Should I Pack Horses or Pack Mules?

I am asked this question regularly. Coincidentally, the only people who ever ask this question are those who have never owned a mule. That says a lot. However, my standard answer is this: if you own a horse that is just standing around burning hay, pack him. But if you are shopping for a pack animal, buy a pack mule. Why? Remembering that stock users, including me, are opinionated, here are my reasons:

  • Pack mules are born followers. A pack mule will follow a horse or another mule almost anywhere.
  • While some pack horses have a tendency to daydream and step off the trail, pack mules know exactly where they are going to put down each foot.
  • Pack mules carry a load without a lot of swaying and lunging.
  • Pound for pound, pack mules are tougher than pack horses.
  • I never have to shoe my pack mules. I just keep them trimmed, which saves me money.
  • Pack mules know their job and want to do it.
  • Pack mules generally have a 20-30% longer useful life than pack horses.
  • Pack mules are easier keepers than pack horses for the most part.
  • Last, but not least, they are cute.

Would you like to go shopping?