Monday, October 30, 2006

Should I Pack Horses or Mules?

I am asked this question regularly. Coincidentally, the only people who ever ask this question are those who have never owned a mule. That says a lot; however, my standard answer is this: If you own a horse that is just standing around burning hay, pack him. But if you are shopping for a pack animal, buy a pack mule. Why… Remembering that stock users, including me, are opinionated, below I listed the benefits for packing mules over horses:

  • Pack mules are born followers. A pack mule will follow a horse or another mule almost anywhere.
  • Pack mules know exactly where they will put down each foot. While some pack horses have a tendency to daydream and step off the trail.
  • Pack mules carry a load without a lot of swaying and lunging.
  • Pack mules are tougher than pack horses, pound for pound.
  • I never have to shoe my pack mules. I just keep them trimmed, which saves me money.
  • Pack mules know their job and want to do it.
  • Pack mules generally have a 20-30% longer life than pack horses.
  • Pack mules are easier keepers than pack horses for the most part.
  • Last, but not least, pack mules are cute.


Steve Rattan said...

Hi Russ I was wondering what the best way to start apack mule ,I have trained lots of lots of ranch horses in my life but nothing to pack. Any sugestions?

Russ said...

Hi Steve. Rather than bury the answer here, I thought I'd just do a separate blog entry; see the blog for 12/14/2006 on "how to start a pack horse or mule." Thanks for reading!