How to Buy a Mule & Not Get Screwed

The Buying Process
Just how do you buy a mule, horse or donkey without getting screwed? It’s certainly not like going to the local dealership to buy a truck, where you select the gear package, pick out a color, test drive it and take it home. Buying a mule can be so involved and shopping alone for a good one is like searching for the Holy Grail. Buying a truck is so much easier! Trucks don’t get parking lot sour and they don’t form strong attachments to other trucks.
I have learned that most new buyers are not comfortable with dealing with a seller when buying a mule, horse or donkey. High pressure sales people can be obnoxious to deal with and this makes the buying experience unpleasant. The smooth talking salesmen can be so slick that an uneducated buyer can walk away with a mule that is not exactly what they had in mind to begin with.
Buying a mule is a skill set and yes, you can learn it; especially since I wrote the book on it! I will take you through each step on making a smart purchase; you will have the knowledge on how to close a deal and walk away a winner because you bought your mule with better judgment. You will be more confident during the buying process and you won’t be second guessing yourself on your recent mule purchase. You feel better already, don’t you? I know I do, because I see many mistakes being made by both the buyer and the seller; this can be critical to the new mule owner and the mule where neither come out ahead.
It doesn’t do the mule any justice to be placed in the hands of an unqualified owner. The outcome for a mule handler that is lacking confidence and a higher skill set makes it into a risky situation. I have seen new mule owners get hurt while attempting to work with their new mule; including the barn help that offered their expertise or services during the handling process. In addition, I have seen mules get hurt due to a new mule owner or trainer that used their own methods in their attempt to manage the new mule.
I would like to see changes in the mule industry. I would like to see more educated trainers and handlers in the business. I am hopeful that in time there will be more qualified mule buyers and professional sellers qualifying their buyer before taking their check. That is where this book comes in; it will help to educate the buyer and improve the business transaction between buyer and seller. Let’s learn about seller techniques so you the buyer at least have a sporting chance at mule buying.

The private seller

  • Reasons individual parties may sell a mule:
  • 1. The mule is more than they can handle.
  • 2. The mule developed bad habits while on their watch. Meaning – the mule owner allowed the habit to develop, which means the owner contributed to the problem
  • 3. The mule was not worked with; was allowed to “settle” in with the herd. This created herd sour, not bonding with the new owner.
  • 4. The mule jumped fences, new owner did not have appropriate setup for this type of mule that liked to wander.
  • 5. The mule did something wrong due to discomfort – the owner did not catch on to the mule communicating this until the mule had enough. (ex. bucking, kicking out, running through the bridle.)
  • 6. Heat cycles were an issue with riding/handling.
  • 7. The seller is unable to show leadership to the mule (leadership, i.e. not control) and cannot develop a partnership.
  • 8. Mule does not trailer well.
  • 9. The mule spooks from various situations which requires an experienced handler to work with the mule in developing his confidence.
  • 10. The owner may leave for college or taken ill.

Author: Cindy K Roberts

Cindy K. Roberts has a lifetime experience with training horses and mules; riding the family pony at age 2 was the beginning. Her grandfather, Lieutenant Wilton Willmann a sharpshooter and muleskinner of the U.S. Army Cavalry (stationed in Fort Riley, Camp Perry, Fort Leavenworth circa 1924) gifted her with the insight on mules; and the desire to study and work with them. Shooting firearms and working with horses and mules was desired and expected in the family. Cindy is host of Mule Talk! The podcast about mules. She enjoys the western way of life, educating new mule owners in working with their own mules, hosting mule events, and documenting her own adventures to keep the cowgirl spirit alive.


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