National Mule Day is recognized each year on October 26. A mule is a hybrid cross between a male donkey and a female horse. The mule possesses the strength, intelligence, patience, perseverance, endurance, sure-footedness and even temper of the donkey. From the horse, the mule inherits beauty, athletic ability, courage, vigor and speed. Mules appear to require less food than a horse of similar size.
Mule history according to the American Mule Museum:
- George Washington played the significant role in the development of the mule population in America. He recognized the value of the sturdy animal in agriculture and became the first American breeder.
- Donkeys were already in America, as they came over with the early explorers, but they were quite small. Washington wished to breed the very best mules, but he faced a major obstacle – the Spanish government at that time prohibited the acquisition or exportation of the famous Andalusian donkey. Washington wrote to King Charles of Spain requesting permission to purchase good quality breeding stock. In October of 1785, a ship docked in Boston harbor carrying a gift from King Charles for George Washington – two fine jennies and a 4-year old Spanish jack named, appropriately, “Royal Gift’. That “royal gift” from the Spanish king is now credited with the development of the American mule which began a dynasty that “reshaped the very landscape of the country.”
Top 10 Mule facts:
2. October 26, 1785 marked the arrival in America of a Spanish donkey, specially requested by George Washington to breed American mules…
3. …the donkey was named Royal Gift and was a present from the Spanish King Carlos III.
4. The date of National Mule Day was officially proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan on the 200th anniversary of the gift, October 26, 1985.
6. A male mule is called a john; a female mule is called a molly or mare.
7. Mules are almost always infertile but very rarely female mules have been known to give birth.
9. Aristotle was worried by the mule’s inability to reproduce as it contradicted his view of what constituted the essence of a species.
10. Around 1950, Muffin The Mule became the first toy marketed under licence after TV appearances.