Mule or standard donkey

Bunnylady

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It's really not fair to call donkeys and mules stubborn; what they have is a very well developed sense of self-preservation, and a determination to think for themselves. Training one basically involves being very clear about what you want it to do, and waiting until it decides it is safe to do it. They generally are pretty cooperative with a person that they have learned to trust, but if you really ramp up the pressure, they are more likely to fight you rather than just "cave" like most horses do. On the continuum of the "fight or flight" response, a horse is generally more "flight," the donkey is more likely to stand and fight.

When I first got Betsy, my mini mule, she'd had a lot of rough handling, and we had a lot of trust issues to work through. I especially remember the matter of working on her feet. She wasn't too bad about the front feet, but she was really protective of her hind feet, particularly the right one. One day, I was trying to get the right hind foot picked out and rasped a little bit, and she was having none of it. At first, I tried to hang onto the foot and calmly wait her out, like I would with a pony. No dice - typical longear, she escalated. I found myself trying to hold onto her right hind foot and supporting the weight of her entire back end as she hoisted the left hind foot and tried to kick me with it. That's the point at which I decided that this really wasn't going to work, and I needed a different game plan. I told her,"look. You may be half donkey, but I'm half Dutch; you ain't got nothin' on me for stubborn. If you must have the foot back, I will let you have it back before you have a cow about it, but understand, I'm gonna pick it right back up again. If I have to pick it up twenty times, I will, but it isn't done until I say it's done." Some days, I wondered if she was counting to see if I really meant twenty, because we'd go up, down, up, down, up, down . . . and it's a long way down to where a mini keeps its feet, y'know? But she learned that having her feet handled really wasn't a threat, and she also learned that I am pretty darned persistent when I want to be.

My mini mule reads me so well that at times, I'd swear she is psychic. When I was first training her, I would be lunging her, and think, "OK, another half way around and we'll . . . ." and she would already have stopped; she saw the subtle change in my body language and responded before I could "cue" her. One time, I went to the fence with a banana peel that I was going to give to a goat. The mule was closer to me than the goat at the time (this was before I learned that they like bananas, too!), and I drew my arm back and shifted my weight to throw the peel, then changed my mind and waited for the goat to walk up to me. During the split second of that unfinished movement, the mule started to spook at the object that I almost threw, and realized as quickly as I did that I wasn't going to throw it, so she basically jumped and landed in her own footprints. I'm telling you, that animal reads my mind . . . . rather spooky, but somehow endearing; if I had to get rid of all but one, she'd be the one I'd keep. I tell her she's first in my herd, and first in my heart.:love

I remember seeing an article about a trail ride that goes down into the Grand Canyon; all of the animals used on it are mules. The guy who guides the ride won't work with anything else. As he explained, mules are very sure-footed, so they won't get themselves into trouble. Also, a horse could be bullied or panicked into stepping off of the trail with possibly fatal consequences, but a mule just won't go there, no matter what its rider does.
 
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Bruce

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Sounds like it would be a lot more affordable to get a "southern" donkey and trailer it up with the goats instead of an overpriced AK donkey.
 

TAH

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Okay, so it looks like we are going to get a horse but I have a few questions!

I had a rescue horse for 5-months, she was 16-hands tall and around 1100-pounds and ate literality a TON of food. The deal is the horse has to be 14-hands tall, weigh 700-750-pounds, and be a good beginner's horse. There are lots of Morgan horses for sale here in Alaska so I am leaning towards a Morgan. I am looking into just a trail/pleasure riding the horse and doesn't mind a good run here and there. I am 119-pounds and am 5'2 and all my siblings are smaller than me. Whatever we get will either be a gelding or a mare.

What other breeds should I consider?
 

Mini Horses

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If you have ever dealt with longears, you know . . . . at some point, you will realize that they have those wise eyes for a reason. They see more and know more than you do.
So, so true. Bunnylady is also quite correct about their not being "stubborn" BUT they sure are cautious!! They are not slow to respond -- they are sizing up safety and reasoning. I will add that they have a memory like an elephant! Always be kind and very patient, they will reward you. Guarding can vary greatly between individuals but, they can be intense with it at times, as the example given with the intro of a breeder to a herd. If it is not the donkeys "herd member", there will be trouble!

I've ridden the mules down the Grand Canyon, they don't even pay attention to the reins. You just sit and enjoy because "they do what they do" on that trail!

As to horses, I love a good Morgan. They remind me a lot of an Arab -- my favorite! -- and choice depends on purpose of use as much as availability. Morgans can be nice riding and driving. Many were used for light plowing on smaller farms in years past. Not as many around anymore.
 

TAH

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well, I have decided on a horse. :)

We are moving to a bit of acreage and a horse is a lot more reasonable than a mule/donkey... unless mule comes up for sale for under $3000.

I am wanting small- 12-13hands tall (sis thinks i should get one that is 16 hands or taller, lol). I feel intimidated by big animals.
 

Baymule

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I have a 13 hand gelding and a 16 hand gelding. Both are calm and gentle. You get the horse that makes you comfortable.
 
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Bruce

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Yeah, you need a horse that fits under you. Too big or too small just doesn't cut it!
 
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