Mule-Crazy: One Woman’s Struggle With Addiction

In an HN exclusive, Maria Wachter bares her soul.


My name is Maria Wachter (rhymes with doctor) and I’m here to admit it: I’m a mule-a-holic.

I’m not sure how long I’ve carried this affliction, but I’ve always been fond of horses, and their long-eared cousins have intrigued me since before I can remember. I didn’t become a full-blown mule-a-holic until 2011. As I grew up, I always heard that mules weren’t for everyone. If you’re not a mule person, you could get seriously hurt or even killed. I didn’t know at that time if my life was worth risking for a pair of long-ears.

I dabbled in mules starting in 2010 and realized I was in over my head. A couple of super-expensive, trained out the ass (figuratively speaking) gaited Tennessee walking mules had tried to kill me numerous times, so I put away that notion and decided I was better off sticking to short ears. But, just like a junkie always looking for their next hit, I was always surfing Craigslist for my mule that would be the redeemer of all mules. I found him in 2011 and have been hooked ever since. Since then, I have owned numerous mules and no matter how amazing or crazy they are, they will always have a piece of my heart.


In my experience, here are the perks of owning a mule:

  • A mule is a hybrid, a cross of a donkey and a horse. She has 63 chromosomes and is sterile. You will not have to worry about Peaches the mule coming home knocked up one day with you having to support her and her illegitimate child. (If in the rare case she does get pregnant, since there is about a one in a million chance, you will become famous and they’ll write songs about you.)
  • A mule can live 40 to 50 years. Think about how many horses you would go through in the same amount of time!
  • Mules have really cute, really long ears. It helps them get out of trouble. How can you be mad at a creature that cute?
  • Once a mule bonds to you, they’re as loyal as dog — and they won’t jump on your neighbors or chew the house up, and you can ride them.
  • A mule on average can carry 30% of his body weight compared to 20% on a horse. Now you can go back for round two in the buffet line!
  • A mule holds his resale value and normally costs more than a horse of equal size, disposition and training. (Basically, a mule is a better investment than the stock market.)
  • A mule’s bray can be soft as a church-mouse or loud as an elephant’s bugle. If you end up with the latter, you might be forced to move to the country … where the air is clear, there is no crime and you can pee in your yard without being locked up.
  • As a half-donkey, the mule have the same advantages: donkeys are desert dwellers and can withstand the extreme temperatures and less water intake much better than a horse. This means if Lake Mead does eventually run dry, your mule at least has a fighting chance.
  • Mules have the skills of ninjas: they are very accurate kickers. If they kick at you and miss it’s because they wanted to miss and must like you, at least a little bit.
  • The saying “stubborn as a mule” isn’t because they are stubborn, it’s because too many people have been outsmarted by mules. Mules are extremely smart, but sometimes they must stop and think before proceeding with what was asked of them. A mule will not run blindly over a cliff. A mule will also not kick and struggle until he breaks his leg if he gets tangled up. This means less vet bills and lower insurance premiums.
  • A mule will take every opportunity to make a fool of you. A mule has a great sense of humor. This is a good thing if you have too big of an ego. Owning a mule is a humbling experience.
  • Mules are EXTREMELY sure-footed. They have even been known to walk up and down stairs. This is a good thing if you live in the mountains. Or an apartment.
  • A mule can do everything a horse can do, but with longer ears.

Mule lovers of Horse Nation, weigh in! Are you a mule-a-holic?

Go riding! (Especially on a mule.)


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