Saturday, 30 November 2013

Milo's Movember Moustache!

Milo's Magnificent Movember Moustache!

Greetings Puppyteers!  This month I have been busy supporting the spectacular that is Movember  - this month is made for me as a moustachioed master of hairy handsomeness!   It is also in a very good cause - us boys grow moustaches to raise awareness of men's cancer and health issues.  If the girls can do it with pink we can use our manly moustaches!

So whadya think?  I look handsome don't I?  And I've decided my moustache is not just for Movember, I of course will be keeping it ;-)

I take my facial hair very seriously - it's very useful for collecting all sorts of yummy morsels just ready for a midnight puppyteer snack - yum!

And it's not just a moustache that I have been cultivating.... I am going for the full beardy look :-)

So here's to my friends with facial hair everywhere!  To the Beardy Barons and Masters of Moustaches - this Movember I salute you!

Woofs! Milo xxx

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Midweek Muleteer Fun!

Is there anything cuter than a Rolling Roller?
So it's midweek, dark and dismal, cold for many and damp for some!  So what better way to ease the midweek firmly towards the weekend than some gratuitously cute pictures of us Muleteers?
We are wordless this Wednesday.... busy filling our hungry mouths with food, can you believe it?

Have a good week, it's downhill all the way to the weekend :-)

Dinner tastes better shared with a friend!
Happiness is.....
Nosey Dragon, keeping tabs on the neigh-bours!

Rolling Roller!
Always time for a sit down :-)
Handsome Mini Mule!
Do my mini mule ears look big?
Rear of the Year 2013 finalist..... who will win?!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mule - Will Work for Carrots!

Yippedy-do-dah-yippedy-day, my oh my what a super fine day!  I have figured out how to get the best of both mule worlds..... Now being a mule there is nothing I like better than 'a job'.  I like to entertain myself and the others around me by getting on with the work in hand.  AND.... I've discovered that it's a great way to earn carrots too :-)  The humans are super soft and seem to think that I deserve carroty treats for pulling heavy branches around to save them the effort.....

.... this is really nice of them but don't tell them they needn't bother!  I really like this 'job' thing.  When I noticed that MH was chopping down more of the wayward Bay tree I squawked and offered to assist.  Shame that the bay is not nicer to eat but alas it looked like a bit of fun could be had.

FH quickly volunteered our services for dragging the branches up the lane to the bonfire pile (that'll be next week's fun I hope ;-)  Out came one of my outfits for work and I was ready for the off.  I must just tell you about my outfit though.....

You see I'm a mule that likes to do vintage, no point buying new when you can recycle.  And Oh My Mule is this vintage...... my chained breast collar for dragging comes from 1940 and was worn by mules in the war.  It even has stamps on it from where it was made and that it is mule sized.  FH thinks there is something lovely about a piece of equipment that was once meant for badness to be used for good today, I like to think of my muley ancestors wearing this harness and doing much the same as me.... guess they didn't get carroty treats though :-(

Come on MH get those branches attached will you?

Honestly a girl could fall asleep waiting for you humans to get on with the job.

That's it, we're dragging..... yey!  

About half way there.... still quite a few to move, come on MH....

OK while you're horsing around (hehe) me and FH can pose for some photos :-)

Oh OK looks like I'm roped up and ready for action!  Just one thing FH where's my carrot?

I did find it in that pocket - yummy!

Well I got that mule work done super fast without even breaking in to a sweat, good thing the humans let me help otherwise they'd have been there puffing and groaning all day!

Just one final thing though MH.... where's my carroty treat?  Mmmmm I found it!  

This mule is always happy to work for carrots... anymore jobs that need doing? :-)  I heard something about a ride with Smiley Human.... sounds like the perfect way to finish the weekend!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Roller's Philosophical Friday: Small Things

Oops I'm a little bit late with my Friday thoughts.... I got a little carried away with important things..... like eating and sleeping, things that make my ponyish world go round :-)

Did you see what FH said about me in my own special post?  I am famous and perfect and everything!  Yay!

I don't like to make a fuss about life and being good.... I leave that to the mules whose ears are also directly linked to the size of their egos on occasion.

