Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Treacle the mule.... PART ONE

To start an Article I wrote about my own mule for the British Mule Society Newsletter - after one years ownership!


Well I have now owned Treacle over a year so I thought I’d tell you our story so far….

In June 2005 we decided to visit Appleby fair to buy a nice quiet cob for my boyfriend’s dad (Peter) to learn to ride on. After a fairly fruitless search Mark my boyfriend muttered the now fateful words “Have you seen those ears?” I think now he wishes he has quietly led me away in the opposite direction!!! It was too late though and I shot through the crowd to meet a fully clipped, nearly black mule standing around 14hh. Despite having just moved house, being currently unemployed with a broken arm and owning a perfectly good riding horse I asked “How much?” Well we all nearly choked at the figure mentioned but it was too late I grovelled and begged for the men to lend me the money, haggled a little and Treacle was mine (well naturally she was called Muffin at the time!!!). Mark said he’d paid less money for winning racehorses and it took me ten months to finally pay off the “Great Mule Debt.” Peter finally got his nice quiet cob six months later; they are made for each other and have recently been to their first show – must have been fate!!!! I have since met several people who had seen Treacle, intended to buy her and had just gone to “find hubby/get the cash/ arrange transport” and returned to find her gone. I don’t hang about!!!

Well we were told at Appleby that Treacle drove but we took it on trust as there was no cart or harness available. (Though to be fair we were told she didn’t ride and she had a lot of miles on her shoes!!) Well Treacle drives beautifully and Mark broke her to ride for me (His business is breaking in and re-schooling difficult horses – this was his first mule though!). We haven’t done much this year but we decided that an outing to our local show was in order last month. Permission was asked for to enter her in the “Novice horse, pony (and now mule) class in hand” and granted! So her mane was hogged, she had her first bath, and walked in to the trailer like a pro. Treacle was in her element, meeting her fans, fluttering her eyelashes, and generally sashaying round the showground. Well what can I say? One very brave judge later and a red rosette pinned under the long ears. The second and third placed competitors were not amused!!!! We were asked to bring her back next year but I think escaping alive this year was lucky and we may have retired from the show ring!!

Are we mule people? Well No! She is treated just like the thoroughbreds here, lives in a pen with my neurotic ex racer. She loves racehorse mix and has the run of twenty acres of good grazing. She truly believes herself to be a racehorse and is probably expecting a trip to Ascot or Cheltenham next year. Scarily when the vet was last out to vaccinate he asked “Which one is the mule?” (looking at a pen of five racehorses and Treacle) er…. that will be the one with the long ears!!!!

Thanks to Jenny Williams my business is now named after Treacle – so if you see a little white van around your area with “Only Mules and Horses – Mobile Tack Shop,” give us a wave. There is only one small flaw in this…. Treacle is thought by many to be a hinny… However I’d already named her “Mule of Kintyre” on her passport, so she will always be THE MULE around here!!! (Mark often adds a rude word in the middle, but we know he loves her really!)

We are getting used to “mule humour” – this is a typical example! One morning Mark was turning out my two, it was a filthy day, heavy rain, mud over the wellies, cold, truly miserable. He had on his drizabone and akubra hat and goes into the first pen. “Morning” says Quin my TB, bouncing enthusiastically, keen to get out. “Arghhhhhhh” says muley, flattening herself against the wall “you’re wearing a HAT.” Mark casually sneaks up on her but she’s having none of it. Mark takes off his hat and looks for a safe place for it while he gets a rope on Treacle. Quin’s head! As Mark is no longer wearing his hat, mule condescends to having a rope around her neck and allows Mark to lead her to the gate, when out of the corner of her eye she spots the now very fashionable Quin. “ARGHHHHHHH – Quin’s wearing a hat” says muley now truly terrified (yeah right!) and off she goes, barging through Quin, Mark valiantly water skiing behind her…. I think I heard the swearing twenty miles away…. But he loves her really!

She merrily flattens electric fencing, leaps gates if she wants to be elsewhere and yet despite some amazing offers I think she’s here to stay!! So hopefully this will be part one of the treacle story and if I can lay hands on enough stirrup cup, Part two will be “Mule goes hunting!

1 comment:

jinglejoys said...

Well done Treacle,looking foreward to hear you've won the Grand National(Well everyone knows that anything a horse can do a mule can do better and with a sense of humour:0)