Mules Might Be the Next Best Ranch Tool

Who needs a dog, a rope or even a horse when you’ve got a good mule?


Photo: Matt McGillivray/Flickr/Creative Commons

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard about the dressage mule…but how about the guard mule? This video is making the rounds of the internet among cattlemen and horsemen alike, showing a mule who appears to be defending his cowboy from a possessive mother cow as he gets her newborn calf to its feet (you must be logged in to Facebook to view):


This mule may not have been necessarily trained to do this: cowboys have reported this “phenomenon” of mules defending young calves from mother cows for years. Mules have strong protective instincts, though it’s not 100% clear why they would defend calves from their own mothers. However, for the sake of keeping this cowboy safe from a particularly feisty cow, I’m sure he’s very glad to have this instinct to protect him.

Why not separate the mother from its calf via a cattle chute and corrals? Sometimes calves are born miles away from the central ranch, and rather than stress the entire herd by driving it back in, it’s sometimes easier for cowboys to check, doctor and tag calves out in the pasture. This cowboy is trying to get this newborn to its feet, after which presumably he’ll doctor it, treat its navel and tag it before sending it on its way. Hmm…maybe I’d better go out and get myself a guard mule before heading back out into the cow pasture.

Go riding!


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