We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Well, maybe 40 mules = one twenty-mule team. I knew a mule once, named Charlie. He did not like to follow commands. An Irishman I knew walked up and told me to learn how to gain respect from a mule, and gave Charlie a left hook in the face along with a harsh talking-to. Mule remained a bit more docile for a few hours. Main thing with mules is that they have to be tired out - and do not feed them oats. Anyway, I do not mess with mules anymore.
Charlie! That was the name of my boss in Montana that I wrangled for. We had a big razorback mule named buck. Once Buck didn't want to be loaded, he kept dancing around the tree we had him tied to. Well Charlie walked up and slapped Buck in the side of the head, Buck with his front hoof lashed out and knocked Charlie cold. It was fast as lighting. I had never seen anything like it and obviously neither had Charlie.
I visited the Borax works near Death Valley last year while on holiday in the US. Very impressive! I suspect the use of mules vs. rail was because of the location; much easier to get mules into these areas. Also, trains are rather limited with regards to inclines/declines which mules can more easily overcome. When I asked about why horses were not used, I was told mules are stronger, can deal better with the heat and don't founder they way horses do (something to do with eating habits) and work better in large groups.
Karl Horst (Germany)
“A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once. ”
I have 2 mules, possibly to become 3 soon, and have had the pleasure of working with 5 different mules. They are all different in personality and temperment (just like people).
What people describe as stubbornness is just the ability to decide whether doing something benefits the mule himself.
The easiest horses to train are the dumb ones, the smart ones spend all their time trying to get OUT of doing what you want them to do.
With donkeys, you ask them to do something, with horses you tell them. With mules you negotiate.
Somebody recommended a light snow of borax scuffed into and just left in the carpet to kill fleas. I did this once in the 80s and haven't had a flea since. Apparently the crystals puncture the flea shells and they die.
The safety sheet on borax isn't very encouraging so use your own judgment.
Grandpa always warned me that a horse is more likely to kick than a mule, but the mule is more likely to score if he does kick.
Put a horse in a trailer and send him off down the road. If there's an accident, and the horse gets hurt, for the rest of his life, he'll remember that he got hurt in a trailer, and he'll never trust another trailer
A mule, in the same circumstances? For the rest of his life, he'll remember who put him in that trailer, and will never forgive you for it.