How do I retrain my mini-mule

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SuziB

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His previous owner told me that both mini-mules ran loose in their pasture and to be haltered, her son had to rope them.

Once roped, they usually stand quietly for the haltering, but I want to retrain them to come TO me to be haltered and worked with.

What would be the best way to go about this?

SuziB
 

Shari

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This is what I do.

I walk into the pasture with a book and a chair,, and totally ignore them. They will not be able to help themselves,, they will in time, have to come stick their nose in your book. But only do this on a day that you have "lots" of time.

Once they do that,, slowly scratch them, taking your time. Slowly put a lead line around their neck, all the time itching them. Then put the halter on. Itch them, a bit.

Then let them go (remove halter),, and walk away. Do this for a few days. Soon they will be coming up to you to get those scratches & their halter!!
 

minimule

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Mules remember things that they don't like and like. You're going to have to be very patient with them until they learn you are not going to chase them with a rope. Do like Shari said, it may take a few months to get them over the anxiety of what they learned before.

Mules are big time into self preservation.
 

SuziB

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Shari said:
This is what I do.
I walk into the pasture with a book and a chair,, and totally ignore them. They will not be able to help themselves,, they will in time, have to come stick their nose in your book. But only do this on a day that you have "lots" of time.

Once they do that,, slowly scratch them, taking your time. Slowly put a lead line around their neck, all the time itching them. Then put the halter on. Itch them, a bit.

Then let them go (remove halter),, and walk away. Do this for a few days. Soon they will be coming up to you to get those scratches & their halter!!

433445[/snapback]

Thank you, Shari. I shall try that.

SuziB
 

SuziB

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minimule said:
Mules remember things that they don't like and like.  You're going to have to be very patient with them until they learn you are not going to chase them with a rope.  Do like Shari said, it may take a few months to get them over the anxiety of what they learned before.  Mules are big time into self preservation.

433593[/snapback]

Thank you. After he had managed to escape from the halter which I have had to leave on him Sunday morning, I finally called the former owner in desperation. This is when I learned that whenever she wanted to halter him, her son roped him for her.

Not being adept at roping, and not liking the spooking factor of doing it this way, I wanted to find a better way.

I am eager to learn everything that I can about mini-mules. The molly has been trained to drive although I do not yet have harness nor cart. The gelding (Pepper--the one who escaped his halter) has been harnessed and hitched and driven without a cart in a corral.

I have yet, of course, to drive either one, but I want to as soon as I can acquire some harness so that Salt, the molly mini-mule, doesn't forget her "good" training.

So, anything that anyone can tell me about mini-mules will be gratefully received.

SuziB
 

minimule

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Things to think about with mini mules.

Mules will not do anything they think is going to hurt them. They are not stubborn. They are thinkers. It takes a lot more patience working with a mule than a horse. They are 1/2 donkey after all.

Once you develop a bond with one, they are very loyal to you and love to spend time with you. They love attention and they love to work. At least the ones we have here do. Even the young ones act like they want something to do.
 

rabbitsfizz

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I stood for two hours on the other side of a ford that had water going over it, not deep, but water none the less, with a Jenny Donk. Her friend had splashed through, I tried pushing and shoving, but have you any idea how much a 10 hand Jenny can weigh when she is pushing back.??
In the end I was just about to walk all the way back the way we had come with her and leave the others to go on on their own when I decided to find out what Lucy wanted to do about the problem. She walked over the footbridge, on her own, and went off to find Molly, on her own. Do you know how smug a Donkey's bum can look?? Mules and Hinneys cannot be forced, as cannot Donks, and yours have been forced, by roping. They are now genuinely scared and it will take time to heal that breakdown of trust. Shari has given some excellent advise and you have the HUGE advantage that the Mules have never been roped by you. NEVER let the son come over and rope them for you. Once you have gained their trust they will come up of their own accord and catching will not be a problem. They have a memory like an Elephant, she will not forget her cart training!!! Oh, and PLEASE do not leave the halter on, EVER!!! They will end up dead. Whatever can happen WILL happen. (And has, to me
)
 
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SuziB

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Shari said:
This is what I do.
I walk into the pasture with a book and a chair,, and totally ignore them. They will not be able to help themselves,, they will in time, have to come stick their nose in your book. But only do this on a day that you have "lots" of time.

