Friday, March 26, 2010

There are Huntin' Mules and then there are Hunting Mules

FarmWife has taken to trail riding with me in a mechanical hackamore, which has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it's more comfortable for a long ride than my rubber snaffle, and allows for the dispensation of cookies from the saddle for a job well done. Additionally, it's wrapped in comfy green polar fleece, and coordinates nicely with my new blingy browband. The downside is that it really does afford FW more leverage than she needs; except when I am in competition with eager company, I can be ridden without a touch on the reins. FarmWife recognizes this, and uses my mechanical hack with delicate tenderness. The other downside is that, as a reformed Elk Huntin' Mule, I am working hard to cultivate an image of English Gentility. This mechanical hackamore lacks the sophistication of the pelham, and the aesthetic appeal of the baucher snaffle.

Now, I used to be a Huntin' Mule in the "shall we pack this forequarter out on Bullet, or on Jeb?" sense. Some other mules are Hunting Mules in the "drain dry the stirrup cup, my dear!" sense. John Henry, illustrious Other Best Mule in the world, is a fine example of the latter.

John Henry is a mule of immense reputation, and his human Kathleen makes no exaggeration when she calls him "One of the Best Mules in the World." Like me, John Henry is known far and wide for his versatility! Where I have my Seven Responsibilities (braying the news, trail riding with FarmWife, guiding the goats, eating the hay, etcetera), John Henry has a multitude of sporting pursuits.

Pictured here on the fence side (Kathy Stoddard up and Agnes de Mule to his right), John Henry takes time out from his pursuit of Reynard to compete in pleasure driving, combined driving, driven dressage, and recreational riding and driving. He also tours the nation as a mule ambassador, spreading cheer and goodwill to the masses. He has a hard earned reputation for excellence, and his thronging fans know it!

Now, John Henry may be a shy nine inches taller than me, but I've always been taught that anything less than a foot in length is not worth counting. We are really almost the same: we both have beautiful girlfriends (though my Katie Scarlett is an internet girlfriend and a fiery redhead, and his Agnes a dark and sultry dame who helps him pull a carriage) and we both have fantastic show records (his includes a decade of wins and national championships in several disciplines, while mine includes showing up for dinner, showing up for breakfast, and showing my readers funny stuff on my facebook fan page); we both have FarmWives who love us (how could they not?). We are both known for being gentle to the little people of the world, and we both polish to a high sheen. John Henry and I both place tremendous importance on personal safety, as shown in the photo of J.H. executing Fenway Bartholomule's patented F.E.A.R.R. response before making his water entry (photo by Lisa Cenis), and we both look beautiful in profile. We both have advice columns (though mine, sadly, has attracted very few letters . . . hint, hint), and we both have very nice websites. 
Unlike me, Fenway Bartholomule, John Henry has been made into a limited edition resin model by artist Bonnie Shields. I don't let it bother me—he deserves it, and I'm holding out for an offer from Breyer anyway. While we wait, why don't you visit John Henry's website at for more splendid photos, and enjoy. He's a dandy chap and I'm proud to call him a fellow mule. 

Fenway Bartholomule


  1. Hello Fenway, Doc in Delaware here. Your discussion of bits and bridles and such is very timely. My man servant has been struggling with this very topic - perhaps you could post again on this topic and go into it in bit (hee-haw) more depth. BTW, the last time I wrote you it was about the possible roaching of my mane- and it happened last weekend and I must say I look quite the elegant boy with my high and tight new do. Yours, Doc in Delaware

  2. hay fen!

    thanks for all the person and i have had a wonderful time showing all those horse-people just how nice a mule can it is your turn at everyone just how special you are ... i'm counting on you to continue my tradition.

    john henry [as told to kathleen]

  3. Thank you, JH, Kathleen, and Doc! It is so much fun to have a circle of trusted mules with whom I can correspond!

    Doc, there's a special topic coming up soon, and I think you'll benefit from it. FarmWife is not a bit expert, but she is a woman of MANY opinions. She will share them with you tonight or tomorrow!

    In the meantime, tell your human that the most important bit is a bit of a snack before dinner.

  4. Hey I just found your blog. I am enjoying it greatly! I added two long ears to my life last year. Two mini donkeys. Sophie and her son Dominique.

  5. Dear Beth, thank you for finding me! I don't blog on the weekend, but I'm glad to be here on this Monday morning to say, Welcome, Welcome. The humans tend to be so busy on Saturday and Sunday, and these hooves make typing alone rather hard.

    Sophie and Dominique should come by my facebook fan page, where there is a wall for fan photos. I am sure they are darling!


Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!