Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How The Tenacious Mule Conquered The West But Lost The Popular Vote

February 22, 2017
   Working hard on the history of mules, the psychology of mules all the while, fighting the prevalent mule prejudice. Fortunately, I have some good sources for solid information, like Lee Anderson, who knows his stuff.


Lee Anderson On Zelda

Lee sends me tidbits almost every day, like this:

Mules Go Long Time
   "According to a chart in Manual Of Pack Transportation that shows loads and rates of travel practicable for a well seasoned pack train, mules loaded with 200 pounds of supplies could travel 25 miles a day at 8 miles per hour for 7 consecutive days. At 6 miles per hour the same mules with the same loads could travel one hundred miles a day for for 3 consecutive days,or at 5 miles per hour the mules could travel 25 miles a day for 365 consecutive days.

    "If traveling with the cavalry,pack mules could not keep up with the horses for the initial fifteen miles but were pushing them at thirty miles and had the horses at their mercy in a march of 75 miles in a 24 hour period.

   "According to Crook's long time adjutant, Captain Bourke, the care packers gave their mules equaled, 'almost that given to the average baby'. The mule, Bourke added, responded to such attentions".

   "Female, or Molly, mules were preferred. They were considered more manageable, easier to train, and had a more pleasant disposition, Male mules, jacks, were nearly always gelded due to the fact that they usually behaved worse than stallions. They were extremely hard to control and usually considered dangerous and unreliable.


The Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad, right, on his trusty mule, getting set to embark
 into the Sierra Madres of Old Mexico in 1936. Both his guide and Apache scouts, were
mounted on mules as well. Many believe Ingstad found the Apache Kid's daughter.


   "Even when an army mule couldn't see the bell mare it would follow the sound of the bell. Should the bell mare happen to be killed the mules would become completely disoriented. Many army packers insisted mules would express grief that was almost human.

   "A mule could be larger than either parent.

   "Hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people know who Trigger and Champion were but, how many know who 583R and 9YLL were? They were known by army packers and troopers as Trotter and Hambone and were the last two pack mules mustered out of the army with full military honors and recognition on 15  December 1956 at Fort Carson, Colorado. 

   "Trotter became the official mascot for cadets at the U.S.Military Academy at West Point, New York.

   "Hambone was an extraordinary jumper. He never lost a mule jumping contest and at Fort Carson, Colorado in 1950, jumping against horses, he bested all but the first place winner."
—Lee Anderson

"Perhaps there is no other animal so much abused, or so little cared for. Popular opinion of his nature has not been favorable; and he has had to plod and work through life against the prejudices of the ignorant."
—Muleskinner Harvey Riley, 1867

1 comment:

  1. Thank you BBB for a mule post! The book by Harvey Riley (quoted at the end) is titled, appropriately enough, The Mule. It is still the best book available about picking and training mules. Riley oversaw the mules headed out west in Washington, DC and in his treatise on the mule, may actually have been the first whistleblower. At any given time he had as many as 10,000 mules under his wing. He knew the mule. Best, Deb and the longears

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