Ariel is our new mule. She arrived on the farm last week from Troms. She is a cross between a shetland pony and a donkey and so she is a little smaller than the average mule.
As soon as we put her in the paddock she decided to have a mud bath.
Mules are typically thought of as stubborn creatures. It is the donkey trait in them. Ariel certainly has her own mind but because she is young, only three years old, she has some training to do and hopefully she will learn what is expected of her.
On the farm she will be used as a pack mule to help us carry around supplies, water and food. Farm animals need a job to do, especially horses, to keep them happy. We are sure she will be a favourite of the local kids once she learns some manners.
With us Ariel has been a little shy. She enjoys being around us but she doesn’t like too much attention. Our other horses have been a little put out by the new dynamics of a third addition. Our shetland pony, Missy, quite likes Ariel the mule and is strangely affectionate with her. However Drage, our male fjording, is a little jealous and chases Ariel away. Ariel still stays a close distance as the horses graze around the field.
Already Ariel has proven useful. She has been eating the fallen branches on the field, clearing it for us. She likes to eat the dried silage left over by the sheep and she eats the straw grass that the other animals don’t eat. She is good at chasing the sheep back into their lambing paddock (the sheep think the grass is greener on the other side).
Ariel is the perfect addition to our farm. Though a friend of ours pointed out that with all our different animals it seems we don’t have a farm anymore but a zoo!