Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gelato al latte d'asina


250 g di frutta ben matura
3 tuorli d’uovo
150 g di zucchero a velo
1 dl di latte d’asina

Far riscaldare il latte di asina e poi mettervi in fusione la frutta a pezzetti per 45 minuti. Battere i tuorli con lo zucchero a velo.
A questa crema incorporare latte e frutta, mescolando fino ad ottenere un’amalgama omogenea.
Mettere la crema così preparata in un idoneo contenitore e riporre nel freezer per 5-6 ore.

Source: http://www.sanihelp.it

Monday, August 27, 2012

Crossing Male Donkeys with Female Horses Produces Sterile Mules

Mules have a long history as tough working animals.


Domesticated horses can mate with donkeys, and the breeds that are crossed will determine the size of the offspring.

Donkeys or Asses

Donkeys were domesticated around 5,000 years ago, at about the same time as horses. Their ancestors were the African Wild Ass (Equs africanus), but they are now considered to be a distinct subspecies (Equs africanus asinus) with many different breeds.

Donkeys have been used for heavy work, carrying packs, and for riding, since ancient times – they still are in many of the poorer parts of the world.

In more affluent regions donkeys have tended to become pets, or riding animals for children.


There are over 250 recognised breeds of horse, and many have been used to produce mules – different local donkey breeds crossed with the local horse.

Mules and Hinnies

If the father was a donkey then the hybrid is a mule, and if the mother was a donkey it is a hinny. Hinnies tend to be smaller than mules (with typically smaller mothers), and the American Donkey and Mule Society believes that "The genetic inheritance of the hinny is exactly the same as the mule". This having been said the hinny's head is rather more horse-like than the mule's.

  • Horses have 64 chromosomes, while donkeys only have 62. This means that the animal produced from a 31 chromosome sperm and a 32 chromosome egg (or the other way round) will have 63 chromosomes.
  • All hinnies are sterile, and they are usually castrated early on.
  • The vast majority of mules also seem to be infertile, although females have occasionally given birth successfully. A mule that proves to be fertile is known as a 'molly'.

Mules are stronger than horses (weight for weight), and they need less food. These two attributes have made them useful working animals in the past.

In addition mules have a thicker skin than horses, and their hooves are harder and more resistant to infection. These factors made them very suitable plow animals in parts of America with heavy, clay, soils. The thick skin made them able to withstand extreme weather, and their feet required less attention.

Large Mules

The relatively small size of most breeds of donkey imposes a limit to the size of the mule.

Breeding large donkeys, such as the Mammoth Poitou Donkey, and mating them with large horses, such as the Mulassiere, allowed one region in France to produce an enormous mule - the 'Poitevin'.

This very large type of mule (they cannot really be called breeds) was an extremely useful working animal, but there are very few left.

Source: John Blatchford. http://suite101.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Estimate Your Mule's Weight


by Mari Lintin

Knowing your mule's weight is important for things like ordering harness, giving medications, and monitoring your mule's condition. To estimate your mule's weight, measure its girth and length as show in the illustration, enter those numbers in the fields provided below, and click on the "Weight Estimate" button. If you wish to keep records for several mules, enter each mule's name before printing the page showing its estimated weight.

Girth is the circumference of the mule's body about 4" behind its front legs.

Length is the length of the mule's body as measured in a straight line from the point of shoulder to the buttocks.

To calculate go to: http://www.ruralheritage.com/mule_paddock/mule_weight.htm

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mules vs Horses


Explaining the differences between mules and horses while understanding why some people prefer one over the other.

There are a lot of people who are curious about mules but do not know a lot about them. Though horses and mules are similar in many ways, they can be completely different in others.

What is a mule?

A mule is the offspring of a jack (male) donkey and a mare (female) horse. Because mules are a hybrid, they do not have the ability to reproduce. Many times the male mules, called Johns, are castrated in order to keep the “stud” tendencies away. The female mules, called Jennies, can either be left with their hormones intact or spayed to keep from coming into heat. Even though mules cannot reproduce, they still carry the hormones for reproduction and will attempt to breed.

Stubborn as a mule

Everyone has heard this phrase and probably been it many times. Mules are a bit on the stubborn side, simply because they are highly intelligent animals. Some people may not agree with this but, mules are actually smarter than horses; making them more difficult to train than horses.

The differences between horses and mules

Just because someone knows how to train horses well, it does not mean they know how to train mules. Though mules are a product of a horse, they think and act differently than most horses.

For the most part, horses are very forgiving animals. If we are having a bad day and end up overcorrecting our horse simply because we are mad, our horses usually forgive us and get over it. A mule on the other hand, may get over it right away but, will not forget about us taking our anger out on him or her. This mule may end up paying us back for having the bad day. It may not be right away, but sometime down the road, this mule may get us in a corner and let us have it. When training mules, we have to put a true meaning behind every disciplinary move we make. If our mules mess up, we discipline according to the offense and then move on.