So I reckon that rather than focus on the big things this weekend I'm gonna see how I can do on the smaller things.  Maybe a little more eating and snoozing, possibly a little pottering and I might just get FH to test out her photography skills on me, we are due sunshine and my fluff is coming along nicely!

So here's to a lovely weekend for you all, let's try to achieve the small things... in my world the big things can wait til later :-)

Happy Weekend Friends!

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way!
Napoleon Hill

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

House Trained Mule

Everyone goes on about house training dogs, cats and kids but what about mules?  We are capable of it you know!  Honestly I think sometimes humans underestimate us.....

I am fully house-trained and trustworthy and leave all of my mule’s gold in neat little piles far away from my bed and food; they are always ready for collection by the chamber maid (aka FH).  Those boys next door make an amazing mess for poor FH every morning; anyone would think they have no manners?  But then I guess they are boys right?  I am the most popular mule ever with my tidy toilet habits.  My bed stays immaculate and I go through fewer shavings than a hamster.  There are occasions when I am not so perfect though.... when it’s driving rain and wind I do resort to the indoor facilities as I don’t like to get my delicate self wet, I’m sure you understand?
My aim is coming along nicely!

The only problem is that the humans STILL won’t let me in the house.... boo!  They don’t think there is such a thing as a kitty mule litter tray..... hmmm well I been thinking and maybe a bucket will do?

So I’m practicing my aim in the bucket in the hope that the humans will let me indoors.... after all what could be better than sharing your house with a pretty, dainty, house trained mule? 
Come on humans show some heart you know you’d like me curled up on the sofa in front of the fire :with you, I'm pretty small really :-)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Practically Perfect Pony

Roller the mini shetland is practically perfect in every way!  At least he is to me :-)  I have always loved horses and ponies and was once the ultimate pony mad kid with every pony book in existence and dreams of galloping horses every night.  This love has never waned and I have been lucky enough to share my life with some wonderful horses and ponies; some I have ridden for just one time, others have owned me, all were special in their own ways.

Dreams to Reality....

As a pony mad kid I always dreamt that my 'perfect' horse would be a black welsh stallion with fiery nostrils, lots of hair and an ability to gallop for miles and rear on command..... I got older and my ideal changed a little but I still sought perfection in the 'big boys'..... a number of falls from the big boys and practicality then sent me towards the ponies again (there is something wonderful about their personalities and humour not to mention being able to get on easily!).  And then that's when Roller arrived.  My heart had been stolen by a mini mule and I realised that what he really needed was a buddy of his own size to play with and groom at his own level (it was tough for him to groom and jink with a full grown horse!).  So I decided we would look for a little companion.

In the Beginning

Roller was in a field with a multitude of other ponies for sale, all minis, all cute and mostly 'in your face'.  It was the middle of winter with the remnants of snow on the ground and a mighty wind blowing, all the ponies had wet coats and looked a little less than handsome.  So we were duly shown the ones for sale, most were friendly - in our pockets and very people orientated, some were a little nervous, pretty much all of them were bunched together chilling out as a group.  And then there was Roller..... he was on his own dutifully munching away keeping his eye on us but not really coming forward.  He looked a little less than immaculate in his bedraggled state and didn't seem that keen on saying hi, that made me all the more intrigued (I have a thing for the underdogs in case you haven't noticed!).  So we caught him up and tried to see what was underneath the damp, yep a pony!  I have no idea why but I had to have him over all the others, for some reason I thought his calmness would offset The Mini's feistiness well and maybe he needed the chance to come out of the others shadows?

The deal was done - thank goodness for that!  What an amazing purchase, little did I know I had found my practically perfect pony without dreaming I would.  What I thought I'd bought was a companion who would be quiet and no trouble, in reality we had just found a priceless gem :-)

Finding Perfection

So what makes this little mini shetland the practically perfect pony?  Forget the black stallion, these days my horsey heart belongs to a diminutive mini shetland!


