Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Mule Savvy Vaquero Explains The Superiority of A Mexican Mule With A Donkey Mother

February 8, 2017
   Knee deep in Mule Skin Nation. And wouldn't you know it would involve the Father of our Country.

A Borax Mule Team Train On The Move

   One of the things most Western movies don't get right is the mix of horses, mules and donkeys being used for mounts. We have been conditioned by so many Westerns where everyone is riding a horse, we have lost site of the reality. Like this:

The Donkey Patrol, 1890s

   And, of course, in the real Old West the mules came in all sizes.

Andrew Jr. 217,  first-prize two-year-old American Jack, 1906

   One of the odd outcomes of the cross pollination is that the offspring are larger than the parents.

   Most people know a mule is the end result of a horse and a donkey making whoopie. But, the variations are tricky, and quite astounding. For example, in the mountains of Baja, California, the vaqueros there prefer a mule that is born from a female donkey who has mated with a stud horse (the offspring is known as a hinny). Why do they prefer hinnys?

"In the U.S. they prefer the horse mother with the burro father. In Baja, we only have mules from burro mothers. They are a bit slower, but they last longer. They don't tire like those of mares. They also have better, stronger hoofs. They walk carefully in the rocks. They are also easier to feed. They will eat mesquite. dipuga, palo verde. Almost any branches. Mules from mares will stop and leave you on foot. This mule [he's being interviewed while he rides] will go three or four days without drinking any water. And when it gets cold, he will last even longer without water. Muchos Dios (many days).

A Baja Jack Keeps Going And Going And Going. . .

"It can be hard on a mule born from a horse because his feet are spread out wider. That's not good on the rocks. In loose rocks, he falls on his face. And these (pointing to his mount), No. These are better because they handle the worst rocks—like a four by four. Like a Toyota."
—A Mule Savvy Vaquero, in the documentary "Vaquero Corizon" (Heart of the Cowboy)

"The ancestry of the ass may be traced to the wild ass of Asia and Africa. The males are usually termed 'jacks,' and the females 'jennets.'"
—Types And Breeds of Farm Animals, by Charles S. Plumb


  1. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Bob are you sure????????????????///

    The statement "Most people know a mule is the end result of a horse making love to a donkey" is not exactly accurate. That mating give you a Hinny. To get a mule you must have a donkey jack bred to a horse mare. We are told that mules are sterile and many think that hinny are sterile too but some Hinny are not. I once wrangled a Hinny in Colorado on a dude string of equine. As a young man on my first job with USDA I rode quite a bit from Uvalde to the Pecos River. I preferred a mule to a horse as I was not familiar with that country at the time.

  2. Well, this is very confusing. Okay, so if a male horse makes love to a female donkey you get a "Hinny," what is the Baja vaquero referring to when he says they only take mules from female donkeys?

  3. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Read it again, the vaquero says it correctly.


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