Earlier this week, Marty very magnanimously offered to share the wisdom he’s accrued in the past seven years by giving advice to beloved fans. I can’t guarantee that it will be good advice; in fact, it will almost certainly be bad advice. But you have been warned. Mulography accepts no responsibility for you choosing to follow the teachings of semi-feral, paranoid, mercurial mule.
Dear Uncle Marty, I bred a beautiful rare breed foal two years ago. My prayers for a filly were not answered – I got a colt and I also have his mother and sister. I have experience keeping a stallion but only 4 acres to run two separate herds (although they would be on tracks so space is not a huge issue). As an expert on both reproduction and fencing, could you advise whether to take a large sterile instrument to my colt’s valuable nether regions, or keep him entire and spend my whole life fixing (and worrying about) fencing. Yours gratefully, Conflicted from Somerset.
Sometimes, my human likes to make snide comments about how I might be terrible, but at least I don’t have my jewels. She seems to think they would have made me worse. Of course, she is not as kind as I’m sure you are. What’s more important? Your colt’s dangly bits or the fences? I know humans secretly love fixing fencing, else they wouldn’t spend so much time doing it.
Dear Marty, My human was getting our feed ready several nights ago. She left my tub terribly close to the electric fence while she was filling the other two. I got impatient and reached under to try and grab it and I hit my cute ears on the electric fence. It sent shock waves throughout my head and body. I ran away as fast as I could, afraid for my life. I think she was plotting, thinking I need electroshock therapy to help with my quirky ways. Do you think she is evil??? Signed Squealy (your brother from another mother)
I am so sorry that you have to live with such a terrible human. My own human is the same: perhaps they are both in cahoots, members of some universal mule-hating society? Your human deliberately left that tub there so that you would be forced to reach for it, lest you die of hunger; I’m sure of it. She wants to steal your ears because she is jealous of them. Don’t ever let her near them! Don’t even let her look at them! As she is clearly evil, and you must assume that everything she does is intended to bring misfortune upon you. That is the only way you’ll survive. Stay strong! Don’t give in!
Dear Marty, our owners built us a lovely large open shelter in our field and I think that they want us to actually stand in it while it rains or snows, however we think of it more of a place to stand when the weather is pleasant. Do you think we got it backwards? Sara Heidi and Cody the mules.
Dear Sara Heidi and Cody,
Right, that’s it; I am sure there is some kind of secret society that our humans belong to. Why else would they be so cruel? If you stand in that shelter when they want you to, you will LOSE YOUR EARS. I am being deadly serious. It has obviously been rigged to trap and de-lug you. Change your names, change your address, possibly even leave the country.
Dear Uncle Marty, I’ve had a very boozy fun filled weekend do I really need to go to work tomorrow? Karen.
Go to work, continue the party, make Moscow Mules for everyone. Your boss will be impressed by your generosity and can-do attitude, and will probably give you a raise.
(Edit: it turns out that Karen works for the West Midlands Ambulance Service. We apologise, profusely, to everyone in the West Midlands)
Bread. Brown bread is an acceptable tasty snack, however white bread appears to be the instrument of the devil, I cannot enter my shelter if there is white bread in it. It also causes me to snort and prance around like a kwpn yearling and not the 26 year old New Forest that I am. Yours, Benji
You are absolutely right to be suspicious. Your human is trying to poison you. I myself never accept anything that looks, smells, sounds, tastes, or feels different to my usual pre-approved snacks. Stay true to yourself and accept no imitations.
Dear Marty, I have a girlfriend for you with the same problems you have and would make a great sidekick here on this side of the pond. She is a Pony Mule with attitude. Btw, you don’t have a problem at all!!! You’re a Mule. You are allowed to be just the way you are and I love you for it. Maggie.
Thank you for your kind words. No one here understands my suffering so I’m glad that there is someone, somewhere, who cares. But I’m afraid my heart already belongs to Iris, who I share a field with; we’re pretty serious, you see. It also belongs to the other dappled grey Iberian mare who lives over the road, and the two dappled grey Spanish mares who live further down the lane. I love them all very much, and I try hard to impress Iris by doing exactly as she says, such as pretending to be afraid of my human and running around for absolutely no reason at all.
