Sunday, April 22, 2018

Am I completely Crazy??

Sooo....I mentioned a little while ago that if Tessa had better conformation, I would be very tempted to breed her to a jack for a mule baby and lots of people were like, "What's wrong with Tessa?  Why not have a mule baby?  Yes, let's have a mule baby!"

First, to be fair to Tessa, most of the things that I don't like about her conformation are the things that make her a gaited horse.  Tessa is a bit of a blueblood in the world of Tennessee Walking Horses/Spotted Saddle Horses.  Her breeders went to a lot of trouble to produce her and they would be perfectly happy with how she is built. 

Most gaited horse have, what I consider to be, weak hind ends.  They have more laxity in their stifles, hocks, pelvis etc, because they need that laxity to gait.  I think it causes soundness issues when they get old, but all purebreds have some built in problems like this.  I could point at a lot of quarter horses that don't stay sound past the age of four.  It is really more of a personal prejudice on my part than a flaw in Tessa and is in fact another good argument FOR breeding her to a jack.  That is the most hybrid vigor you can get.

Tessa's right foreleg does turn out at the shoulder and that is not something I would like to see passed on to future generations, but it does not cause her trouble and mules are sterile anyway so does it really matter?  Aside from conformation, the thing you most want in a mule momma is a good temperment because that comes almost entirely from the mare.  This is the one place where Tessa truly excels, I have rarely met a horse that could equal Tessa's calm, sweet, loving and amazingly brave temperament.  Looked at from that point, you would be hard-pressed to find a better mule making candidate.

I have thought a lot about breeding Tessa, but always talked myself out of it.  When I made that remark about breeding Tessa I was expecting my good friends, Elva and Vicki (aka, Riding Buddy) to blow raspberries at me and tell me to get my head on straight.  Instead, they're all, "YES, let's have a mule baby."

And than there is this really awesome jack I have had my eye on for several years because I think he is just soooo handsome and every time I see him I want a mule baby.  His name is Clyde's Gallant Fox  and he has been producing some super, super nice mule babies and the breeders do shipped semem so it would be possible to breed Tessa to him.


I sent an email to my vet figuring she, at least, would help talk me out of this foolishness:

Dear Vet, I may need you to talk me off a crazy ledge. There is this SUPER nice mammoth jack stud who does shipped semen and we are all kind of thinking that Tessa could make a really nice mule baby and I would love to have a mule baby to raise. Sooooo, yeah, mule baby???

I would need a vet to help with all the AI work. Do you do that? Am I totally crazy? Honest opinions needed!
I was expecting her to tell me to stop being an idiot and instead, her reply was:

That mammoth jack is pretty awesome looking! I think they would make a really nice mule!

I definitely do AI, although I've never bred the donkey semen. I've helped breed mares live cover to a mammoth jacks. Super exciting!

And then later in a different email:

I'm excited breed miss Tess!

So much for talking me OFF the crazy ledge. So...yeah.  Mule baby???  I'm seriously thinking about it.

I have a thousand opinions on the subject that have been clogging my brain waves for weeks now.  I will tell you some of them later, but right now, it is your turn to talk me off this crazy ledge.  One way or the other.

What do you all think:

A) NO WAY!  Kris is totally off her rocker, get her some therapy.

B) YAY!  Let's all go off the crazy ledge together and watch Tess have a mule baby!!


  1. Would said mule baby be just for pasture decoration? You don't ride the others, do you?

  2. OK, I'll play wet blanket:
    Another mouth to feed.
    Elva doesns't like Equines so her vote doesn't count.
    Lots of worry about Tessa as she gets close to the end.
    How will Tessa feel about this and where will her baby live until it's weaned?

    Other than that, who wouldn't want to see a Mule baby on the Dancing Donkey blog? :)

    1. Oh come on, Shelley! Even I think Kris should have a mule baby!! Of course it doesn't compare to puppies, but then again, what does? Kris would do an excellent job raising that mule baby, and the world would be a better place because of it!

