Don't Fear the Mule

Don't Fear The Mule

Lee and Porter Green say understanding the differences as well as the similarities between mules and horses will remove the mystery

MULE SHOE DISPLAY. Lee Green displays a board of mule shoes he has collected. Some of the shoes were those he used while shoeing mules himself and others were recovered from areas where mules were used extensively — including one found near the famed Comstock Silver Mine of Virginia City, Nev.

The biggest problem confronting a farrier who’s asked to shoe a mule for the first time may very well be fear of the unknown.

So says Lee Green, the International Horseshoeing Hall Of Fame member from Yucaipa Calif., who has shod a lot of mules in his career. Green, along with his son, Portor, tackled the subject of shoeing mules during a session at the International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, earlier this year.

The Greens started their presentation by asking why farriers don’t like to shoe mules. They got a variety of answers, including the mule’s reputation for being stubborn and likely to kick, the toughness of mule’s feet and — as one farrier remarked — the fact that “there’s no prestige in shoeing mules.”

The elder Green would beg to disagree with that final observation.

“I’ve always enjoyed shoeing mules,” he told the audience. “It’s true that you don’t get the $200, 300 or $400 you get with some high-end horses when you’re shoeing mules. And while I’ve spent most of my career shoeing horses for jumping and English and Western-style riding, mules have always dear to my heart.”

Lee Green shod pack mules in the Grand…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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