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What is a Mule

NASMA defines the Saddle Mule as any horse/donkey hybrid, an animal resulting from the breeding of either a male donkey jack to a saddle type horse mare or a saddle type horse stallion to a donkey jennet, and used for work and pleasure under saddle and in light harness.

NASMA endeavors to promote both the Saddle Mule and its donkey ancestors for both pleasure and competition.  Here is a page depicting the Mule Versatility.



Mule Registration
Why register a mule?

Thanks to author Sue King for permission to reprint this 1992 “Saddle Mule News” Article

Why would someone register their mule? After all, they’re not a breeding animal! They will not have any get to trace. They aren’t a breed. They’re half of a breed. Are there benefits to registering the mules and who do you register them with. Since the mule’s popularity is on the rise, many of them are being professionally trained, they are being asked to do whatever horses are doing and succeeding, it may be wise to keep accurate records.

(In 1992) The American Donkey and Mule Society had approximately 1,573 mules registered in their registry. These registrations make it possible to maintain accurate records on these mules. Records of their pedigree make it possible to study trends in breeding and to identify those kinds of breedings that produce quality. Have you ever seen a mule that you really liked? If it was not possible to purchase the mule, if he was registered, it would be possible to find out his breeding and repeat it. Registration papers would also identify the breeders who may have more mules like the one that has caught your fancy. All too often the lineage of an exceptional mule is not known, making it impossible to reproduce the breeding to get another individual.

There are those who will say that breeding is a roll of the dice. You’ll never know what you’ll get. Where, in fact, that may be so, not because it’s true, but because there are few records by which to study and repeat good breeding. With good records exceptional sires and dams could be identified. One could identify what breeds of mare produce what kind of mule. Many people are under the impression that the American Quarter Horse is the best cross for halter mules. Yet quite a few halter winners are actually foals of Walking Horses, Morgans and Arabians.

In addition, registration is a buyer protection plan. I have been at sales and shows where someone is in the process of purchasing a mule. The seller makes all sorts of claims from who the sire and dam of this “for sale” mule to show and events accomplishments. Once a seller claimed the mule he was selling in Oklahoma had won all the classes at the State Fair of Texas. I know it was not true, because I had attended the show. The fact of the matter was that this mule had been shown in halter and not even placed.

Registration papers are a requirement at some shows, sales and races. The ADMS National has classes for registered animals. The American Mule Association requires that all their racing mules be registered. And the AMA (and NASMA) has sanctioned shows for the mules registered with them. And, in order to participate in the ADMS (and NASMA) Awards Programs, a mule must be registered.

As more mules are being bred from expensive mares and expensive jacks, it makes sense to have some kind of record of the breeding. Hard facts and stats are the best defense against the old stereotypes that plague the mule. When someone spouts the time-honored “All Mules ……….” scenario, there would be statistics that would be available to refute ridiculous claims. Most of the information about mules is vague and was written from the Civil War to the earl 1900’s. Data is being applied to the modern mules that was compiled over eighty years ago. While it is important to the history of the mule, the information is dated. If horse breeds have changed greatly in the past eighty years, so have the mules because they are the get of those breeds.

And any horse person who protests that it is ludicrous to register sterile hybrids, probably owns a registered gelding. Mule owners care about their animals. They believe in their animals’ abilities. And they value their mules as much as their horses. There is a great deal of time, effort and money being put into mules. It would seem reasonable that if an endeavor is worth engaging in it is worth keeping track of.


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