I know I've said this before but Roller really is the epitome of gentle.  He is the member of the gang that I can trust with anyone or anything.  He is the one that we bring out to meet even the most nervous of children or adults that we can trust not to put a foot wrong.  He is accepting of all, won't be overbearing and just seems to instill confidence in people.  Roller or Rolly as he is affectionately known by some has a huge fan club who love him for just being 'him'


Ever wished your equine was bombproof?  (yeah me too!) Well I don't really believe in this saying as I do think all equines can have their moments and if you expect bombproof one day you'll learn it doesn't exist.  However..... Roller is about 99.99999% bombproof.  This little man doesn't bat an eyelid at anything.  We have never really 'trained' him to be bombproof, he just is, it's in his nature.  He will face down monstrous tractors, packs of dogs, flappy tarpaulins, bonfires, hedge monsters, screaming kids, bursting balloons, hysterical mules and any other such things that are thrown his way.  He may occasionally shy - in Roller's terms this involves a blink of the eyes a little sooner than required or a half
inch side step.

The Perfect Design

Every time I glimpse Roller in his winter woolies I marvel at his perfect design for the cold months.  This little pony's ancestors evolved to live on the harsh Shetland Isles where there are few trees, the wind blows strong, there is lashing rain and deep snow, once upon a time even the people were stunted due to the weather.  His coat is luxurious, his mane and tail protective, his surface area tiny to prevent heat loss, his legs well covered and his dietary efficiency something of legend (nearly as good as the mules which is no mean feat!) This does leave Roller in a little trouble in the Spring and Summer months though..... he is so well fluffed that he needs months to moult and can get a little 'moth eaten' looking and require some help to shed - all the more excuse to spend quality grooming time with him, no hardship at all!


I know I'm biased but oh my I do so adore looking at this handsome little chap.  There is something about his style that makes me smile.  He is just adorable!  When the moods takes him and he decides to have a gallop there is not much finer than his blowing mane and tail and shimmering coat - forget the black stallion running through the waves, I'll take a handsome Roller any day.  He's also got many shades of handsome.  From the golden tones of summer to the creamy shades of winter; handsome is as handsome does.


Once of the biggest debts I owe to the delightful Roller is thanking him for his patience with The Mini. It's fair to say that The Mini was not only a challenge to people when he arrived but he was a bit of a bully boy with Roller too.  He wanted to assert his dominance and ensure that he got all the food.  Well Roller had other ideas, he is very much his own man and took no truck from The Mini.  But rather than starting an argument or even finishing it Roller is always completely immune to The Mini's rather rambunctious behaviour.  He is steadfast!  Roller will stand and ignore his mate's swishes and grumpy ears and will patiently carry on.  In the UK we have a saying 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.  Roller has definitely adopted this along with 'I shall not be moved'.  I'm pleased to say that the boys are the firmest of friends and completely inseparable, where one is the other will surely follow, The Mini has pretty much given up on moulding Roller in to his way of doing things and accepts that he has to share - well done Roller you've achieved what few could have done!

An Opinion

All of this could make Roller sound like a bit of a 'go with the flow' type, which he is.  But, this pony also has a mighty opinion on things that are important to him!  Show him an opportunity at food and he'll take it.  He is the houdini, commando crawling, fence busting devil of the gang and keeps me constantly trying to outwit him.  He is also the one who will be very upset when the V.E.T. comes with his yearly vaccination - his circus pony impression stood on his back legs is something to behold, can't say I blame him, I hate needles too!  But none of this upsets me, I love the fact that he has a mind of his own and is not afraid to share it with those of us around him when he really needs to ;-)

So what is it that makes Roller only practically perfect?  OK so he is pretty much perfect but there is one thing I wish if even for a day......

A Little Bit Taller?

I wish he were just a little bit taller...... he is delightful in miniature and I really wouldn't swap him for the world but occasionally I wonder what it would be like to ride this handsome little man.  He is everything that most people would wish for in a trail / hacking pony.  He is great company and solid.  Alas his little leggies will never grow and mine certainly won't ever be short enough.  I'll just have to dream of me and Roller galloping together through the waves on a sunny beach.  This one limitation is only a small price to pay to share life with the practically perfect pony ;-)

I'm off for a coffee in the paddock with the sun on my back, a cat in my lap and the best view of all, a very handsome Roller in all his winter fluff happily munching on fresh green grass with his best pal practically joined to his hip - what could be better?

"There is something about the outside of a horse(pony) that is good for the inside of a man (woman)"
Winston Churchill

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Somewhere Over The Rainbow....

..... there is a little place called Muleteer HQ.  Even when there is rain, there is sunshine and today we were blessed with the best sign of this - a rainbow!