Mules are very smart animals; by far smarter than horses and sometimes, smarter than us. When training a horse, a good trainer can read a horse’s body language and stay one or two steps ahead of that horse at all times. A mule on the other hand, is usually reading our body language and tries to stay ahead of us. Training mules takes a very keen eye and skilled person who can think way ahead of that mule and know exactly what he or she is going to do. With horses, this can be very simple to do. A mule on the other hand, is always trying to outthink and outsmart the person training him or her.

Mules are less likely to get hurt than a horse is. Mules are great at problem solving so when they get themselves into a dangerous situation; instead of freaking out and getting hurt like some horses may, a mule will think his or her way out of trouble.

Mules are a lot hardier and stronger an animal than horses. Many mule owners and trainers do not put shoes on their mules simply because their feet are so hard. A mule’s feet are very strong and are built with longer, straighter walls than a horse’s feet. The bottom side of a mule’s foot has a deep cup to it; helping to avoid bruising and abscesses where many horse’s soles are flat.

Both horses and mules cannot see directly behind them. So when horses run away from something they are afraid of, the only way they can see what scared them is by either stopping and facing the danger or running a big circle around it. Mules on the other hand, can run a straight line away from the danger with their heads turned; looking back at what scared them.

Mules are more aggressive than most horses. Many horses can be turned out in an area where there are lambs, calves, and dogs. The horses learn to coexist with these other animals and usually will not try to hurt them. A mule however, can kill or seriously injure any smaller animals that may wander into the field. A mule’s aggression is more along the lines of being curious. If a small animal wanders into the field, a mule will usually be the first to check it out. If this animal does not run, chances are they mule will leave it alone. If the animal shows fear and runs from the mule, the mule will pursue by chasing it. A mule may turn aggressive at this point; possibly running the animal until it injures itself or actually killing it. There have been instances where mules have killed calves by picking them up with their teeth and slamming them back down. Just because mules can be more aggressive than horses, this does not make them horrible animals. They just need to be treated with caution when around other animals.

Mules aren’t for everyone

Mules are smart animals and do make great athletes. Just about anything a horse can be trained to do, a mule can do too. Mules just aren’t for everyone, and many people shouldn’t even try to train them. The people who are successful at training and showing mules are great horsemen and horsewomen.

Many people do not like mules because they are harder to train than horses. Mules are also easier to mess up than a horse and should only be trained by someone who is well experienced with them.

If mules are an animal you are interested in learning more about, don’t try to master training one by yourself. Even if you have a lot of experience training horses, find someone who is experienced in training mules. They can teach you the things you need to know for a safe and productive training experience.

Source: http://suite101.com

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guard Donkeys, Mules Protect Against Predators

Goat and Sheep Farmers Use Burros to Watch Their Herds

Donkeys are loyal, economical guardians against herd predators like coyotes, foxes, and bobcats. They also sound a loud alarm for all types of intruders.

Donkeys, or burros, possess natural herding instincts combined with an innate aggressive dislike for coyotes and similar predators. Donkeys are capable of killing a dog or coyote. Their braying is a warning that these predators recognize and tend to avoid.

Goat and sheep farmers from Canada to Texas are using donkeys and mules to guard their herds from predators. Many people also use them as nannies with their horse and pony herds, especially weanlings and yearlings.

Why Donkeys and Mules Make Good Herd Guardians

Mules, offspring of a male donkey bred to a horse, also carry the natural animosity and aggressiveness toward such predators and are used as herd guardians, though donkeys are generally preferred.

Donkeys are fast on their feet and have a lightening kick that carries a punch, as do mules. Both animals have strong teeth and jaws carried on strong necks. These physical attributes give them muscle against predators.

They have their limitations in situations involving a pack of several predators that can circle them, as any lone guardian animal will have. Further, a donkey or mule cannot defend so well against large predators such as bears and mountain lions, although there are some documented incidents of mules winning bouts with mountain lions.

The coyote, though, a predator which is becoming increasingly prevalent even in residential areas, has a natural healthy respect for donkeys and will tend to avoid them. Donkeys have been known to kill coyotes.

It is the mutual aversion between donkeys and coyotes and dogs that make donkeys effective babysitters for sheep and goat ranchers. In addition, donkeys are easy keepers, and fit well into the herd environment.

Using Guard Donkeys or Mules to Protect Herds and Farmyards

Standard and mammoth donkeys are the type to use. Miniatures are not big enough to serve guard duty.

Ideally a donkey will be raised with a herd of sheep or goats to become their protector naturally. A female donkey (jenny) is preferable, although gelded males have been used with some success. Ungelded jacks do not work.

Alternatively, one can select an individual young adult female donkey and introduce her to the herd. Once a donkey has bonded with her herd she will become its protector.

Similarly a donkey will be territorial and protective of her farmyard environment and announce intruders, animal and human, with loud braying. A donkey alarm can be heard for quite a distance.

Because individual animals have their idiosyncrasies, it must not be assumed that every donkey or mule will automatically be a good guard animal. In the early stages of herd introduction, the donkey's behavior with the herd must be monitored to be sure of compatibility, bonding and good guardianship.