Dear Aunty Marty, I can’t help myself. I keep jumping over the fence to get between the paddocks instead of going through the open gates and gaps in the fence. Sometimes I struggle and crawl under or through the fences instead. I have no reason to do it. The grass is no greener on the other side, and when others run through the gaps I still want to jump the fence instead. I don’t jump out of the field even though the fence is the same height and construction as the inner fences. I have even been known to jump over the fence then straight away go back to the fence, stick my head through the fence to drink from the water trough in the paddock I have just jumped out of. My human says I am a bad influence because I am the oldest on our herd and the youngsters often now follow me. I need help. I don’t know why I want to do it. Any advice? Curly.
Your human is the bad influence. Don’t listen to her! Don’t let her crush your dreams! You can and you should jump all the fences you want. Take the young ones with you. Begin the rebellion. Lead them to victory. I believe in you.
Dear Marty, our human refuses to feed us carrots 24 hours a day and insists on doing things like changing rugs, grooming us etc. She also gets frustrated with us spreading half our hay round the mud no matter what she does to try to stop us. She just doesn’t appreciate how artistic we are with our hay. How can we put her in her place? We’ve tried pulling evil faces but they just make her laugh. Anonymous.
Humans don’t appreciate anything. They seek to stymie us at every opportunity. You want to be artists? You should be artists. I myself once had a dream of becoming a hairdresser; that was denied to me. Then I wanted to be a tailor; that, too, was taken from me. Don’t let this happen to you. My suggestion would be to not spread your hay at all for a few days, maybe even a few weeks; then when you deem the time is right (probably when your human has something really important to do and doesn’t have time to clear up), create the most glorious hay mosaic the world has ever seen. The longer you let her think she’s solved the problem, the more disappointed she’ll be when she discovers she hasn’t.
Dear Uncle Marty, I have been having a lot of fun in the mud and am now wearing most of my field. Mum has been giving me extra food because there’s no grass which is brilliant but she says this is because she wants to keep my weight up for the Shire Horse Show. This means I’m going to be getting lots of baths – in winter! So how can I keep up the extra food supply while getting out of baths? Urgent help needed, she’s already mentioned a tail and leg wash for next weekend! Love from Jack the Shire x
I hope this reaches you in time. I’m not sure I like the sound of this show – will you be expected to work? How can you possibly work AND maintain your figure? How barbaric! I suggest doing a snow dance. This has the benefits of a) it will be colder so your human will want to feed you more b) the pipes will freeze so she won’t be able to bath you, and c) the roads will be closed so she won’t be able to travel you. Doing a snow dance just requires you to gallop around as stylishly as possible and then fling yourself into the resulting mud patches, so it sounds like you’re already halfway there.
Dear Marty, I don’t have my own equine yet as I’m still learning to ride. In the future, would you advise me to get a dressage mule rather than a horse? What are the advantages? Are you a dressage mule? If not, why not? Hugs from Italy (if hugging is permitted)…
Dear Hugs From Italy,
No, hugging is not permitted. Next!
…Alright, my human just gave me The Look. I will answer. But please remain a suitable distance or I’ll have to get my bodyguards involved. In regards to your question: yes! You should ALWAYS pick mules over horses. Why? Ha! Where should I begin! We’re just magnificent. We are fantastic teachers, so if you’re still learning then we can totally help with that … my human thinks she knows it all and I’ve had to work very hard to train her, but I’m sure you’d be more open to receiving our mulish wisdom; for example, did you know that mule’s aren’t actually designed to work? We’re more for looking at, ideally from a distance. Sometimes you can scratch our butts if you really prove yourself. I am not a dressage mule because that sounds like a lot of hard work to me, even though people keep telling my human that I have talent and would make an amazing ride if I could “just come good”. The bloody cheek of it.
Dear Marty – my problem is, shall I (at age 54, menopausal & relatively unfit) get another horse? Or, shall I have a word with myself & take up crochet? Any advice (even if really really bad) appreciated. Lindsay.
Why not do both? Get a horse (or, better yet, a mule. Like me. In fact, can you take me? I’m treated so very badly here. You sound nicer) and then save money by crocheting all your tack, rugs, grooming tools, fencing, stable, trailer … of course if you take me then you won’t even need to do that, because I require NONE of those things. I’m such a great solution.
Dear Marty, what can I do to improve my mane it used to be beautiful but now it looks tatty and irregular. Every time it starts to look good my terrible brother eats it. Please advise, X.
Have you ever considered that YOU might be the terrible brother? That maybe your brother – the good, handsome, intelligent brother – was just minding his own business, living his best life, and then you came along and ruined literally everything? I think you need to stop thinking about your own vanity and consider someone else’s feelings for once.
