A few years ago, my husband wanted to buy a mule. I thought he was crazy. We live in Washington but he found one in Idaho and we borrowed my brother’s horse trailer to go get it. My brother had a couple of saddles in the trailer that he no longer wanted, so he asked me to try to sell them while we were there.

We got to Idaho and I asked the mule sellers if they were interested in buying the saddles.  They said that they would trade a lightly ridden pack mule for them. Since my brother has a lot of horse experience, I called and asked what he thought. He said sure, bring it home.

My brother put the mule in with his horses who were not thrilled with their new friend. He spent hours trying to catch this mule.  The animal ate all the leaves off my sister-in-law’s fruit trees. His favorite roll spot was turning into a mud hole, and he just wasn’t very friendly.

Eventually, my brother asked if I wanted to put his mule, which he named Buster, in with my husband’s mule so we did. Buster was not a real fan of people. He wouldn’t allow his ears to be touched and didn’t want to be brushed anywhere beyond his neck. People were there to feed him, other than that he really didn’t care much for them.

I spent time with him and, little by little, he ended up coming around. I began riding him in the area around our house and then on the trail. He started to show me some trust and I started to really bond with him.

Buster had a personality like no other. Kind of like a little brother, he would “tease” me and then let me pet, brush and even rub his ears. Over the next year, we became the best of buds. I ended up trading my four wheeler to my brother so that I could keep him forever and never have to worry about giving him back.

I re-named him Gunner, because of the hole in his left ear. It looks as if he was shot; probably why he was so scared of having his ears touched. Gunner and I have ridden many many miles and he takes excellent care of me and I of him.

Last summer we entered in a few events at “Mule Mania” in Dayton, Washington, and my brother came to watch. It was after our first event and I was sitting on Gunner talking with him when suddenly my brother saw the hole in his ear and said, “Hey, that’s my mule” “No Sir” I said “This is MY mule.”

I have another mule now, one that is a little younger and does a few more fancy things. But I still have Gunner. I will never sell or trade him. He means too much to me. I’ve had a couple of people offer several thousand dollars for him now, but he’s not going anywhere. He has a home with me forever.

By Donna Lobdell