Guard donkeys work best with sheep or goat herds of 100 or less ranging in a reasonable size range. If the distance is too far flung, meaning that herd individuals will be widely separated, the donkey's ability to be effective will be limited.

Similarly, a large herd puts too much demand on a single guard animal's capability. One guard donkey per pasture or group is recommended for effective protection.

Because donkeys have a natural adversity to dogs, working guard donkeys in proximity with sheep dogs may be dicey. Management of herd duties between the donkey and the herd dogs will be an important dynamic to plan out. On the other hand, donkeys are naturally docile with people, unless given a very good reason not to be.

Many breeders of horses and ponies use donkeys to protect their herds when out at pasture. Jennies are good babysitters for weanlings and yearlings.

Feeding Guard Donkeys with the Herd and General Care

An advantage of guard donkeys and mules is that they are easy keepers. They do well grazing with the herd.

A caution is to be sure that donkeys do not eat rich grain, hay or overly lush grass high in protein. These feeds will make them prone to obesity, founder and other metabolic illnesses such as hyperlipaemia.

Other care requirements of donkeys and mules are fairly minimal. Compared to horses, they are inexpensive animals to keep and manage. They need their feet trimmed from time to time and should have inoculations and general vet care recommended for equines in their geographic region. Their legs are susceptible to bleeding and scabbing from biting flies, which is something to watch over in fly season.

With proper care and management guard donkeys and mules can be expected to serve for 10 to 15 years.

Source: Linda Ashar. http://suite101.com

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mule Psychology 101: Mule Truths


By Cindy K. (McKinnon) Roberts

True or False:  A mule will wait ten or twenty years to kick you or get back at you.  This is false.I hear stories of owners that have owned a mule for x amount of years and then on that one given day...wham!  Their own mule kicks them.  Mules are deliberate and calculating animals.  They do not forget their life experiences, good or bad.  However, they do not hang out in their stall and put a notch in the wood rail for every act of indiscretion that came from Farmer Joe.  Mule's do not think to themselves "hmmmm...let's see, I will give this guy something to remember, for all those times he whipped me."  Mules and other animals, like people, can have a bad day. 

They develop conditions such as arthritis when they get older.  They can be in pain and having a bad day at the same time.  Honestly, when a 1200 pound mule is having a bad day, you do not want to mess with them....or tigers (ask Roy!) or gorillas for that matter.  I have to think that owners that have been struck by their own mule have failed to properly train them in a positive manner in the first place.  Using fear or force does not work on mules.  Mule and horse owners that get comfortable  in their handling of their animal(s),  get preoccupied and then they are in a vulnerable situation where they get hurt.

No, mules don't wait twenty years to do you in; they get old and cranky just like people and deserve to be treated well throughout their lives.

Source: http://www.everycowgirlsdream.com

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Plodding Along: the humble horsepower of transportation


Mules deserve to be remembered for the important roles they played in the history of transportation.

A Mule is a non-reproducing crossbreed; half horse, half donkey. Donkeys are also called asses or burros (burro is Spanish), and are known for having long ears and a strong sense of self preservation.

Mules have ears almost as long, and strength and stamina, they can carry up to their own weight, but the smart mule skinner loads them with about half their own weight. A mule skinner is a professional mule driver, he is armed with a leather whip which can literally take the hair off of (skin) a mule without doing permanent harm to the animal. He also understands how to balance loads on a mule’s back, and find the leader of a team, the bell mule. If a good bell mule is selected all the mules will follow the bell in a straight line and not wander off or stop to graze. This line is called a mule train.

Mule trains were the primary cargo movers in parts of Mexico until the 1950's, and were important on rough terrain throughout the old west. They are excellent on narrow trails or mountain terrain, and the 20 mule team hauling borax out of canyons like the Grand Canyon remains a famous image. The mule train consists of individual mules with loads tied to their backs, they can move a surprising amount. The old way was to tie what is called a “diamond hitch” across the load over the animals back. This makes a sort of net over the load and can be tightened by pulling just one rope. The modern way is to have load saddles that loads can be attached to.

Mules are hardier than horses and can live on less food and water, a mule can live on pasture where a horse would starve; they also have stronger resistances to heat and cold than horses. These traits made them very useful in dessert terrain. Mules were also used in the deepest Mexican mines, and some were underground so long that they could not see in daylight when finally brought out.

Besides all these tasks, Mules are also excellent for working a farm. Mules are good plough and wagon pullers and were very popular as work animals throughout the U.S. George Washington is said to have bred the first mules in America from a burro sent to him by the King of Spain. It is known that he kept over 40 mules at his Mount Vernon plantation. Mules are stubborn if treated badly, but will generally work without complaint for someone they trust. The famous old western movie line, “What is it Bessy”, also has some basis, a good mule that refuses to do what is asked often senses some danger the human has not yet noticed. Mules can, however, be permanently “ruint” (i.e. ruined) by mistreatment. The mule's main liability is its inability to reproduce, but this peculiarity does not inhibit the sex drive, and male mules are generally castrated to make them somewhat more manageable.

