I have been collecting Mule Tales for a whole year now; it has been a very fun and rewarding hobby, and I have ‘met’ so many fantastic mules and their equally wonderful owners. Don’t forget that you can check out the Mule Tales page to see them all!
Anyway, what better way to celebrate the one year anniversary than with the brilliantly named Squealy Bob? Carolyn, Squealy’s owner, says she’s often thought that he and Marty are very similar personalities and I have to agree. Marty wouldn’t dream of squealing or striking (too scary!), but everything else sounds very familiar. They even look rather alike!
1. Please introduce us to your mule!
Squealy Bob is eight-years-old, out of a rangy quarter horse/mustang mare and a mammoth jack. He stands about 13 hands and thinks he’s as big as the big boys he runs with in the pasture.
2. How did you meet him?
Squealy Bob and two mollies came to me to be weaned and halter broke in the winter of 2008. Squealy Bob would stand in the corner of the corral, stare at me, then kick the corral over and over. He liked no one, trusted no one, he hated everything!! I actually called him Jackhammer for a while till the day of his first haltering when he squealed and struck out with his front leg. That’s when I started calling him Squealy Bob. He was mean, dangerous and basically untouchable. After about six weeks they went back home, and I told the owner that he was mean and I could do nothing with him. The owner said, “I might as well shoot him, then.” At that point I didn’t care. I didn’t like him, he didn’t like me or anyone else.
After several weeks passed my friend (who is a mule person) said, “You should go back and get him. There’s something special about him.” I thought my friend was crazy, but the more I thought about the little renegade mule I decided he was right. So after a week or so I went and got him; the owner was glad to see him go. I spent hours with him every night after I got off work for about four months. I would run him into an alleyway used for working cattle that had solid metal sides (so he couldn’t take my head off with a kick or strike) and would pet and brush him (when he allowed me to) until he finally figured out that I wasn’t going to hurt him, he was safe, and that brushing kind of felt good. Once I gained his trust (maybe not his full trust, yet) we worked on haltering and leading. It was baby steps all they way…
Squealy Bob is very watchful of what is going on in his surroundings. He has been that way since I got him; he will get fixated on something and you can’t distract him. He still doesn’t trust other people and if something is moved in the pasture or around the barn it really worries him. It’s just who he is and I’ve learned to accept it!!
3. What do you do with him, and what are your plans for the future?
I had plans to start him under saddle and get some formal training, as he is a beautiful mover and so very graceful. But life sometimes throws you unexpected curveballs and that didn’t happen. So he hangs out with his QH friend Ace and his mule buddy Cisco and I’m ok with that…
4. Can you share a story that you feel sums up your mule and/or your relationship with him?
The moment I knew we were truly bonded was when I unexpectedly lost my job in May of 2012. I quietly fed the three of them that evening and sat on the hay feeder waiting for them to finish. Squealy Bob left his food (they never leave their food! Haha), walked over and pressed his forehead against mine as if to say, “It’s ok, mom.” The tears came and I put my arms around his neck and cried my eyes out. It was like he knew I was very sad, scared and felt so horribly alone. Prior to that moment he would stand close to me if he was unsure about a person, as he still didn’t trust anyone else; but never really showed any compassion towards me. It’s really hard to explain … now he will leave his buddies to come and get ear or butt scratches, to let me stand behind him now and brush out his tail. I am still amazed how my little renegade wants to be with me, he is loving and loyal without a doubt.
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?
My most important piece of advice to a new someone new to mules is: take your time, have loads of patience, speak softly and be kind. They are all unique with different personalities. With Squealy Bob and the other mules I handle on a daily basis I have learned a great deal. I found patience I never had before, the importance of being gentle, kind and forgiving, and most of all I discovered how smart, loyal and loving mules can be.
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!