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Difference Between Riding a Mule and a Horse

In the equine planet, there are different varieties of animals and different breeds. The major ones among them are mules and horses. How would be your experience in riding a mule and a horse?

Both horses and mules have had an enormous influence on human cultures. However, most of us do not understand the actual difference between them. We thought we would give these two breeds of the equines a little attention and understand how do they differ from one another and what type of experience do they offer you.

Horses or Mules- What Would Suit You Better?

Mules do come from a different origin, but have had a huge role to play in shaping different communities in human history. They are the hybrids and are formed from the breeding between a female horse (known as mare) and a male donkey (known as Jack).

Being the hybrids, they provide you access to the best characteristics of both the parents, while removing the bad characteristics. Under ideal conditions, the mules are completely infertile and cannot reproduce. They can only be produced through a breed between a mare and a jack.

difference between riding a mule and a horse

Horse, on the other hand, does not need any introduction. They were the result of years of evolution from a doglike origin to larger species. They have become quite commonplace on earth and were domesticated in different parts of the world by 3000 BC. They have been used in various requirements such as locomotion, agriculture, and even warfare.

There have been several breeds of horses. They have been developed based on the purpose they are utilized. There are workhorses, the slender racing horses, of course, other multipurpose horses.

What is the Difference Between a Mule and a Horse?

So, from the riding comfort and practical usage, which among horses and mules is good? Well, there cannot be a simple generalization as such between riding a mule and horse. Both of them have their own characteristics and based on those; they suit different perspectives.

Mules are Better for Trail Riding

If you are opting for a rugged trail riding, the mules would be a great choice. The smaller and upright feet that they come with makes them surefooted for such a terrain. Being a breed from donkeys, they inherit the best characteristics from the donkey. The narrow body and slender legs make them the right ones to opt for in a trail riding.

Mules are Smarter and Intelligent

Well, both of them are smart and intelligent. However, mules tend to learn really faster. Once they come across any bad situation, they will remember it for longer and will take care to prevent it from happening in the future.

That would, however, would also make them quite adamant. If they refuse to do something that you order them to, it is extremely hard to coax them from doing it. A horse, on the other hand, will react to your orders rather quickly enough.

Horses are Faster

Yes, horses are faster than mules. A horse can reach a speed of up to 88 kmph. The maximum average that a mule can reach would be 24 kmph. In fact, there are several horse breeds that have been known to be the fastest runners ever.

Some good example can be:

  • Thoroughbred – They can reach up to 70 kmph speed. They are known as hot-blooded horses and have been the widely used breeds in the racing arena. They are tall and slim and thus make them quick and agile.
  • American Quarter Horse – The breed is known for its best sprinting capability. They are versatile and adaptable to the core. They would reach the speed of up to 55 kmph.
  • American Miniature Horse – This is yet another excellent breed that offers you a superb speed performance. They are ideally designed to be the working and pulling breed.

Horses Follow Your Orders

Horses follow your orders diligently. However, this characteristic can be good and bad as well. While they would not need a lot of coaxing as in the case of mules, if the rider is inexperienced, they take a few cues as orders (such as shifting of weight or moving a leg) and can prove to be risky enough. The same goes for rough terrains.

A Few FAQs about Horses and Mules

Well, now that you are aware of which would be your best among the horses and mules, how about checking a few questions about horses and mules and answering them?

Q - Are mules expensive than horses?
A – Yes. A mule is an expensive option when you compare it to the compatible horse. However, you would find them requiring less maintenance when you compare them to the horses. It will also live longer, and thus it can be helpful enough to recover the cost.
Q – How much weight can Mules carry?
A – Through the history, mules have been used for carrying weight. They are capable of carrying a lot of weight to a considerable distance. That would be what would make them an excellent option than horses for long-distance travel. Calculated by the percentage of the bodyweight of a mule, it will be able to carry around 30 percent of its body weight.
Q – Are mules smarter than horses?

A – Well, there is a considerable difference based on how you define the smartness. Mules can learn rather faster. Once they learn, they remember it for a longer time. No amount of coaxing will make them forget it.

Horses, on the other hand, can be taught quickly and they will follow your orders diligently. The significant difference between a mule and a horse lies in the fact that horses do not take the initiative to learn new things on their own. Mules learn on their own, but once they do, they would remain adamant.

Q – Who jumps better among horses and mules?
A – The jumping style employed by mules is entirely different from that of horse jumping. A mule may not be able to compete with a horse when it comes to high jumping. However, they have been observed to be the best ones when it comes to fence jumping competitions.

So, Is Mule the Right One for You?

Well, mules are hybrids, and that would make it one of the exciting options when you look at adaptability and reliability. It has always been observed that hybrids have excellent characteristics when you compare them with their parents. They would be the best ones from the perspective of health, ease of keeping them, and can tolerate weather conditions better than the horses and donkeys.

The choice would be dependent on your exact requirements. The mules carry more weight and do not need much feeding. Horse, on the other hand, are known to jump better with the rider, can run faster, and can be better for warfare.

Make a choice based on what appeals to you the most. Of course, mules aren’t as bad as they are made to believe.

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