Competitive shows aren’t just for horses — they’re for donkeys and mules, too!
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ held the 2021 Donkey and Mule Show began March 16. The donkeys and mules, as well as their riders, showed off their skills in Trail, Ranch Riding and Western Performance, as well as Coon Mule Jumping.
While donkeys are considered a relative cousin to the equine, they are actually their own unique species of animal. They have been domesticated for more than 5,000 years and are used as working animals across the world. Donkeys stand out when compared to horses due their large ears, wide eyes and short stature.
Mules are a genetic hybrid between a male donkey and a female horse. Because horses and donkeys belong to two different species, mules are sterile, meaning they are unable to produce offspring. Mules are much stronger than horses and are great workers; they can carry up to 20 percent of their own body weight.
Donkeys, mules and their riders exhibited control and agility that matched that of their horse counterparts during the 2021 Donkey and Mule Show. They loped around obstacles, crossed bridges and jogged over poles. These skills are essential when working on the ranch and trails for the donkeys and mules, but for this competition, they performed in NRG Arena at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The popular Coon Mule Jump contest is always action-packed and exhibits a mule’s athleticism. Handlers walked their mules up to a jump, where they leaped over from a standstill. The object of the competition is to see which mule can jump the highest.
There is always something exciting going on in the horse barn at NRG Arena!