Warren's Mule Training Center, Council Idaho

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Training Methods

The most important thing in starting a young mule is to lay a firm foundation of respect and response; everything the mule will be used for later will depend on it.

Training starts in the round pen with a lesson on catching. I want the mule to catch me and follow me around while free.

young mule in training

mule ground work

When the mule catches me, we start work with the rope around the mule's neck, girth area, flank, and all four feet.

I want the mule to respond to a feather-light feel and follow that feel in whichever direction I direct him, and to be comfortable with the rope touching him all over his body. Also to disengage his hind quarter and step his hind foot under.

From there, we progress to ground driving in the halter.

This starts reinforcing disengagement of the hindquarter, stepping the front end across, backing straight and coming forward on a soft feel.

mule flag training

mule obstacle training The mules are ground-driven through a variety of obstacles to get them used to walking over and through different things.

At this point we spend time going through a very complete sacking-out process where the mule learns to pack all sorts of objects on his back, starting with the saddle. mule training to pack

mule travel in the woods After the mule is comfortable with different things on his back, I start taking him out into the woods where he learns to pony and move down the trails with confidence. Both being led and tied in a string of mules.
mule trains  the great outdoors

When he is comfortable packing anything, we move on to exercises that help him understand my cues from the saddle to prepare him to be ridden.

The mule will learn to come up beside a fence and mounting block to allow me to mount and learn to stand for this.

getting on the mule from a fence

mule halter ride From here, we progress to the first ride in a halter and he will carry a rider at all three gates, plus backing, and learning to start and stop smoothly.

He will then be introduced to a snaffle bit and learn to respond to it with a soft feel.

The first few rides are in the round pen and then we move to an arena to refine what we have been working on.

working mule in arena

traveling by mule

Then to the great outdoors.

I take my training mules with me wherever I am going so they have an education of going down various trail and through different terrain (water, bridges, downfall, etc.)

I ride with a minimum of three dogs, so they get used to having dogs coming and going and things jumping out of the bushes and down the banks. They learn to highline, stand hobbled overnight, and graze on a foot picket.

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1877 Highway 95, Council ID 83612
Phone: 208-253-1119
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