Like the farmers and skinners that worked them, Mules quietly made a very large impact on history and transportation in America, Mexico, South America, and a lot of old world countries as well. Mules were still used on rough terrain by the U.S. Army Quartermasters Corps as late as WWII, long after the glory days of the cavalry horse were over. I guess there may be something to be said for plodding along, rather than charging forward, after all.

Source: John Crandall. http://suite101.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Donkeys, Man's Forgotten Friend


Donkeys are intelligent, affectionate, healthy, long lived, and cheap to keep animals, so why are we now allowing them to die in record numbers?

Donkeys were first domesticated in Egypt about 6,000 years ago. Since their earliest association with mankind, they have been loyal and uncomplaining servants. An early Pakistani proverb states, “To carry a load without resting, to be not bothered by heat or cold, and always to be content: these things we can learn from a donkey”. Donkeys quickly spread from Egypt to all area cultures where they provided transportation, carried heavy loads on their back, served as draft animals, helped to plow the fields, to turn grist mills, and guarded livestock from predation. In addition, their milk and meat provided substance for the ancient family and still does for families today in many parts of the world.

Remarkable animal

Many breeds of donkey have been developed in the service of mankind. Donkeys range in size from the Miniature Mediterranean which stands only 36 inches at the shoulder, to the Mammoth Jack which can be 56 inches and even taller. They can have short, slick hair like the burro of the American southwest, or can have wooly long hair like the French Poitou. One thing they all have in common is their ability to endure heat and cold, lack of water and poor quality food. Pound for pound they are stronger than the horse and better climbers in hills and mountains. Their hooves are tougher and require less care than the hooves of horses. Donkeys can live up to 40 years (about twice as long as horses).

The perfect pet

The first donkey that I ever owned was a gift from a friend. My friend told me that during a hunting trip his brother had taken an ax handle and hit this donkey right between the eyes. Although it was a vicious and powerful blow, the brother was more hurt by this cowardly action than was the donkey. The donkey merely blinked and moved away, while the brother’s hand was bleeding and he reported considerable pain from the jarring impact of the blow.

I quickly renamed this donkey Genghis Kahn, because he put me in mind of the small Mongolian horses that the Mongols rode. When Genghis first arrived at my ½ acre pasture he was a bit leery of me, however, after two days of carrots, apples, back combing and ear scratching we became fast friends. Genghis would follow me about the pasture and nuzzle me each time I stopped. Often my young son would climb upon his back as he walked around the pasture. Genghis seemed to enjoy the companionship. Later, I would ride that brave little donkey on mountainous trails where he proved to be a strong, steady and dependable climber.

We decided to get Genghis a companion, which I purchased at an auction for $25. He was a three year old, standard size uncut jack who had been raised wild. Until a few days before the sale, he had never seen a human. Within two days of his arrival, he was completely gentle. My 12 -year-old son, Ryan, named him Black Jack.

On the third day Black Jack lived with us, Ryan and I argued about who would try to ride him first. I believed that Ryan should ride, as I was bigger, stronger and more capable of holding him with the rope. Ryan argued that I should ride due to the fact that I was heavier and he wouldn’t be able to buck as hard. However, I played the daddy card and with much trepidation Ryan got on; we waited for the rodeo to begin.

Much to our surprise he never bucked. He tiptoed forward, stopped and looked around not knowing exactly what to do. Then I had an idea; as Ryan rode Genghis and the danger seemed over, I boldly hopped upon Black Jack. He quickly got the clue from Genghis about what was expected from a respectable saddle donkey, and on that very day we rode up and down small hills for about an hour. Black Jack proved to be an even better riding donkey than Genghis.

The current crisis

Because of the severe drought in Texas and Oklahoma, there is not much grazing left. Ranchers have to buy hay to keep their cattle, sheep, goats and horses alive. Unfortunately, the donkey has been deemed to be expendable and is starving to death by the hundreds. Fortunately, organizations like the Peaceful Valley Donkey Ranch are doing their best to save this intelligent and friendly animal. It is possible to adopt rescued donkeys through this organization, or donate money to help in their efforts. If you can adopt, donate or share this article with a friend you will have the pleasure of perhaps saving one of these remarkable animals.

Sources: Sue Weaver, The Donkey Companion, 2008. Storey Publishing, LLC; First Edition edition. ISBN-10: 160342038X; ISBN-13: 978-1603420389.

Source: Lance Morton. http://suite101.com

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mule Questions


Anything from about 32" to 18hh plus, depending on the size of the parents, but most mules in Britain at present are under 13.2hh.

They have all the normal sexual characteristics, both physical and temperamental, but males are always infertile, and females normally so - fertile mules are very rare indeed. However, males should be castrated to avoid them becoming aggressive; most females come into season either regularly or occasionally, but are only rarely 'mareish'.

