It's time to spill the beans about my tiny side project. Some of you have seen her on Instagram and have been begging for more!
This is Uma.
|And Pax. And my poor dentist's bag of tools that these two kept knocking over.|
Uma is a miniature molly mule foal who is the same age as Pax (5 months). She currently stands about 29" tall and will probably stay under 34" fully grown.
I LOVE longears. I love mules and donkeys. I've always wanted a performance mule and I've even blogged about it in the past. But this spring, when I saw a mini mule competing at Sunrise Ridge, that was it. I HAD to have one.
Then at the end of August, I saw an ad for a weanling mule who was sorrel. Meaning, she matched my entire herd. And obviously, that's *clearly* the only important criteria when horse shopping, right?
She was totally feral. She has never been touched by humans except for when she was grabbed and taken away from her mother. She was VERY upset and walking the fence like crazy when I went to go pick her up. But I got to see her trot and I was super impressed. She can really move! She is flashy for a tiny little bidget.
She rode home in a dog crate in the backseat of my truck. She was THAT tiny.
|And she just stood there eating hay. Because mules are awesome, that's why.|
The mares were not sure what to make of this tiny thing. I think mostly they just accepted her as another foal (which, she is) and that was that. I left her in a catch pen for a couple of days because she was so TOTALLY feral and terrified of people. It didn't work out very well for her though - she walked the fence pretty much nonstop because she wanted to be out with the mares.
Aside from being a little mystefied by her tiny hee-haw, they are good and social creatures, so I finally just attached a breakaway catch rope onto her halter, and turned her loose with the mares.
(And yees, she does have a tiny hee-haw. You don't hear it much, but it's there. She is very, very quiet for a mule! It's hard to describe the noise a mule makes... it's not a full on donkey hee-haw but it's not a horse whinny either.)
It was INSTANT love between her and Pax. They've been inseparable ever since. They do everything together, from cuddling up and sleeping to galloping and bucking.
|Mule got moves!|
She wore her catch rope for probably two weeks while I worked on catching her. I finally got her to trust me enough to take off the rope - though I have left the halter on. We're definitely still working on her trust issues - she is very interested in the people and not afraid anymore, but if you come at her wrong it still frightens her.
|The funniest thing you will see today|
And no, she doesn't regularly "nurse" on Pax like that - Pax doesn't tolerate it and shoves her off. I just happened to catch that care moment a few weeks ago when Pax was nursing on P, and Uma was trying to mmurse on Pax!
|Trying to get Future Hubs to pay attention to her|
Like everyone on my farm, good food has definitely made a difference for her. She has changed color from an orangey-sorrel to a deeper red. I've been able to trim her several times - she needed some corrective work in the back end and had a clubbier front foot that needed some help.
As for that giant gut - she's been dewormed a couple of times and has a clean fecal, so mostly we assume it's just because she is a tiny growing feedbag champion scoffer. If she sees me filling haybags and she is on the other side of the field, she RUNS at full speed over. And if I am not fast enough, she gallops around bucking and shaking her head. She, like all mules, is happiest when eating!
She still doesn't love to be petted or brushed but she does tolerate it, She ties, stands for me to do her feet, gets groomed and flysprayed, and leads. Not terribly well, for any of those things, but she will. She is only 5 months after all and was totally feral up until weaning time.
She will be my driving mule when she grows up. I also plan on taking her to all the local mule shows, and also doing packing with her. I love to go hiking and walking, and I will now have a tiny pack companion to help me tote my gear along.
I can't tell you how much I love this mule. I LOVE THIS MULE! If I had a whole farm full of tiny mules like her I would die a happy girl. She is the BEST!