Back to the UK this week, although Phlossi – one of three mules owned by Penny – was born and bred in the USA. Penny wanted me to let you know that she is using a pseudonym, so if you know Phlossi and are worried she may have been sold, never fear!
Images in this post are © copyright to Penny Duke.
1. Please introduce us to your mule!
Coffee Hollow Kiss My Fannie, known to her friends as Phlossi. Foaled in April 2000 to the quarterhorse mare Fannie Fein Deck (Domino Duke x Miss Susie Fein) and sired by A Jacks A Male Coffee Hollow (JR (Stephens) x Forrest Whitsell Jennet) at the Coffee Hollow ranch in Texas. She was imported into the UK in 2008.
2. How did you meet her?
I met Phlossi, then called Delilah, in Blackpool when her owner had suffered a change in circumstances and could no longer give her the time and attention that she needed. Facing a winter at a livery yard that did not allow turnout the owner was looking for a good mule home where Phlossi would be appreciated. Phlossi came here at the end of October 2013 and joined my two horses and small mule.
3. What do you do with her, and what are your plans for the future?
Since I got her, Phlossi has been ridden and hacked out with my friend and her horse. I have taken her to a few shows but she is not the greatest put together of ladies and her conformation does go against her when shown, being very narrow, slab sided and tied in at the elbows to name just a few of her poorer points. However Phlossi excels at obstacle courses and will happily go over, under and through most scary things. She is a real people person and nothing makes her happier than just spending time in your company. She is a very stressy animal and cannot be stabled away from home. I took her to a two day clinic and she lost over 70kg due to the stress. Due to this I no longer take her to such events. My future plans are just to enjoy her as she is and accept the limitations within which she is happy.
4. Can you share a story that you feel sums up your mule and/or your relationship with her?
We were out hacking on our own one day and the track went between two fields of oilseed rape which had flopped over and they were touching each other. Phlossi was getting more and more worried that there might be tigers lurking in the triffids which were wrapping around her legs so she ground to a halt, trembling. I jumped off and she put her head in my middle as I wrapped my arms round her face. She gave a big sigh and then followed me through the rest of the plants until we reached the end of the track. I got back on and we pootled back home as if nothing had happened.
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?
Time is the most important thing I have learnt with mules, they need time to adjust to changes in routine, time to think things through and time to get to know you and you them. Once they know that you mean them no harm and they trust you then you need to spend time doing things with them. Things rarely go straight forward as planned and you get derailed and sidetracked but time and patience on both sides leads to a wonderful relationship in the long run.
If you would like your mule to be featured here, or if you have a mule story that you would like to tell, 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 more than happy to take worldwide submissions!