Once they do that,, slowly scratch them, taking your time. Slowly put a lead line around their neck, all the time itching them. Then put the halter on. Itch them, a bit.

Then let them go (remove halter),, and walk away. Do this for a few days. Soon they will be coming up to you to get those scratches & their halter!!

433445[/snapback]

Hi again, Shari,

I got to thinking about this and my mind came up with THIS scenario. I will be sitting there reading and ignoring, BOTH mules will come up, I will ATTEMPT to gently slide the rope up around one's neck, and then BOTH will flinch/jump away.

Then, what? What is my NEXT step? And doesn't this just quickly teach them to repeat the successful escape procedure?

With all my equines, even the sight of a halter makes them suddenly gone elsewhere! Even Beauty, the miniature mare pest. With the help of two small people, I WAS able to at last slide a rope around her neck, then rehalter her, but she had been a real snot about it two days previously, so I spent the next two days re-gentling her.

NOTHING, but nothing, goes for me as it does for the trainers on the horse-training shows, and as I've said, I know next to nothing about mini-mules.

Sometimes I wonder why I have surrounded myself with all these independent hooved creatures. I'm sure not doing a very good job training them at ANYTHING!

And I do so want to!

I have patience. I take my time. I DON'T pressure them, but I sure don't make any headway, either! Sorry about whining. It gets me down at times.

Oh, well. At least they are fed and watered and cared for. (Not too successful at grooming, either...)

SuziB
 

rabbitsfizz

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If they are that jumpy you need to teach them that the rope and yo are really really nice. Do everything as said then instead of attempting to get the rope on the mule, put it on the floor and put food in the middle. Let them eat it and go away. If they stay, scratch rub, play, pretend to put the rope on without a rope- make all the movements. If possible pick up the rope, your book and the chair whilst they are still interested in you and walk away from them. Once you have reached the point where you can walk away from them you have got them hooked.!! when you can stand beside them at the withers facing forward and scratching, that is when you drape the rope over their withers. If they do not react move it up the neck- now, you will have already done all this without the rope, remember?? Once the Mule accepts this (NO attempt to catch or hold!!) try leading it without a halter- juts make the motions of putting the rope on, then pick up the imaginary lead, cluck and say "walk on" Mules have a sense of humour- it works with horses but a Mule will or it won't!! If it does, then make a huge fuss and feed it. If this does not work, go back to working on getting the rope on. You will have to decide at what point you are going to actually close the rope and lead the Mule- I would not attempt a halter for a while, if they have been roped they should lead form a rope round the neck. The timing is down to you because you are there and know them, some will do it immediately some will need time to think about it. can you split them up?? Even in adjacent pens, just for a while, and work with them separately ?? This would be a huge help. Keep us updated, you will get there!!
 

SuziB

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rabbitsfizz said:
If they are that jumpy you need to teach them that the rope and yo are really really nice.  Do everything as said then instead of attempting to get the rope on the mule, put it on the floor and put food in the middle. Let them eat it and go away.  If they stay, scratch rub, play, pretend to put the rope on without a rope- make all the movements.  If possible pick up the rope, your book and the chair whilst they are still interested in you and walk away from them.  Once you have reached the point where you can walk away from them you have got them hooked.!! when you can stand beside them at the withers facing forward and scratching, that is when you drape the rope over their withers. If they do not react move it up the neck- now, you will have already done all this without the rope, remember??  Once the Mule accepts this (NO attempt to catch or hold!!) try leading it without a halter- juts make the motions of putting the rope on, then pick up the imaginary lead, cluck and say "walk on"  Mules have a sense of humour- it works with horses but a Mule will or it won't!!  If it does, then make a huge fuss and feed it.  If this does not work, go back to working on getting the rope on.  You will have to decide at what point you are going to actually close the rope and lead the Mule- I would not attempt a halter for a while, if they have been roped they should lead form a rope round the neck.  The timing is down to you because you are there and know them, some will do it immediately some will need time to think about it. can you split them up??  Even in adjacent pens, just for a while, and work with them separately ?? This would be a huge help.  Keep us updated, you will get there!!
434866[/snapback]

Thank you for both the good instructions and the encouragement. I needed it.

