10 replies [Last post]
Offline
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined: 07/22/2004
Posts: 26
mules or horses

anyone have an opinion about using mules verses horses, or the other way around? I have been thinking about getting a mule for next years hunt. Any opinions would be great.

Offline
Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
mules or horses

I have used both for many years nothing can even come close to a mule's capabilities in the back country. The mules have numerous advantages over horses. Number one is they are a lot smarter than a horse. This trait is often mistaken as being stubborn by people that are not as smart as a mule. It also makes most mules harder to break to be a saddle mule, or a riding mule so to speak. I mean what animal in his right mind is going to let you cram a chunk of steel into their mouth and then let you get up on his back and kick him and jerk the reins ? This makes breaking and training of mules more difficult and accordingly more expensive. Another huge advantage is all four of their legs are the same length unlike a horse which has those weird looking short front legs. This makes for a smoother ride with a mule. None of that pounding you get from a horse especially on a down hill trail where the lack of length in horses front legs is intensified and really beats you to death. One example of this is when you are packing beer, If I am using a horse to carry my beer via saddle bags or wrapped in bundles or boxes and hitched to a saddle. The beer taken off the back of a mule can be opened immediately for drinking where the beer taken from the back of a horse after a days ride has to settle or it's going to spray when you pop the top. The mules also have a much smaller, narrower hoof as well as it is harder. This combined with the balanced legs allows the mule better footing in tuff rocky terrain. Also it makes for healthier hooves, less splitting and other related troubles one has with a wider hoof such as a horse has. I am assuming you may also not only want to ride this animal but possibly pack him as well. When it comes to packing the mules stand alone. When a pack animal has loads tied to it's back the animal becomes wider and at times taller. A person might not give this much thought but adding 3 to 4 feet of width effects clearances along the trails you choose to ride. Mules don't bump loads on trees like horse do. This saves the gear you may have in those loads from the abuse of being beaten into every other tree along the way as well as saving damage to your packing gear.
Keep in mind a rider also ad's width to the animal he rides and those bumps could be your knees sometimes. Another of my field tested examples is when one leaves a maintained trail with a string of say 9 pack animals and starts zig zagging through the timber if it's horses that you are pulling behind you your not going far before one horse goes around the opposite side of a tree that his co-worker in front of him has chosen. This of course causes a sever problem for the packer and every thing comes to an immediate halt until the situation is resolved. Well it don't happen with mules, I can cut through timber for miles and the mules pay attention and don't miss a beat. This is just a few of the advantages of working with mules vs. horses. I am sure you will find some one with a story about their horses being so smart they could stand on their heads while juggling tennis balls and I don't care. I have rode and packed hundreds of different mules and horses for more miles than most of you have on your cars and what I have stated here is proven fact. The only down side to mules are that few are broke to ride and when they are they are expensive, hell a good pack mule cost twice that of a good horse and saddle mules are more yet. Oh yeah.. another little flaw with mules is if you get one that kicks get rid of it. Mules place their kicks most often aiming above the waist when kicking at a man. A horse just kicks at you a mule picks his spot and connects, they can easily kick you in the head and kill you. One simple way to look at the differences in working with mules vs, horses is that a horse will work for you because he loves you a mule works for you because he has to. It's a relationship of respect and you have to earn theirs. Good luck and happy trails.
~Jeff~
http://www.jeffalaska.com

PreviewAttachmentSize
jeff.JPG
jeff.JPG85.29 KB
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 137
mules or horses

i would say this a good mule in the back country is worth its weight in gold. A bad mule is worth pi$$ing on if it was on fire. YOu can call it stubborn or smart or whatever you wish, but there is nothing more infuriating than a bad mule. And personally I've never noticed that a mule is one bit smarter than a horse. I would like to ascertain what criteria was used in determining the mental capacity of a mule as compared to a horse. I seen some horses and mules that seemed very intelligent. But, i've just as many of both breeds that where just plain dumb. I think the fairest statement is that mule seem to be a lot more sure footed, of course, at the leisurely pace that mules insist on traveling they can't help but be sure footed. lol

Offline
Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
Criteria

26 years making a living outta the saddle packing livestock , I have personally owned over 375 head of both horses and mules for the purpose of packing, riding and the combination of. I have broke more mules and horse for riding and packing than I can truly recall. Packed and rode many more animals than I have owned. I can make four to five miles an hour in the mountains with a string of mules that is use to doing so. All my stock experience has been in back country mountainous regions. I have worked with other outfitters as well as many packers and guides that ALL have shared similar opinions.
I've packed every species of big game that the rocky mountains have to offer multitudes of times as well as dead men and refrigerators and many items in between. I have never met a packer that while putting his string together for a days work and learning he has a horse to throw in with his mules that doesn't view this as a negative aspect for the day.
I had two mules given to me one day as I rode by this mans camp in the back country. Seems that the man was infuriated by what he viewed as bad mules. The man could not even get close to these animals and one was dragging a saddle. I caught them up and gave him his saddle back. Tossed them in with the rest of my string and they worked for me flawlessly for years. From what I observed of this man working with his stock his tactics were one of a demand for submission. This can be an effective way for some around horses but mules don't take to that shit. I have had saddle horses that I have worked off of for years that would do any thing for me, but none that I have rode have had the intellagence thats noted in mules.

