Knee deep in Mule Skin Nation. And wouldn't you know it would involve the Father of our Country.
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:
"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).
"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