A beautiful rainbow never fails to make us smile and it looks like this rainbow has only blue skies underneath it right here where we live.  Our human says that we bring sunshine to her life every day - her own little rainbows!

As if we couldn't be happier then there appeared another rainbow, a double rainbow just for us!
Legend says that at the end of the rainbow you will find a pot of gold.  Well in this house we don't really care for gold (it doesn't go well with shades of mud and we'd lose it too quickly!).  If you look really closely FH has found what's at the end of her rainbow - US!  And guess what?  We found our gold at the end of the rainbow..... lovely tasty green grass - everyone's happy!

Rainbows always make us remember a very special person who is no longer with us, they bring a smile and brighten our day, we like to think they're a little hello from that person who is in a different place now :-)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

War Mule; Forget Me Not

Mules in war, please remember them today

Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK where we remember those who have lost their lives in conflict throughout the ages.  

Here in the Muleteer Household we make a special effort to remember our long eared brothers and sisters who had no choice.  We hope today that you too will remember them, they fought on all sides; without nationality or religion and have lost their lives in many conflicts.  Still used today in conflicts such as Afghanistan we can only hope that humans can one day resolve their differences, learning some lessons from our noble friends the donkey, horse and mule would be a good start.

We offer you a special insight in to the life of a war mule all those years ago enduring life in World War  One.

Introducing Molly The War Mule

From the moment I could walk I knew I was different, destined for big things! A bit like my big ears really…. My Mom was a heavy old mare and my Dad was never to be seen but I think he gave me my mulificent ears.  When I was young I was always looking for the next big adventure, waiting to see what was for me outside of my Missouri pasture.  Apparently I had a job to look forward to!  Little did I know….

The day came when I was just three years old that I was pronounced ‘Fit for Work’ I was soo excited, loads of my pals were also told they were ready too.  Ready for an adventure….. ready for hell.

We were all moved to a place that smelled of water and fish, not of manure and hay.  Funny work for a mule?  I’d always thought I’d work pulling a cart of hay or maybe get to carry one of the two leg variety… it was not to be.  It seems that the two legs of the world had been having some disagreements (typical two legs) and needed the help of us mules to help one of the sides win the argument.  That’s when my nightmare began.

After a while waiting at the docks while all these other long ears (and short ears) arrived I started to hear about something called War, not a concept us mules understood.  Eventually it was our gang’s turn to go on our adventure.  We were being put in to a floating barn, something called a ship.  Sounded kinda cool to my young ears back then.  What I didn’t realise is that my feet could not carry me in to the floating barn, rather I had to be put on board using a giant haynet (except there was no hay).  It was not nice, some of the short ears panicked a lot at the net and one of my friends cracked his leg, it was awful he couldn’t get up so the two legs took us all away and then we heard a bang, we never saw him again.

The floating barn moved, it rolled and smelt and it felt like the land was moving, apparently we were sailing whatever that was, sailing to a far away land…. Maybe they would have sweet hay and oats and the two legs would love my long ears and ask me to pull a pretty carriage?  After days of  sailing I soon realised I was wrong.

Eventually the floating barn stopped moving, the two legs said we had arrived.  There were all kinds of noises outside, my long ears picked up noises I did not like, there were thuds and bangs and worst of all there were the sounds of long ears in pain…. The floating barn did not seem so bad now, maybe I could stay here a while longer?

But it wasn’t to be, I was dragged out of the floating barn in to what can only be described as hell.

There was noise and movement everywhere, lots of two legs rushed around us and poked and prodded and decided what work we would do.  I was horrified, the short ears were selected for cavalry duty while we long ears got cargo duty.  Maybe it will be a carriage I pull?

To get us ready for work the two legs tested out our education; could we pull, carry, have our hooves shod and behave?  We could, but what about them?  Some of them could barely look at me without shaking with fear, they called these two legs the City Boys, apparently they didn’t know mules well and were scared of us.  I was a good Molly though and showed how hard I could work.  They said I was ready for work, they clipped my coat to stop me catching lice but oh my goodness I was so cold, there were no blankets and it was nearly winter.