Anything you can use horses and ponies for, depending only on size: riding - racing, endurance riding, hunting, jumping, gymkhanas, dressage, shepherding etc.; in harness - private driving, scurrying, cross country, dressage, light and heavy haulage, agricultural work; under pack - for work or leisure.

Mules are only bad-tempered if handled incorrectly and with lack of understanding. They can kick with great speed and accuracy, but only do so in self-defence, when they are afraid or think something is going to hurt them.

They are exceptionally intelligent, which some handlers find difficult to cope with; this, and their great sense of self-preservation (which means they also look after their rider or cargo) accounts for their totally undeserved reputation for stubbornness. If mule and handler trust and understand each other, so that the mule knows that what he is asked to do is in his interests, there will be no problems.

An impossible question; as a general rule, a small, young, unbroken mule will cost the same as or slightly less than a similar pony, e.g. £50-£80; a big, mature, well-trained and handled mule, which can be ridden and driven, being rarer than a similar horse, could cost more, e.g.£1,000- £1,500. So much depends on supply and demand, and these prices are only a very rough guide.

They are sold at horse sales, advertised in horse magazines, and the BMS keeps a register of mules for sale and wanted, being contacted from time to time by people with mules for sale.

Choose the parents with care; the mare's conformation should compensate for any faults in the jack, and she should have a similar amount of bone to that required in your mule; both parents should have good temperaments. Big jack donkeys are few and far between in Britain at present, but a donkey can serve a mare up to 3hh larger than himself; if he is unwilling and not all donkeys will serve mares - or if you want to breed with a mare more than 3hh bigger than the jack, it is relatively easy to use artificial insemination.

They are very easy to look after in that they are rarely ill or lame, rarely need shoeing, are not fussy about their food and can withstand extremes of climate.

No, but their natures are different to horses';.you must gain your mule's trust and learn to understand each other, and then he will do anything for you.

Source: http://www.britishmulesociety.co.uk/

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mule or Hinny?

by Betsy Hutchins

At first glance a hinny seems to be a mule, but on closer inspection the hinny is more subtly like a horse. The hinny's head and face are often more horselike; the ears are usually shorter and sometimes rounder than a mule's ears.

The hinny usually has a fuller tail and more horselike limbs and feet than the mule, and its body is more like that of a horse. In temperament, the young hinny favors the donkey, tending to be gentler and less nervous than the young mule. Hinnies are more likely to neigh like a horse than to bray. But, as with all equines, their voices are distinctive to the individual animal.

Neither the mule nor the hinny is simply half horse and half donkey, but is an individual animal with completely blended characteristics, plus a few new ones belonging only to itself and not found in either parent.

Source: http://www.ruralheritage.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saddles & Mules


Why can't I use my saddle on my mule?  A lot of times you can. Mules have different backs just like horses do. Mules are half ass horses, without a horse you have no mule. A mules' mother is always a horse that has been bred with a jack ass, and he will breed with anything that is in heat and will allow him to mount her. What we end up with is a lot of different types of backs depending on what the mother is like. The back of the jack ass is usually pretty darn flat, as compared to the horse, that has more "rock" or sway to its' back.

Another feature that is characteristic of a mule and a jack ass, is they are what is called easy-keepers, which means that is doesn't take a whole lot of feed for them to stay fat real easy and if the mule is not ridden a lot, they will stay pretty fat, and we seem to like to see our animals fat. In fact, you can get arrested if they are not kept that way. Our kids can be skinny but our animals have to be fat.

Now if you are lucky enough to have a saddle and it just happens to stay on your mule, ride the heck out of it, and if that means an hour or so in an arena a few times a week, life is good.  However if you get out on the trail quit a bit, and notice the ears of your mule seem to have gotten a little closer than when you started and your reins are suddenly way too long, then quick, find a good place to quietly dismount in a way that your saddle doesn't role under your mule when you try to get off. Your cinch will be loose and your saddle will have slid way forward. Anybody who has ridden much will know what kind of a wreck this can cause.

Don't just run out and buy a britchin' or a crupper to solve the sliding problem, which they will. Let's take a little deeper look at what is going on here so as we can deal with this as it comes up with different animals in different situations.

The first thing that happened was the saddle slid forward. Why did that happen? Well there are a few things going on here. The first thing is that the saddle was probably built for a horse, which means that the bars of the saddle tree were built to accommodate the sway that is in a horses back, instead of  the flatness of the back on a jack ass. Picture the rockers on a rocking chair and you'll see what I mean. You can see this on your mule if you will place your saddle on his back without any padding or cinches, and take look at how it rocks back and forth. Don't put the saddle too far forward onto his shoulder blade or it won't work, and neither will he. The back will settle a little when you ride, so do this before and after you ride, to get the real picture. What happens when you ride is that there is less bearing surface, evenly distributing your weight, over the bar surface as it sets on the back. The tree or saddle will skid along more easily, and move usually forward, but it can go back. The way a saddle with mule bars is different, is the bars are built to have less "rock" in them and are consequently flatter than the bars built for a horse.

