Mule Tales: Alan

Our first spotty mule! Alan is small but mighty, and proves that pony mules can do it too. Mules are not currently allowed to compete in many higher level events in the US; seeing these pictures of Alan and Whitney together, I can only surmise that it’s because the horsey folk are worried they’d have to up their game. 😉

1. Please introduce us to your mule!

Alan is an 8yr old john mule that I purchased as a “rescue” about 4yrs ago. He was barely halter broke and had limited human experiences. He is about 13.3hh and is a bay blanket appaloosa.

2. How did you meet him?

I had been breaking young colts for a friend of mine for a number of years and my personal horse was quite broke in many disciplines. I started looking for a fun, challenging resale project of my own and came across a mule owner at a local competition. I had never owned a mule before so I spoke at length with her about them. She recommended I contact a friend of hers who had many mules she couldn’t afford any longer and she was selling them quite cheap. I drove out there and looked at a few options and decided that the meek, quiet, fearful appy mule would be a good “beginner” mule for a first timer. He was scooped onto the trailer and came home with me that night.

3. What do you do with him, and what are your plans for the future?

After a long road and many growing pains, Alan and I have come a long way. We started out in the hunter/jumper world as he has great hunter knees and a darling jump! We regularly school 2’6″-3′ over fences … but those lead changes will be the end me! However, the USEF rule that doesn’t allow mules to compete hinders our hunter goals so we recently transitioned to eventing (local eventers are a lot more welcoming in KY). Halloween weekend we participated in our 2nd horse trial and we won our Starter division! With the success of mules in dressage, we may be looking to dabble in that as well!

4. Can you share a story that you feel sums up your mule and/or your relationship with him?

Alan definitely has a mind of his own and is quirky in the truest sense of the word. Chicken Little comes to mind when trying to describe what it is like knowing him. Alan is up for just about anything as long as I remind him that I am not going to get us killed. One moment he will be trotting down the long side of the arena, soft and supple and working nicely, and the next minute we are spooking at the mounting block that we just used 10 minutes ago! I often have to remind him that we haven’t died yet.

Alan is the barn mascot, the entertainment value, and the ladies man. He is popular with all the mares (and geldings) at the farm and catches everyone’s eyes with his staggering good looks. He makes me feel special and I appreciate all he has to offer.

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?

While training a mule sometimes requires a slightly different type of conversation, I wish that the equine world could understand that mules really are no different than their horsey counterparts. I do everything with Alan that I ever did with my horses and I wish that the stubborn-like-a-mule stigma would go away. Yes, Alan has his donkey days and has horse days but then again, so did my hunter. If horse folks had the opportunity to see mules in action, they might appreciate them a bit more.

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) 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!

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