And then I went off to work.  I was put with a gang of long ears and it was our job to haul and pull and pull some more.  I didn’t mind hard work, for I am a mule.  But I did mind what happened next.

I was sent to the trenches, great pits of mud and blood, wire and metal, noise and despair. I was sent to hell.  There were two legs everywhere, many were thin and bloodied, gaunt and grieving, confused and hopeless.  We were all there because of the arguments of their ‘leaders’; I never did understand what makes humans such a destructive species?

Ref 3

My days in those trenches all blur in to one; days of pulling carts, gun and sleds through mud so deep and thick that it reached my elbows and I frequently got stuck.  I tried to pull and pull, I was not afraid of hard work, for I am a mule.  I never forget the day that my pal that I pulled with got so stuck that he just couldn’t move, he tried and I pulled with all my might but the mud was like glue, eventually he stopped trying, exhausted.  He gave in. The two legs said we had to go, we had to leave him, so they took me away and the last thing I heard was yet another bang.  He was my friend. 

The bangs and blasts happened every day.  There did not seem to be an hour that passed without those devil guns exploding around us, and the devil’s work they were.  Some of my friends were blown to pieces by those bangs or injured by the metal they slung in the air.  I learnt early on that the best thing to do was stand, frozen still when the bangs went off, my shorter eared friends panicked more and often injured themselves in their blind panic.  They even made us carry those devil guns, so that they could blow up my friends that the other two legs used.  That was not OK.

The nights were as bad as the days.  Quieter but awful for other reasons.  It was so cold and although we were exhausted to lie down meant lying in thick, putrid mud, no easement for aching bones.  We were hungry too.  There were few rations for any of us; man or mule.  Our meagre rations of mouldy hay and a tiny handful of oats barely filled us for an hour or two before we were hungry again.  Us mules fared better than our short eared friends.  We could eat twigs and bushes and somehow stay from getting too thin.  Our short eared friends turned in to monstrous skeletons before our eyes, they could not cope with the hard work, the cold and no food.  For once they wished they were a mule.

It became winter and was so very cold.  Our coats had been clipped away, no sparse mane or wintry fluff to drive away the cold, just freezing rain with no shelter, no protection and no respite.  It was miserable.  Often times we would wake from our standing exhaustion to find icicles in our tails and one of our friends fallen to the ground never to stand.  It was hard.

Ref  4
The humans suffered too.  They were hungry, cold, scared and grieved just like we did for our fallen friends.  I had a two leg friend, his name was Harry.  He was kind to me and did not laugh at my voice or ears and whispered about his hopes and fears to me; he told me about the green grass of England and how he hoped one day we would walk on it together.  He scratched my ears and we shared what meagre biscuits he had.  Strange friends perhaps, but friends we were.

Every day I worked with Harry, when things got tougher he would whisper at me “please Molly, for me, try a little harder”.  He would try to protect me from some of the other two legs who would beat me and prod me and push me to make me try more, I was already exhausted but try I did, for I am a mule.

Mules stuck in mud - WWI, Ref 1
Ref 1
The days drew on and I dreamt of the dusty pastures of my youth, what was once boring and unwanted now seemed like heaven.  My days passed by, always with this daydream.  I became weaker, I knew I could not carry on much longer.  I tried, I tried for Harry but one day I fell and I could not get up.  It was enough, I’d had enough.  I lay my head down in the stinking mud and dreamt of Missouri, of the land of my mother and I breathed deeply and left hell to take the journey to heaven over the Rainbow Bridge.  Now I sleep on soft straw beds and I eat sweet hay and oats and I have never again heard another of the devil’s guns. 

Ref 2
For I was a war mule and I served you.  Please on this day of remembrance remember me and remember my brothers and sisters, for we were war mules and we served you well.  We had no choice.

Remember Me 

Remember me, I was a war mule
Remember me, I toiled for you
Remember me, I was starved and frozen
Remember me, I pulled and carried
Remember me, I was hungry and thirsty
Remember me, I was loyal and endured
Remember me, I was beaten and mocked
Remember me, I was your friend
Remember me, I had no choice

Animals In War Memorial: Hyde Park, London

For more general information about mules and horses in war please see our post here: We Will Remember

Ref 2: Australian National Archives
Ref 3: Department of National Defense, Canada
Ref 4: National Library of Scotland