic Bull Riding Champion
  • 1997 1st Woman Bull Rider on Super Bull Tour
  • 1998 1st Woman Bull Rider World’s Toughest Tour
  • 2006 1st Woman Bull Rider Longhorn Rodeo Tour
  •  Rough Stock High Mark Ride of 3 Finals

Read her life story – available at Amazon books. Life Lessons from A Rodeo Cowgirl: Taking Life by The Horns: Roberts, Cindy K, Phillips, Melissa Geller: 9781523664627: Books

Life Lessons In the Saddle & Around the Manure Pile

Life Lessons in the Saddle & Around the Manure Pile

A collection of humorous horse and mule tales by Missouri cowgirl, Cindy K Roberts. Adventurous, true stories that took place on the trail, around the barn, and written straight from the heart. Hilarious recollections of mule antics that will keep you in stitches. Mule wrecks, stampedes, hair-raising stunts, and more! Available at Amazon – paperback or instant download! Life Lessons In The Saddle & Around The Manure Pile: Mule Tales of Whimsy from a Mid-Western Cowgirl: Roberts, Cindy K, Laura, Bronco: 9781469921105: Books

The Mule Behavior Problem Solver

Meredith Hodges, Steve Edwards, Tim Doud, Red & Julie Wycoff, Chris French, and Cindy K. Roberts discuss behavior issues. Over 60 behavior issues are addressed and how to retrain the mule to be safe and confident in his work. Complete information from professional mule trainers that addresses vices or undesirable habits developed in the mule due to ineffective or poor training. A thorough account of mule behavior, proper saddle fit, bridle fit, selecting bits, appropriate tack, and more! Excellent resource for the equine library.

  • 270 pages, full color 8 1/2 x 11 Book

Order here from Amazon Books: The Mule Behavior Problem Solver: How Mules Think, Learn and React: Roberts, Cindy K, Hodges, Meredith, Edwards, Steve, Doud, Tim, Wycoff, Red & Julie, French, Chris, Fergason, Lisa, McCue DVM, Patrick M: 9781481295024: Books


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