Sowhatchet Mule Farm, Inc.

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Q: What is a mule?
A: A mule is a cross between a female horse, a mare, and a male donkey, a jack. The opposite cross, breeding a male horse, a stallion, to a female donkey, a jenny results in a hinny.

Q: Why are mules sterile?
A: Both mules and hinnys are thought to be sterile due to the chromosome (genetic material) make up of their parents. A horse has 32 chromosome pairs and a donkey has 31 pairs. When you mate two animals of different species, such as a horse and donkey you take half the # of pairs. So, the mule inherents 32 chromosomes (not pairs) from the horse, the mare, it’s mother or dam and 31 chromosomes from it’s sire, or father the jack. That results in 63 chromosomes or 31 ½ pairs because one pair is left over from the horse. When the fertilization takes place and the chromsomes pair together to share information to build the new baby mule. Well, when the two different species are mated not all of the chromosomes pair together or are “homologus.” Only 19 of the 63 chromosomes can correspond information and pair together. This is believed to contribute to why the mule is sterile. Male mules do produce sperm and female mules do produce ovums or eggs. Although the sperm cells and eggs are normally infertile because they are not fully mature possibly due to the pairing of the chromosomes being incomplete and lacking genetic codes to complete the maturation process. Also, female mules do have estrous cycles and male mules can bred.

Q: Can mules have offspring?
A: Yes. Mules can carry foals and produce milk (female mules that is-). It is thought that more mules maybe able to reproduce if more mules were bred. But most people do not even try to breed mules. Mules that have foaled have been bred to stallions and or jacks.

Q: What do you call a female and male mule?
A: A male mule is referred to as a Horse mule (especially in the eastern part of the country) or a john mule in the mid-to western part of the U.S. A female mule is referred to as a mare mule (again in the east) and a molly in the mid- to western part of the country. Several years ago both john and molly were laymen or slang terms to referring to the sex of a mule.

Q: What do you call a female and male donkey?
A: A female donkey is referred to as a jenny or jennett. A male donkey is a jack. A castrated male donkey is called a cut-jack or a gelding donkey.

Q: Do you need to castrate male mules?
A: Yes! Castrating male mules will improve their personality and normally make them less aggressive due to removing the testicles which produce testosterone.

Q: What is a Gaited Mule?
A: A gaited mule is a mule that performs a gait other than a trot that is smooth, normally a 4 beat gait, and is WONDERFUL to ride. Gaited mules can walk, rack, fox trot (which is a two beat, diagonal gait), pace, or perform gaits similar to a Paso fino horse.

Q: What is the difference in a Walking Mule and a Racking Mule?
A: A walking mule and a racking mule perform a smooth, 4- beat, lateral gait. A trot or jog is a 2-beat gait that is normally not as smooth as a running walk or flat walk. A racking mule also has a 4- beat gait but the complete opposite foot fall sequence of that of the walking mule. The racking mule some times thought of as a “single foot” is named that because one single foot is left on the ground during the sequence of movement. The walking mule is the complete opposite, three feet on the ground and the walking mule has the noted knodding of the head in sequence and timing of the gait. Both are smooth and enjoyable to ride.

Q: What gaits does a walking mule or racking mule perform?
A: A walking mule performs the flat walk, the running walk, and the canter. Yes, they can canter! The canter is very smooth, a three beat gait and often referred to as the rocking chair canter. A racking mule typically has a slow rack, style rack, and if you are showing they may ask for a speed rack or fast rack. All of these gaits are simply the same gait at an elevated speed.

Q: Can I breed a walking horse to a jack and get a gaited mule?
A: Well, that’s a start but remember the first question about produce a mule and the chromosome deal? Well, it’s not that simple. The jack is equally important and you can increase your chances of producing a gaited mule by breeding to a gaited donkey, jack.

Q: Can I show and trail ride my mule?
A: Yes. Most definitely. Mules are noted for their versatility and we recommend you showing and enjoying your mule on the trail. Shows are located all across the country for gaited mules. The craze and popularity of these mules are spreading everywhere. The two largest shows for gaited mules are Bishop Mule Days, Bishop, CA and the Great Celebration Mule Show, Shelbyville, TN. Many state fairs are adding gaited mule classes to their show sheets.

Q: Can I register my gaited mule?
A: Yes. The Walking and Racking Mule and Donkey Association was established in 1979. The association offers registration services for mules and donkeys, supplies list of judges for shows, offers trainers cards, and has an extensive set of rules for gaited mules that can be used at a show near you. The association also hosts clinics and seminars on gaited mules to help people better understand the unique animal.

Q: Where can I get more information on mules and donkeys such as training, breeding, or current longear events?
A: Try these mule magazines and their websites:

Q: Where can one find information on how to train or take care of mules and donkeys?
A: Check out the following website, www.luckythreeranch.com, Meredith Hodges from Loveland, CO owns the Lucky Three Ranch and has many wonderful videos and books available. She also has a show weekly on the RFD TV channel on training mules and donkeys. Also, check out this website, www.asspenranch.com, for more information on training donkeys, Crystal Ward of Placerville, CA is famous for training donkeys and has a video/DVD out now on the basic care, health, and training of donkeys from minatures to mammoths.

Q: What if I want unique donkey and mule gifts, art, jewelry, glassware, etc?
A: Check out this site, www.themulestore.com, for all of your donkey and mule apparal, home decor, and accessories.

For our most current mules for sale check out, www.longearsmall.com.

For show quality miniature donkeys go to: www.wolfheartranch.com.

To browse the world's largest horse marketplace visit: www.equine.com.

The latest pictures of the Bishop Mule Days 2005 can be found here: www.mustangs4us.com/muledays.htm.

Home Information New Arrivals
Mules for Sale Donkeys for Sale Walking & Racking
Mule & Donkey Assoc.
Show Mules Show Results Mickey Mouse Club
Saddles Articles Gaited Horses/TWH Mares
Links Accomplishments Contact Us