SuziB
 

SuziB

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rabbitsfizz said:
If they are that jumpy you need to teach them that the rope and yo are really really nice.  Do everything as said then instead of attempting to get the rope on the mule, put it on the floor and put food in the middle. Let them eat it and go away.  If they stay, scratch rub, play, pretend to put the rope on without a rope- make all the movements.  If possible pick up the rope, your book and the chair whilst they are still interested in you and walk away from them.  Once you have reached the point where you can walk away from them you have got them hooked.!! when you can stand beside them at the withers facing forward and scratching, that is when you drape the rope over their withers. If they do not react move it up the neck- now, you will have already done all this without the rope, remember??  Once the Mule accepts this (NO attempt to catch or hold!!) try leading it without a halter- juts make the motions of putting the rope on, then pick up the imaginary lead, cluck and say "walk on"  Mules have a sense of humour- it works with horses but a Mule will or it won't!!  If it does, then make a huge fuss and feed it.  If this does not work, go back to working on getting the rope on.  You will have to decide at what point you are going to actually close the rope and lead the Mule- I would not attempt a halter for a while, if they have been roped they should lead form a rope round the neck.  The timing is down to you because you are there and know them, some will do it immediately some will need time to think about it. can you split them up??  Even in adjacent pens, just for a while, and work with them separately ?? This would be a huge help.  Keep us updated, you will get there!!
434866[/snapback]

Hello, again,

I have another question. Would this technique also work on a four-year-old totally untrained full-sized mare? I am making VERY slow progress with her, but I am making progress! Thank Heavens! She was slated for the canners, when fate threw us together.

She is SUPER-spooky!

Thank you again for the helpful information. I do LIKE these mules. Especially Salt, the molly mule.

SuziB
 

chandab

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SuziB said:
I have another question.  Would this technique also work on a four-year-old totally untrained full-sized mare?  I am making VERY slow progress with her, but I am making progress!  Thank Heavens!  She was slated for the canners, when fate threw us together.
She is SUPER-spooky!

Thank you again for the helpful information.  I do LIKE these mules.  Especially Salt, the molly mule.

SuziB

435675[/snapback]

Hey, Suzi,

I know we usually just e-mail, but... Rabbitfizz's idea should would great on Foxy too. Since, she is fearful and spooky, she'll just take a little longer. She's a smart girl, just not too sure of people. She's one gorgeous girl.

Those mini mules are awfully darn cute, too.

Chanda
 

Shari

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rabbitsfizz said:
If they are that jumpy you need to teach them that the rope and yo are really really nice.  Do everything as said then instead of attempting to get the rope on the mule, put it on the floor and put food in the middle. Let them eat it and go away.  If they stay, scratch rub, play, pretend to put the rope on without a rope- make all the movements.  If possible pick up the rope, your book and the chair whilst they are still interested in you and walk away from them.  Once you have reached the point where you can walk away from them you have got them hooked.!! when you can stand beside them at the withers facing forward and scratching, that is when you drape the rope over their withers. If they do not react move it up the neck- now, you will have already done all this without the rope, remember??  Once the Mule accepts this (NO attempt to catch or hold!!) try leading it without a halter- juts make the motions of putting the rope on, then pick up the imaginary lead, cluck and say "walk on"  Mules have a sense of humour- it works with horses but a Mule will or it
434866[/snapback]

HI,

Rabbitfizz is doing what I would do, if they are pulling away.

Question, are you being patient enough? Am not so good at explaining things, much better at showing someone in person.

I think you are moving much too fast. The time line I am talking about is going to take at least a couple of months, without trying to halter them.

With Mules and Donkeys one has to be very, very patient.
 