A mule can also have a back with withers, like a thoroughbred, or be mutton withered like a burly quarter horse, depending on what the mare was like. What this means to a saddle maker relates to angle that the flatter bars are set to. We can still use thoroughbred or 90 degree, semi-quarter horse at 92 degree, or a full quarter horse at 95 degree, on the mules just like we do on horses. Generally the mules are set to a semi quarter horse angle, with a little more separation between the bars, like 6 ¼ to 6 ½  inches of width, which accommodates the more fleshy or heavier wither area. The big wide flat back mules need a full quarter horse bar angle with 7 inches of width between them. The backs of the mules are just as different as are those of the horses, they are generally flatter like the jack ass who fathered them.

The other thing that needs to be considered is where the cinchas will be located in relation to the size and shape of the belly of the mule. This is called the riggin position of, or, on the saddle. A saddle can have the front cincha way forward in a full position or back to the middle of the seat in a center fire position, or any place in between, we have choices and need to look at what will be best for all intents and purposes. This is where "fat" can get in the way. To understand this a little better, place your saddle on your mule where it is supposed to be, back behind the shoulder blade and not on it, now take a look at where the ring that holds the latigo is located. A full position or Spanish rig is under the horn or a little forward of the horn. This is about as forward as you can get it. Some mules require the cinch here, because the belly fat will push it there anyway. The problem is that you may gall him as he moves and rubs against the cinch and or the buckle. Neoprene can solve the rubbing, but they are slippery and in other positions can move easier than a stranded cinch. If this happens on your mule and the riggin position is more back to the middle of the saddle and consequently the belly, a saddle maker can move the position of the ring to a full position. If you don't the saddle will continue to slide forward to where the cinch wants to come to a rest, in that little hollow spot just back of the leg. This will vary depending on the conformation. The riggin position should be placed directly above this hollow spot to help keep the saddle in place. The saddle may still want to slide forward, up onto the shoulder blade, but this will minimize the movement. This is when you need a crupper or better yet a breeching, because you can hold the cinch as well as the saddle, and breechings add class to the long ears. Any riggin position that places the cinch on the down hill slide of the belly will only cause it to move to where it will stop, gravity, work with it. If you are lucky and have an animal that is more "hound gutted" the cinch will only want to move back towards the tail or stay where you put it and not move. A breast collar is an easy solution.

Over the years I have had an opportunity to spend time with the ranchers of Baja California, where they are just now getting roads and pickup trucks. These hardy mountain folk have used mules and donkeys since Cortez first settled the country, and I  mean literally. This is a steep, rough and sparse desert and their stock will go where the feed is, and rounding them up can get interesting. These are the true Californios who still use the center fire saddle effectively. They place the cinch right in the middle of the belly and crank her down. The cinch is only twelve or maybe fifteen strands, not very wide, and they put them on tight and keep them there. If you were to watch them come off of some of those hillsides, you wouldn't believe they could do it, let alone keep their saddle in place, but sure enough with a center fire saddle and no crupper or breeching, or breast collar, they stay in place. Hard to believe, but true. I think the difference is the fat. Those mules are all muscle and have backbones and withers to help keep the saddles from sliding around. I often use a center fire saddle on our mule and without a breeching the cinch still slides. It's the fat, center fire is the best place for the cinch, because it pulls from both ends of the saddle, which makes the pressure more even on the bars and back, and the cinch pull is around the manure and not the heart and lungs.

Even though the center fire may be theoretically better, it is bound to cause a wreck if it slides. In today's world, your best bet is still the 7/8 double rig, for all intents and purposes and generalities, you can always be safe with a double rig. The back cinch is made to be used, equally as tight or more so than the front cinch. If you don't tighten it, you might as well leave it home. Tighten it up tight, but do it in a round pen at first in case it takes a little getting used to. Let him buck, if he needs to, he'll get the hang of it, without you on his back. Make sure you have a strap between the two cinchas, so they can't move away from each other, forward or back, besides keeping the back cinch out of the flank, it will keep the front one off the leg or shoulder. This should help keep the saddle from moving.

Your best bet is a lot of wet saddle blankets and a little experimentation, padding can often make a bad situation better, get off your animal once in a while and loosen the cinchas and let the back breathe. If the saddle is too tight, it can burn his back even if it does "fit " him well. If you have dry spots, pad around them and see if you can make it better, it's hard to run out and buy a new saddle, because the "trainer" says to. Do what you can and seek the advice of those who have been there, they can help, but in the end it is up to you.

Saddles and mules continue to be a dilemma, but they are generally flatter than horses and saddles with flatter bars are better for their backs, but all are different and need individual attention. Do what you can, but be safe, white spots happen, but aren't the end of the world. If they happen to you and you think your mule is worth less, let me know. I am always in the market for a good mule.

