Monday, October 28, 2013

National Mule Day | Monday Mischief


I owe an apology to mules and mule lovers.  National Mule Day was October 26.  Unfortunately, I was too busy celebrating Pit Bull dogs (National Pit Bull Awareness Day) to celebrate mules.  However, in the spirit of better late than never and, as a fan of all equine, especially mules, I've decided to do some celebrating today.

National Mule Day marks the arrival of a special Spanish donkey to our country.

In addition to being a passionate American Foxhound dog breeder, George Washington is often called the "father of the American mule."  According to Our White House here's how the story goes:

In 1785, when King Charles III of Spain heard that General Washington, at home in Mount Vernon, was looking for the finest jackasses in the world to mate with his mares to create “super mules,” he sent Washington two of his best Spanish donkeys.
Only one survived the cross-Atlantic journey, landing safely in Boston. With meticulous care, Washington personally planned its arrival at Mount Vernon, making sure that his mares had lived a celibate existence so that they would warmly welcome their “foreign affair.” The regal jackass—Washington named him Royal Gift—was not at all pleased with the proffered country bumpkins and made no attempt to seal the deal.  

As frustrated as the poor mares, the creative Mr. Washington decided to trick Royal Gift.  He used a female donkey to capture the attention of the Spanish jackass, then, at just the right moment, pulled a switch substituting the femme fatale donkey with one of his Virginian mares. 

The ploy worked and by 1799 there were fifty-seven new mules at Mount Vernon. Washington farmed them out across the country to improve the nation’s stock and as a result many of the best mules today can trace their lineage back to old Royal Gift and George Washington’s mares.
Our mammoth jack, Mr. Jones

For those not in the know, mules are the result of breeding a male donkey (jack) to a female horse.   When a female donkey (jennet) is bred with a male horse (stallion) the result is a hinny.   Male mules are called horse mules or johns;  female mules are called mare mules or mollies.

Our john mule, Clyde meeting Spanky

Stubborn like a mule?  I prefer: smart as a mule.  While a horse's first impulse is to flee from danger, a mule will often freeze and refuse to move when danger is sensed.  Mule (and donkeys) will think about the situation and figure out the safest response.  Frankly, the mules I've known are often smarter than a lot of people I've met!

Yep, that's me driving a four-up of mules:  Molly, Nellie, Frank and Jesse
There's probably more mischief ahead... I really need to feature a mule song on Dog Song Saturday!

Thank you to Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, and My Brown Newfies for hosting Monday Mischief!   

23 comments:

  1. Ive always liked mules, they are just so cute!

    urban hounds

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  2. National Mule Day...there's a day for everything isn't there. Thanks for teaching us a bit about mules though!

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  3. That's awesome you drove that team of mules. how cool!!

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    1. Thanks :-) We farm with horses and mules, so I've done plenty of driving :-)

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  4. Wow that last pic is super cool, I had to read it twice to believe it! :) My Mum thinks I'm stubborn as a mule sometimes, I just think I'm cute like a Mule! :)

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy :)

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    1. Though riding is fun, I love driving equine :-) And if you're stubborn like a mule, that means you're very smart, Snoopy!

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  5. We love mules around here. In Columbia, TN there's always the Mule Day celebration every year: http://muleday.org/ and I live in the same county as the famous Reese Brother's Mules: http://www.reesemules.com/ who were the main suppliers of mules for Afghanistan during 1979-1989 in the war against the Russians. You always hear the saying "Stubborn as a mule," but despite their refusal to move to work sometimes, they are usually calmer than horses. And you can't help but giggle at their "HeeHaws."

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    1. We thoroughly enjoyed the big Mule Day celebration in Columbia a few years back and have attended some of the Reese Bros sales :-) Great mule "country!" Nothing like waking up go a rousing hee haw :-)

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  6. That was very interesting! Did not know about all that! Especially the George Washington part! I have I have never personally known a mule or donkey, but I think they have the sweetest faces!

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    1. Sweet faces and lots of personality :-)

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  7. We never know what we are going to learn when we start reading blogs. Thanks for all the information of mules that we did not know. We will look at them differently from now on. My only experience was riding one down into the Grand Canyon. I got very fond of him since my life was in his hands...hooves.

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    1. There's a reason places like the Grand Canyon use mules and donkeys. Not only are they sure-footed, but they're very smart about staying safe. And, obviously, if they're safe, the rider is, too :-)

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  8. OMD... National Mule Day!! There's a day for everything! I've always thought mules were so cute! What a great story!! I know jackass is a proper term for a donkey, but seeing "regal jackass" just cracks me up. And one more OMD! I did NOT know you had mules!! What an awesome photo of you driving four mules!! Awesome!!!

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    1. Okay, I'd like to add that I think I used too many exclamation points. And I said awesome twice... should have said "amazing photo". Guess I was getting carried away... who knew I was so enthusiastic about mules? lol

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    2. Hey! No apology needed... I appreciate your enthusiasm! We've farmed with draft horses and mules for many years. They're are partners, members of the family, and definitely awesome :-)

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  9. My mom is not a big horse fan, but she loves mules and donkeys, fun post!

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  10. I used to have a mule that we took out to colorado each year for a pack mule on our elk hunt. He was a nasty SOB but he did one hell of a job packing. We had a love hate relationship. When we stopped going outwest we found him a home with someone who still went out there. He was a cool tri colored mule named festus.

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  11. Well Happy National Mule Day to you! I had no idea!

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  12. Interesting story. I never knew that before!

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  13. What a great story. No wonder they call him the father of this country. ;-)

    Is it true that mules cannot reproduce? I'm sure I can google that, but I'm just lazy.

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    1. Mules are sterile and cannot reproduce. So says science. However, once in a blue moon, a mule will give birth. My theory is that science is not always in charge :-)
      In addition, though sterile, they do sometimes enjoy a little recreational sex!

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