The veteran mule breeder eyed me speculatively. I was there to pick up two mares that had been bred to his Mammoth jack.

"I hear you train horses," he said.


"Ever train a mule?"


He inclined his head toward the two pregnant mares. "Plannin’ to train those youngsters after they’re born?"

"I guess. Any reason I shouldn’t?"

He thought a moment and said, "Mules is different."

"Tell me how they’re different."

But, in the fashion of the stoical neighbor in Robert Frost’s "Mending Wall," he wouldn’t go much beyond that saying, "Mules is different."

As I was leaving, he suggested that I consider getting assistance from a knowledgeable mule trainer when it was time to break the youngsters.

Some years and the ownership of a number of pack mules later, I now recognize the veracity of that simple statement: "Mules is different."

Mules and donkeys are a lot like horses, to be sure, but in many ways, including some health concerns, they are most definitely different. First, we should have a basic understanding about what constitutes these unique four-footed creatures. We provide the following nomenclature with the help of the American Donkey and Mule Society.

AssThe correct term for the animal commonly known as the donkey, burro, or jackstock. The term comes from the original Latin term for the animal that was Asinus. The scientific term for these animals is Equus asinus. The ter