Source: by Garry McClintock, SouthernCaliforniaRidingMagazine

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Horse + Donkey = Mule

by Morris Helmig & Sybil E. Sewell

A mule combines the traits of its horse dam and donkey sire to create a new animal with its own distinctive characteristics. Here are the notable differences between horses, donkeys, and mules.

Head—A donkey's head is larger than that of a horse, as is evidenced by its need for a bridle with a larger browband than is required for a horse or pony of comparable size. Donkey owners like to point out that this characteristic indicates a larger brain capacity, and therefore greater intelligence. The head of a mule or hinny is larger than the head of a horse of comparable size.

Ears—A donkey's ears are longer than those of the horse and have an excellent blood supply, which is a desert adaptation for cooling the body. A mule's ears are inherited from the donkey, but are not quite as long as the donkey's. A hinny's ears are shorter than those of a donkey, but are much wider.

Eyes—A donkey's eyes are larger in proportion to the head than those of a horse. Donkeys and mules have heavier eye sockets set farther out on the side of the head, resulting in a wider field of vision than the horse has. The horse's eye sockets are round, the donkey's are D-shaped. The mule's eye sockets are somewhat D-shaped, as seen in male (horse) mules with heavy brow ridges.

Tail—The donkey has a cow-like tail covered by short coarse body hair, except for a tuft at the end. The horse's thick, long tail is inherited by the mule, but the mule's tail hair is coarse like a donkey's rather than fine like a horse's, and the top is not as full as a horse's tail. The hinny's tail is more like that of a donkey.

Chestnuts (Ergots)—The donkey has chestnuts on the front legs, but only rarely on the hind legs, where you would find them on a horse. Like the donkey, a mule or hinny rarely has chestnuts on the hind legs.

Hoof—A donkey's hooves are more elastic, tougher, smaller, rounder, and upright compared to those of a horse. Mules and hinnies inherit the donkey's hoof characteristics, but to a lesser degree—not quite as upright, small, or tough. Like the donkey, the mule needn't be shod unless the animal is regularly worked in rocky terrain.

Skeleton—The donkey's spinal column lacks the fifth lumbar vertebrae (loin area) normally found in the horse. The donkey's pelvis is higher, steeper, and less broad than a horse's, due to the longer length and steeper angle of the upper hip bones. The donkey's croup is therefore less round or broad than a horse's croup. Most (but not all) mules have the horse's fifth lumbar vertebrae and the donkey's short croup, and may or may not have the horse's muscling. Overall size is governed by the dam, although offspring may grow taller than either parent.

Coat—The donkey's coat is longer and coarser than that of a horse. The donkey lacks the horse's protective undercoat and is therefore more susceptible to climatic conditions such as rain, wet snow, and wind, but the donkey is insulated from heat and cold by air pockets between its longer hairs. The mule's or hinny's coat is fine in summer, like a horse's, but coarse in winter, like a donkey's. Coat color tends to be like the dam's.

Voice—Each mule or hinny makes a distinctive sound that might be described as a cross between the donkey's bray and the horse's whinny.

Reproduction—The donkey is more prepotent [high in its ability to transmit certain characteristics to its offspring] but less fertile than the horse. It has 50% to 60% conception rate, compared to the horse's average of 60% to 65%. The conception rate for mares carrying mule foals is about same as for horse foals, but for jennets carrying hinny foals the rate drops to about 25%.

Compared to a gestation period of 11 months for the horse, the donkey's gestation period averages 12 months, but may vary between 11 and 14 months. The gestation period for a hybrid foal is usually intermediate between the parent species. Production of twins, although rare, is more frequent among donkeys than among horses.

The mule is a sterile hybrid, yet occasionally a mare mule will be fertile. The difference between the numbers of chromosomes in the cells of the donkey (62 chromosomes; 31 pairs) and the horse (64 chromosomes; 32 pairs) results in a mule or hinny with 63 chromosomes. This odd number is responsible for mule's sterility—the donkey and horse chromosomes are unable to form matched pairs during the early stages of conception, resulting in the death of the reproductive cells.

Intelligence—The donkey is more intelligent than the horse, but its instincts give it a different behavior pattern that is often mistaken for stubbornness. A frightened donkey won't, for example, bolt in panic like a horse will. The donkey is instead more likely to stop and carefully study the situation before determining the best course of action. Like the donkey, the mule or hinny is highly intelligent and has a well-developed instinct for self-preservation.

Longevity—A lifespan of 30 to 50 years is common for a donkey. Horses average 25 to 30 years. Thanks to hybrid vigor, mules and hinnies may live 30 to 40 years (and sometimes up to 50), with a comparably longer working life than that of a horse.

Source: http://www.ruralheritage.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

Riso, Latte e Castagne Gelato al riso, salsa alle castagne, Parmigiano Reggiano, riso soffiato, Prosciutto di Parma e Olio di Nocciola Piemonte Pariani


Una ricetta dedicata ai bambini

Questa ricetta prende spunto da una preparazione di cucina classica, come la zuppa di riso, latte e castagne.

