Mule Tales are back in the UK again this week, meeting Miah and her gorgeous girl, Maisy. Maisy was a surprise acquisition, and because Miah had no prior experience of mules, she chose to do her work experience at the Donkey Sanctuary’s mule and hinny headquarters in Exeter in order to learn all she could about them. I’m so impressed by her dedication and I know these two will continue to be a fantastic team for many years to come!
All photos are copyright © Miah Powell.
1. Please introduce us to your mule!
So who is Maisy? She’s the beautiful foal of my 8 year old Dartmoor pony, Sherril. She’s 5 years old and her dad’s a mammoth donkey called Joker. What’s she like to own? A pleasure. She always wants to be near you having a cuddle, an ear scratch or a bum scratch. She is most definitely big-headed but loving.
2. How did you meet her?
Well a week before her birth I thought I saw her mum’s belly moving. I’m astonished, we just didn’t believe it. The day before she was born we got a local horse expert (ex race and breeder) in to see whether she was pregnant. She told us that Sherril would give birth within the week. In a manic state we searched around for hours to find someone who could take Sherril to a safe pasture to foal. We rang her old owners, said we were getting a bogof [Buy One Get One Free], and asked who was the dad. To which we were told it could only be Joker the donkey. In disbelief we went to bed and awaited the next day. We arrived at the field at 7am to move Sherril to her safe pasture to foal. As me and my dad walked across the field we spotted Sherril with a tiny black foal. My dad, in disbelief, shouted: what the hell is that! As I screamed it’s a foal and ran to my mum to tell her. So that’s the story of how we met Maisy!
3. What do you do with her, and what are your plans for the future?
My plans for Maisy are simple. To enjoy her as much as she enjoys me. If she wants to jump we shall. If she wants to drive we will. I’ll let her pick her path and follow it together.
Basically what I’m doing with Maisy is ground work and preparation for ridden work. She’s being led out in hand sat on with the odd bit of walking out with her mum. Other than that she’s enjoying life being pampered. She’s a right softy who will come without call just because she loves us. So what we do is your every day horse stuff: grooming, picking out feet, the odd demanded dock scratch haha. And some walks. She’s quite a strong headed girl so she has to be convinced. I think it’ll take a long time to back this girly.
4. Can you share a story that you feel sums up your mule and/or your relationship with her?
It’s hard to pinpoint a story about Maisy and her bond with my family. But it’s easy enough to say that she wants to be with you. She will barge her way through, even past my 16hh TB with an attitude, to be stroked. My partner taught her to reverse because she loves her dock scratched that much!
It’s funny because she’s so naughty at the same time. I remember at 2 years old she jumped our 3 foot electric fencing from a standstill just for the green grass! And when I went to catch her she bucked in my face almost to say haha you can’t catch me and galloped off. But I know she would never hurt me. Not ever.
5. What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt as a mule owner, and what piece of advice would you give to someone new to mules?
The most important thing I’ve learnt from owning Maisy is respect. Not just for her but for all my horses. No horse should be pressured into something they don’t like. You need to have a mutual understanding. Since owning Maisy and developing a bond with her I have established a better bond with her mum. Owning Maisy has allowed me to see the error of my ways and allowed me to change them for the better. I will never treat my horses the way I was taught. I’ll treat them the way they deserve.
If you would like your mule to be featured here, then please contact me either via this blog, message me on my Mulography Facebook page, or email me at: herecirm (at) gmail.com. I would particularly like to hear from UK mule owners (purely because Mulography is about owning a mule in the UK), but am happy to take worldwide submissions!