Susan Keene Author

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The Mule

Posted on May 25, 2022 by   1 Comment | Posted in Uncategorized

The Mule

I live on some acreage, a little less than one hundred acres. Small to some and big to others. On this farm we have some sheep, E-I-E-I-O. There are also horses, cows, cats and dogs, and donkeys.

This story is about mules; Kaye and Bec. About ten years ago, a friend called and said she knew a man who had a pair of Haflinger mules. They won a national pulling contest but the gentleman could no longer handle them due to health reasons.

We hooked up the horse trailer and headed for Joplin. When I saw the mules, I instantly fell in love. A Haflinger is a small draft horse. They are red with a golden tail and mane. The mules were beautiful. They are shorter and stockier than a standard mule and their coloring is striking with their nearly white tail and mane.

He sold me the pair of mules and all of their livery. Bec was 12 and Kaye, 13. They were Gee and Haw trained. Gee for go and Haw for stop and also neck trained. If you laid the rein on the left side of the neck they went left and also true on the opposite side.

Once they got to the farm, we put them in a pasture with the horses and went out everyday to give them treats and bond with them. In the meantime, the horses had determined a picking order and they were on the bottom.


Only Sunny Day, our line back Dunn and youngest horse, hung out with Kaye.

Kaye was lead when the mules were hooked up to a cart. We borrowed one once to take them on a ride. The tongue turned out to be too short and when they stopped it hit them in the back of the back legs and they went wild. There we were with a neighbor on the cart and two mules scared out of their minds and out of control. Our guy jumped off and the mules finally stopped.

Over the years, I would climb up on a fence, slide over on to Kaye’s back, hold on to her mane and trot around the pasture. Bec on the other hand wanted no part of anything but being a pasture pet.

When Bec was about 26, she died which left Kaye alone with five huge horses who felt she was inferior. They kept her away but I can’t say they were mean. Somewhere along the way we picked up four donkeys, but they are a story for another day.

After Bec died, Sunny Day chose to hang out with the horses instead of Kaye. We decided to let Kaye have the run of the common areas on the farm. It gave her the orchard, the lane that leads to all of the pastures, and the barn, shed and sheep pen.

It only took a few weeks to realize we had created a monster. Kaye showed up where ever we were. She followed close and pushed. It didn’t take her long to figure out where the apple treats were. She loved to follow the golf carts or Artic Cat around when grain was being fed. You would look back and sometimes her entire head would be in the bucket, eating as she walked.

Over the years as Kaye grew older, she would sometimes wait at the end of the lane rather than walk up.

One night I was alone in the lane. I drove out as far as I could to get away from all light so I could watch a meteor shower. When I found just the right spot, I pulled over and put my feet up on the dash.

One thing about the farm is when you are away from the light, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I was alone, relaxed and counting shooting stars when something touched me from behind. Kaye had laid her head on my shoulder. She scared the breath out of me.

I screamed so loud she jumped.

Kaye left us a couple of years ago. She is sorely missed around here.

1 Response to "The Mule"

Comment by Shirley McCann
June 4, 2022 4:12 pm

Such a sweet story. Your animals obviously are well-cared for.

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