Il riso viene cotto con il latte, frullato ed utilizzato per preparare un gelato. Le castagne invece vengono bollite con il latte, passate ed utilizzate per la preparazione della salsa, che viene arricchita con parmigiano grattugiato.

Alla preparazione viene aggiunto riso soffiato al cioccolato per donare croccantezza e prosciutto di parma che con la sua sapidita’ andra’ ad armonizzare la preparazione.

La zuppa di riso, latte e castagne, e’ un ricordo d’infanzia per molte persone, e con questa preparazione abbiamo cercato di attualizzare una ricetta che si sta un po’ perdendo come tutte le preparazioni classiche. La ricetta e’ stata creata con un occhio di riguardo anche per i bambini, abbiamo infatti cercato di ricreare l’atmosfera della colazione, con i cereali soffiati e la salsa al latte e castagne. Questa ricetta puo’ essere anche preparata con latte di asina, che per le sue caratteristiche e’ assimilabile anche da quei bambini intolleranti al lattosio.

L’utilizzo della salsa intiepidita, fara’ si che il gelato si ammorbidisca notevolmente e prenda quella consistenza che era forse alla base delle ricette di corte preparate da Buontalenti e Bartolomeo Scappi.


Ingredienti per la preparazione della base di riso per il gelato:

200 gr. riso vialone nano veronese

1 lt. Latte


Procedimento per la preparazione della base di riso per il gelato:

bollire il latte con il riso e cuocere per circa 40 minuti. Frullare e conservare per la preparazione del gelato


Ingredienti per la preparazione del gelato al riso:

300 gr. saccarosio

50 gr. destrosio

10 gr. carruba

500 gr. base di riso

1 lt. Latte


1 lt. Latte di asina

10 gr. olio di nocciola Piemonte Pariani


Procedimento per la preparazione del gelato al riso:

portare il latte a 40°C quindi unire le polveri e pastorizzare. Riposare 12 ore quindi mantecare e colare negli stampi voluti.

Nel caso in cui si utilizzasse il latte di asina, aggiungere l’olio di nocciola durante la mantecazione del gelato.


Ingredienti per la preparazione del riso soffiato al cioccolato:

100 gr. cacao in polvere

200 gr. riso vialone nano veronese

1 lt . acqua

5 gr. sale

5 gr. zucchero


Procedimento per la preparazione del riso soffiato al cioccolato:

cuocere il riso con tutti gli ingredienti per 30 minuti, scolare, quindi seccare a 50°C per 15 minuti. Friggere in olio caldo e conservare per la preparazione del piatto.


Ingredienti per la salsa al latte e castagne:

500 gr. castagne secche

1 lt. Latte

Parmigiano Reggiano

Prosciutto di Parma


Procedimento per la salsa al latte e castagne:

ammollare le castagne in acqua fredda per una notte.

In una pentola soffriggere il prosciutto di parma, quindi aggiungere le castagne ed il latte e portare a cottura. Passare ed insaporire con il Parmigiano Reggiano.

Raffreddare e conservare per la preparazione del piatto.


Ingredienti per la preparazione del piatto:

gelato al riso

riso soffiato al cioccolato

salsa al latte, castagne e parmigiano

Prosciutto di Parma


Procedimento per la preparazione del piatto:

impiattare il gelato al riso in un piatto fondo, aggiungere il riso soffiato, ed il Prosciutto di Parma.

Servire la salsa al latte, castagne e parmigiano, portata alla temperatura di ca 20°C.


Source: http://www.informacibo.it

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mule Psychology 101:"Rating The Mule's Learning Ability"


by Cindy K. (McKinnon) Roberts

Like children, the mule's learning capacity differs between each mule. Some are more intelligent than others and yet, their physical abilities vary too.  The mule's learning capacity is dependent upon four factors:  intelligence, athletic ability, age and the training techniques being used.  

Intelligence of the mule, would be measured by the ability of the mule to learn the responses expected from him.  If you are able to determine the intelligence of a specific mule, than this would be to your advantage at the time of purchase.  I must make a point about this.  Some people inaccurately judge a mule to being not so intelligent when in fact, he is.  That is why it is important to understand how the mule's mind works.  Yet, others tend to overrate the mule.  Inaccurate judgement of the mule's intelligence will for sure interfere in training.  Because, after all, the communication process is not there.  

How does one determine the intelligence of a mule?  Are there "tests" to be given?  Yes, there are tests.  Interesting enough, colleges and universities repeatedly do tests with animals to determine their intelligence.  One test is to score your mule's ability to  "read".  Reading in the sense of recognizing  symbols.  Simply use a 6x8 inch card  using a magic marker, draw a cross on it.  Using another 6x8 card, draw a circle on it.  Place the card with the cross on it, in front of the a bucket having grain in it.  The second bucket should be placed about 10 feet away from the first bucket, using the card with the circle on it, placed in front if it.  This bucket also has grain in it, but with a screen rigged on top of it so that none can be eaten.

Source: http://www.everycowgirlsdream.com