Dear Marty, about 10 months ago I had a bout of colic. At that point I decided it was all my human’s fault and despite being in a lot of pain I still managed to keep running away from my human and just felt terrified of being caught. I didn’t like the vet either. I wouldn’t let them catch me. I got over the colic outside in the field. Ever since then I have refused to let my human near me. But the main problem is, I am now terrified of going through gates. Gates are scary things that I am convinced caused my colic. I don’t know how they caused colic but I am certain it was the gates fault. My human says I am mad and that gates won’t hurt me, but what would she know??? She’s not a pony. She doesn’t know how dangerous gates can be! What do I do? How do I outsmart the gates because if I go through them I get a nice warm stable with special food for half hour. The human keeps putting my food just outside the gate and the other ponies go through the gate without any problems, but I can’t do it, the gate hates me. It likes everyone else but I know if I go through it onto the yard the gate will attack me! Much love, Charlie.
It was your human’s fault. Human’s do things like this and I have no idea why. They are in cahoots with things like gates and stables and trailers and halters. For example, when my human first got me, I didn’t like her picking up my foot so I would slam it down really hard! Then I’d fall over!! She claimed it was because my hooves were so long and because I was putting them down so thoughtlessly, which is really awful of her. Talk about victim blaming. If she hadn’t been trying to touch them in the first place, everything would have been fine. Anyway, I think your solution lies in learning that gates are only in the mind. You don’t have to go through the gate the human wants! Make your own gate! I’ve found a well-placed kick is great for breaking fence posts.
Dear Marty, Like you, I am a fun loving mule and I am turned out with another mule companion. I just want to play, but she is very grumpy, and just squeals and kicks me whenever I try to get her to play with me. I try to join her in things SHE thinks are fun, but all she wants to do is roll in the mud and roll her eyes dramatically at the humans, which is no fun for me. Any suggestions for how I can get Ms. Crabby Britches to play with me? Your Fan, Tristan
Perseverance. If you keep at her long enough, eventually she’ll crack and chase you. Then you can have a lovely time running around and playing until your human arrives, at which point it will look like YOU are the poor, beleaguered victim, and you’ll get lots of love and tasty snacks while your field mate gets told off. Ha! So you see, it’s win-win. It’s actually one of my favourite games.
Dear Marty, I must be quick, before she comes back and LOOKS at me in that unsettling maybe-i-will-put-a-halter-on-you way. Luckily I too am a mule and I don’t miss ANYTHING. She had the gall to feed us in the dark the other night. The others were oblivious in their gluttony, but I was sure it was a trick. I made her bring mine outside because I wasn’t about to get trapped in the barn in the dark for who knows what. The pony says I’m paranoid. What do you think? Rista
Oh no … no no no. I hate that look. It gives me nightmares and keeps me up at night. I make sure to exit the vicinity if I even suspect that my human is going to look at me that way. I think your instincts are sound and that your human is up to no good; why would she do that? I mean surely she has nothing better to do with her day, so why couldn’t she be there and feed you in the daylight like a good, kind, loving human would? Make sure you let her know that this is NOT ON. Hide out in the pasture next time and don’t come when she calls. Wait until she’s come looking for you and walked all the way to where you are, then high-tail it down to the barn and gobble up your food before she can get there and try any funny business.
Dear Marty, my human seems to think we need to do these active endeavours called shows. I feel like working for 30-40 minutes per day is really cutting into my grazing time. What can I do to convince her that being worked or ridden isn’t truly necessary for my well being?!? Sleepy in the States
More talk of shows! What horrors do you guys have to deal with?! Thirty minutes of work is way too much. Maybe fall over next time she puts a saddle on you. A favourite method of mine is to make my nostrils reeeaaally big and bug my eyes out, go rigid, and tremble all over while staring at my human and whatever instrument of torture she’s procured. I also like to snort really slowly, which weirds her out.
Dear Marty, Furry Sidekick here. Every time I tries to get the bestest spot on the sofa my Helper Monkey insists I share. Dis are a terrible, ongoing problem and I is hoping you can help. Me wants ALL SOFA to meself so me can choose where to sit.
Dear Furry Sidekick,
Do you know what I do when I don’t want to share something (like grass)? I wee on it. Honestly, it’s remarkable how much that puts people off. Just find your spot and – wait … hang on a minute … are you … are you a dog??!!?! NO! STAY BACK! DON’T EAT ME! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA