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Pony & Mule behavior

I was wondering if you might be able to explain why my 15 yr. old pony (12 hd.), takes a big mouthful of hay & keeps pushing it at the young, 3 yr. old mule(14.2 hd.)?

We had 2 mules (6 yr. & 3 yr.) that played together constantly. We sold the 6 yr. & the young one became slightly depressed. The pony (who never played w/the mules) started gathering up big mouthfuls of hay & pushing it at the mule’s mouth, neck, rump whatever. Sometimes they will rear up w/each other, start biting necks or legs & chase each other, but not as violently as the mules did. It has been 2 months, since the mule was sold, & pony continues to do this w/the young mule. The other 2 horses don’t get involved. Once in a while if pony & mule start running around the pasture a lot, the 2 horses will join in, but not w/the other type of play.

Several years ago, he took sticks in his mouth & poked the mare w/them. At her shoulder until she moved over then at her rear until she moved that over & sometimes would offer the stick to her mouth.

Have you ever heard of this type of behavior before?
Thank you for your help.

Jean Shaw

Hi Jean,

Actually the behavior is not uncommon. Most folks do not really realize how playful horses and mules alike can be. Games of tag, tug of war, something that looks like hide and seek and games as you are describing are more common that one might think. So long as everyone seems happy with what is going on, I would sit back and enjoy the show. Remember these are very social and relationship orientated critters. This is part of the natural way of being.

Perhaps you can find a way to safely join in.

Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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