Evasion Tactic – Ducking Out

Hey Cindy,

I have had this mule since she was 2 years old, I have broken a shoulder while dismounting but will not blame my mule…funny story. She is 7 now and my best friend for life. Molly has won halter classes and starting on pleasure classes. My question is how to stop these right-hand turns she makes when she feels threatened or is not willing to agree with me. Can you give me advice so I can help her? She does everything else asked of her with no problem.

Thank you, Pam

Hi Pam,

Your mule lacks confidence in certain areas and it could be that you made a pet out of your mule. Making right-hand turns or “ducking out” to avoid completing a request is what the mule will do when they are lacking in confidence. It could be that you are not being clear in your request, and your mule doesn’t understand. It could be that your mule needs more foundation work to be confident and able to perform the task. Always be clear and consistent with your requests.

Working on the lead line properly and focusing on the handler is required since day one when working with mules. This has to be established in order to progress in your schooling with your mule. And, mules look for leadership since they are prey animals. 

Your mule doesn’t respect you as being the leader.  Harsh corrections are not going to solve this issue.  Seven is the age when the mule is mature and should be willing and confident provided he/she had positive and effective schooling. Confidence Training for The Western Saddle Mule will enable you to move forward with your mule’s schooling. 

Work on her foundation training to establish confidence and move forward from that. Keep a positive, working relationship going with your mule and she will look forward to learning and pleasing you. Thanks for writing and let me know how things work out. 


Thank you for your advice . You may be right, we both lack confidence; me being fearful of getting hurt again . My mule gives me all she has when I ask her to, but, when a man gets too close that’s when the right-turn evasion tactic happens, but we will keep working on it .

Thank you again. Pam.

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 in keeping the cowgirl spirit alive.


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