~Jeff~

"A mans experiances are results of his methods"

PreviewAttachmentSize
greatbearwilderness.jpg
greatbearwilderness.jpg87.45 KB
bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
mules or horses
shatodavis wrote:
A bad mule is worth pi$$ing on if it was on fire.

Uhhh.... hmmmm.... yeah.... does that mean that any mule (even a bad one) is so valuable that its worth whipping out your pecker to save it from complete combustion?

Or does it mean that you should set bad mules on fire and then pee on them?

Why would a mule be on fire? If a mule was on fire, what on earth would make you think of peeing on it? I mean I can't imagine a mule on fire would actually sit still calmly waiting while you drained your main vein, in a rather weak attempt to be a fireman. So in reality you'd be chasing a burning mule through the hinterland, with your pants down, holding your bat-n-balls running furious trying to whiz on the beast.

If this has happened to you (or you've even witnessed it), your life is far more exciting than mine.

Big smile

Anyway, never used mules or horses, but it seems that people that spend any length of time packing-in-out over skinny trails prefer mules. Not as majestic as horses, but who cares? Your a hunter not a cowboy. Supposedly mules are easier to ride as well.

Offline
Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 137
mules or horses

I find it funny that when people have different opinions on something that people get very defensive. as to the not pissing on a burning mule reference was a figure of speach. I said that mules are very good. But, for someone to say that they are superior is wrong in my opinion. again its my opinion and I'm entitled to it. I don't give a damn what you have packed out or where you have packed it to/from. You can pack your mules up you damn ass for all I care. If you think that they are that much better then use them, I don't care. Opinions where asked for in the original post and I gave mine. Oh by the way I have trained horses for as long as I can remember, so the assesment of my "abilities" is unwarranted. I've seen my fair share of idiots trying to beat animals into submission. Its doesn't work well with horses either. Maybe you miss read my original post. I said there where good and bad in both species. I also said that a mule was worth its weight in gold. So I don't know why you got so defensive. And I have a hard time believing that someone would just up and give away mules, hell any idiot would haul them to the slaughter house and get a few bucks for them rather than just give them away.

I replied to this in good spirit, offered my opinions and through in a good natured joke. Maybe its been sunlight to long in alaska.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
mules or horses

shatodavis, I think Bitmasher was ribbing you a little because you said "A bad mule IS worth pissing on if it was on fire" I think the expression goes, "A bad mule ISN"T worth pissing on if it was on fire.

bitmasher's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
mules or horses

Yeah it was just a joke. Pee and burning mules in one sentence was too much to pass up.

Offline
Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
mules or horses

Welcome to the forums here at Biggame Hunt shatodavis.

~Jeff~
I've neither pissed upon nor burned any mules so my input here is limited.
We must remember this started with a man considering the purchase of a mule. Now he's probably afraid they may catch fire, you still with us maveric?

Offline
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined: 07/22/2004
Posts: 26
mules or horses

Mav's still here and laughing his butt off. You guys are quite humorous. But thanks for the advice. I have heard that mules were not as fragile as horses. They were a little more sturdier, and, for a lack of better words, "easier" to take care of. Someone let me know if my info is wrong. I have also heard that a mule broke for riding was tons more money than a mule "pack broke" Is there any truth to my info?

Offline
Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
mules or horses
maveric wrote:
Someone let me know if my info is wrong. I have also heard that a mule broke for riding was tons more money than a mule "pack broke" Is there any truth to my info?

Very true, You may get lucky and run across a deal some where. Where I do my horse trading I'd pay a thousand dollars for a good horse where a good mule would go for 3500.00 and up. Keep your fingers crossed and you may run across that infuriated guy with the mule thats smarter than he is. If you have an extra halter along you may ride home for free Wink

~Jeff~

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Packing With horses or Mulespredatorhunter1403/30/2006 23:16 pm
Pack Stockexbiologist1610/30/2009 09:46 am
East elk bowhunt on horses???huntingal39408/15/2007 13:03 pm
horses for packingnebugle1802/26/2011 17:39 pm
Horses & Elkginkgo721404/27/2008 05:27 am