  3. I'm with the Doc and your friends. Tessa's baby - Yes!

  4. Please post a pic of the handsome stud!

  5. I guess my questions for anyone who is planning to breed would be whether you plan to keep the baby or what is the long term plan? What is the training plan? Do you have the knowledge/time/grit/good health insurance :) for equine training? Or do you know someone you trust to do the saddle training? What if something terrible happens to your mare or the foal? Are you financially and emotionally prepared for that? And back to the training & handling. An old muleskinner once told me mules shouldn't even be born until they're 10 years old. I believe this was shortly before his sedated mule jumped out of the dentistry stocks and almost crushed me. She was well trained but not happy. Are you prepared to deal with a young mule? They aren't necessarily like horses or donkeys.

  6. Keith Maddux Buffalo,MOApril 22, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Her conformation appears impeccable, and as 4 the Fox.......i have considered him as well Not just because he is gorgeous,but also from many examples/colts out of him and disposition. My ONLY hold up has been cost,but if that's not an issue 4 u I say it's a no brainer.......🤠 Good luck,and know that God will protect ur decision.

  7. Well babies are cute Shelley said another mouth to feed, vet, house, trim, train etc. Not saying you shouldn't breed Tess. Just holding up the Reality sign :)

  8. Three votes from my household for the mule baby! Yes, one of us is a white dove, and one is a dog, and then there’s me, but...please!!!🐴

  9. This is a fun thing to think about. But. There are so many horses and donkeys that are needing homes/adoption. Wonderful, beautiful animals that are shipped off and being destroyed. Could you give one of them a home?

  10. I hate giving my opinions about stuff like that. I will support you either way.

    Tessa is beautiful. So do that mean the mule baby would be gaited?

  11. The older I get, the more I hold this view myself. Babies grow up and out of their adorableness; suffering and need are endless; why not make a difference for at least one if we can?

  12. I love mules (and donkeys, obviously- I have two) and I think a mule baby would be the most fun thing ever! I've always liked Tessa; she'd be a great mom as you've already said, and she'd throw a beautiful baby, for sure. I keep coming back to the "fun" part- you have lots of loving support and a big cheering section!

    That said, I have to agree with "Anonymous" about adopting. There are thousands of foals in need. I know mules aren't part of the nurse-mare-foal or Premarin/PMU-foal problems, but there must be some adoptable ones out there. If it was up to me, I think I'd check out that option thoroughly first. Although I love mules and foals of all breeds, I'm a big supporter of the "It's Not Imperative that Your Mare Have a Foal" club. But that's just me, and we're not talking about me; this is wholly your decision. I know you'd do a fabulous job of raising and training a mule baby, though! How exciting!

  13. Thanks for finally writing about >"Am I completely Crazy??"
    <Liked it!

  14. I'm a solid "B" - - let's be crazy together! I have no concerns that this mule baby will be the best cared for creature around (as are all of your animals). You are an excellent animal caregiver and I say go for it. YOLO!!

  15. All the comments have created a valid list of reasons to breed or not breed Tessa. You don't appear to do anything without thinking it through and I agree beautiful Tessa would be a good mom. If you are considerinmg this your health/shoulder must be feeling pretty good, the donkeys seem to be thriving and you have the support of your nearby friends. And the support and help of a good veterinarian. I remember your blogs when Emma was close to birthing and your frustration about being unable to get a vet to the farm to check Emma. And look at all you had to learn to get Ramsey and Ben healthy again. It looks like you have found a passion so follow your heart. We will certainly be happy to blog along with you and support you.

  16. I’m not that much of a online reader to be
    honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come
    back down the road. Many thanks

  17. You are not crazy. If your heart wants a Tessa mule baby, go for it! You obviously don't make decisions lightly, and have thought all the pros/cons through. Life is meant to be lived. Enjoy your baby mule journey!! I am looking forward to following along.