What is a Mule Saddle?

Black Western Mule Saddle

The offspring of a male donkey and a female horse is called a mule. The opposite combination of horse and donkey is called a hinny. Out of these two hybrids, the mule is easier to obtain. The build and size of a mule is largely dependent upon the dam (female horse). They can vary between lightweight, medium weight, or even in some cases heavy weight. A moderately heavy mule, called a “mammoth mule” is the outcome from a draft mare.  They share many characteristics of their donkey sires, such as a short thick head, long ears, thin limbs, narrow hooves, shape of neck and back, and short manes. They come in a variety of colors, including appaloosa type coloring. The overall temperament of the mule is patient, mellow, and courageous. The mule is known for its endurance, sure-footedness, and strength. Mules are also said to be smarter than both horse and donkey.  Today the mule is popular among drivers, hobby farm owners, packer/ campers, trail riders, and even show riders. The mules have garnered attention in the show arena in both western and English disciplines, including show jumping and dressage. The mule is truly a very versatile animal.


If you are an owner of a mule and looking to purchase a saddle, consider the benefits of a Mule Saddle. Mules that take on more horse characteristics perform fine in a traditional western saddle. However, most mules carry more characteristics of their donkey sire. A mule saddle is designed with these specific characteristics in mind.  Mules typically have shorter, flatter backs and rounder barrels than a horse. This can cause traditional western saddles to slide forward. The rigging of a mule saddle is typically in the 7/8 position. This accommodates the rounder barrel of the mule and prevents the cinch from sliding too forward.

The saddle tree is constructed with mule bars. Mule bars are shorter and have less rock. This allows for the mule’s straighter line of back. The skirts of the saddle are shorter and usually rounded to accommodate the mule’s shorter back. In addition, sometimes breast collars, back cinches, and cruppers or breeching straps are used to help keep the saddle in the proper position. The benefits of a mule saddle is that your mule will not be hindered with a saddle that slips forward or pinches their back. This will allow your mule to perform at its peak performance level. So if you own a mule, consider the benefits of purchasing a Mule Saddle.