Mules Tales: Mules at the Plough

This week we are, once again, covering multiple mules! Multiple multi-purpose mules, in fact. Marvelous!

Sorry, I’m a sucker for alliteration. I asked Ethel to write about her wonderful working mules after my mum snapped some pictures of the team at Hollowell this year. I see many images of mules doing agricultural work in the US, but had never seen any here in the UK so was thrilled when Mum sent me the photos! Thank you very much to Ethel for taking time out from her busy schedule, and I hope you all enjoy this Tale.

Image © Chris Maydew

1. Hi! Please introduce us to your mules.

I’ve got 3 mules: my pair, 13.2hh Queenie and Reuben, both coloured mules. I’ve worked these two since I had them, mainly ploughing. They’re now 25, I’ve owned them for 15 yrs – they came up for sale in local horse market.

My other mule, Maybell, is 14.2 hh. She is mainly ride and drive but has also been ploughing, too. I got Maybell from a guy in Swansea when she was 7, she’s now 17. My pair are now retired, only doing the odd demo, but my big mule Maybell I still ride and drive.

As a mule owner I find they have more character than a horse and I’ve learnt you can’t treat them like a horse, they’re more like kids. My mules have traveled all over the country including Ireland, going to ploughing competitions.

Image © Dawn Walmsley

2. What are the advantages of using mules rather than horses in ploughing? I read somewhere that the mule’s narrower feet were an asset; would you agree?

Yes, mules are brilliant for ploughing with their small feet, plus with being smaller draft they are better for pulling too. They know the job better than me!

Image © Ethel Worthington

3. Are there any disadvantages that you’ve found, or any particularly memorable training moments?

Once you’ve done a bit of training, mules don’t seem to forget and are much more steady at pulling.

Image © Ethel Worthington

4. How did you get involved with mules?

When I started at 14 I had a pair of cobs, but they were a bit too much for me. My pair of mules came up for sale at a horse market that we go to and Dad got them for me when I was 15. With them being small they was easy for me to handle and they got better with age.

Image © Chris Maydew

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?

They are very intelligent animals, much friendlier and loving. You have to be patient with them and treat them like kids. Once you bond with a mule you’ve got a friend for life. Even riding – they are nice to ride.

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) 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!

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