SuziB

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Shari said:
rabbitsfizz said:
If they are that jumpy you need to teach them that the rope and yo are really really nice.  Do everything as said then instead of attempting to get the rope on the mule, put it on the floor and put food in the middle. Let them eat it and go away.  If they stay, scratch rub, play, pretend to put the rope on without a rope- make all the movements.  If possible pick up the rope, your book and the chair whilst they are still interested in you and walk away from them.  Once you have reached the point where you can walk away from them you have got them hooked.!! when you can stand beside them at the withers facing forward and scratching, that is when you drape the rope over their withers. If they do not react move it up the neck- now, you will have already done all this without the rope, remember??  Once the Mule accepts this (NO attempt to catch or hold!!) try leading it without a halter- juts make the motions of putting the rope on, then pick up the imaginary lead, cluck and say "walk on"  Mules have a sense of humour- it works with horses but a Mule will or it
434866[/snapback]

HI,

Rabbitfizz is doing what I would do, if they are pulling away.

Question, are you being patient enough? Am not so good at explaining things, much better at showing someone in person.

I think you are moving much too fast. The time line I am talking about is going to take at least a couple of months, without trying to halter them.

With Mules and Donkeys one has to be very, very patient.

437403[/snapback]

Hi, Shari,

I think I am being pretty patient, and it seems to be paying off. I have to keep the mini-mules in our home-built round pen at night. I go out in the morning and take hold of their lead ropes and lead them into the pasture with the mini-horses.

I have to fasten Salty's to her halter, first, but Pepper is wearing his halter and dragging his because he is SO spooky, especially around my husband, who got impatient with him a couple of times.

This pasture is fenced with an electric fence, and it is quite near the house, so they are checked frequently throughout their grazing day. In fact, I can sit upon the back deck when it is a little cooler (98 degrees Farenheit today) and watch them from twenty feet away.

Anyway, I was sitting in the living room this morning on the other side of the house when I looked up and saw Pepper loose in the north yard! Oh, boy! My husband was gone for the day, so it was up to me to catch him and return him to the pasture.

I thought at first he had gone THROUGH the fence, but I found the walk-through door to the big barn standing wide open. Apparently, he had come through there to freedom. I am just fortunate that his three buddies (Salty and the two little horses) hadn't ALSO wandered through.

I was able to walk up to him with a bucket of apple cube treats (pellets) and lead him back through the door into the pasture with the others.

Then, I found I could NOT get that cussed door to fasten, so I finally had to prop heavy things against it to hold it closed against the incessant wind which had probably blown it open in the first place.

No, until they get totally trusting, I am forced to leave the halters on them. The gravel road out in front of our place on the east has too many cars and trucks driving way too fast to not be able to catch them.

Thanks for your advice, though. I really do appreciate it.

SuziB
 

Shari

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Sounds like you are making a little head way.


Even my 1 year old Jenny, who has always been around people, and loves to be around people to the point of being a pest, can have her days of not wanting to lead.
And she knows better!!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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all really good advice.Patience is the key word when you are working with mules or donkeys. My mini hinny and jennys actually makes a pain of themmselves when people are in the pasture with the horses, which is also there pasture. No one can look at a horse without having a donkey just about sit on you, they will push and shove till they have all your attention, and when you walk away they follow behind like a trail of puppies! I'm working with Zeebo right now ..he was terrified of people and very head strong when I got him. (actually I think the people were terrified of him!!!) we're making decent progress. I have had him 2 weeks and when I first brought him home he wouldnt even let me near him in a large stall. Now he comes up to me. When I have him outside I put him into a stallion run, which is just a small area about 16x 32', I go in there quit a few times a day and just talk to him, he now comes up to me in there too. He has learned to lead really good, and this weekend I am going to turn him out in the front 1/2 pasture, by himself, and see how it goes. How much time in a day are you actually spending with him? I know alot of times its more trying on the person working with the donkeys/mules because of there "curious" nature (not stubborn) It has taken me 2 weeks just to get him to come to me in a stall/ small run! Dont rush him, he will let you know when he is ready to come to you, and dont make a big deal of it..pat him, and turn away. He will learn trust that much faster. Corinne
 

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