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What will a good mule cost?

I'm not clairvoyant...so I don't know what you will wind up paying for the mule you purchase...

but I can tell you a little bit about what goes into the "building" of a good mule...and what it costs me.
We're selling mules to people who don't want to and can't afford to get hurt. They want a saddle mule they can get right on and ride - right now - not after 2 hours of lungeing, or 3 months of outside training...

Equines by Design mules are not the "cheapest"...but I'm sure we're not the most expensive as far as how our mules are priced - and if you take into consideration the time, training, trailriding, hauling and quality and sincerity that goes into our mules, then maybe we are the least expensive...

Let's say you find a mule for sale for $1,500 - but it's got some holes in its' training - the first chance it gets, it finds something to "spook" at, dumps you and breaks your arm. Emergency room bill will probably run you at least $2,500, even with insurance. Now you've got a $4000 mule...not to mention the pain, hassle and time off for the broken bone. What's cheaper now?
By the time you figure a year's worth of care for the mare while she carries the mule foal, and then several more years care of the mule including feed, coggins, vaccinations and any other vet care..., worming expenses and farrier. Add in the cost of fuel for hauling these mules out trailriding, to teampennings and ranchropings, to shows and private ranches plus the cost of incidentals (stall fees, current travel papers/health certificates/ buying feed and supplies while we're away from home) you can see that it adds up quickly. Some mules more, some less.

THAT'S NOT COUNTING MY TRAINING. Here in Texas, trainers get between $500 - $800/month for basic training. Other places may be cheaper, but others are a lot are more expensive.   We don't rush a mule's training in order to have something to sell.  We take the time it takes to get the mule broke and confident.  We don't use gimmicks when training and we are careful not to treat the animal unfairly or scare him--that's where I know our animals are the strongest -- if something happens, they look to us for help and don't worry that they might get hurt.
Some mule dealers/breeders were here some time back and we were visiting...they are getting out of the "mule business"...they weren't even breaking even on the mules they sold.

We have a few advantages over them, we stand our own jack (so I don't have jack fees), we raise our own coastal bermuda grass so don't have to buy much hay except some extra alfalfa for the broodmares and mules that are needing a "boost"...they don't break and ride colts so were sending them out to various trainers where I love starting and riding the young ones...but it just goes to show that by the time you put good time and money into a mule, it's hard to get your money back. Nobody is going to get rich in the mule business--we've been raising mules about longer than anyone out there right now. And we've seen a lot of people come and go. They thought they were going to make some money. You have to "do mules" because you enjoy it...which we do (and James won't let me keep them all)!

For those of you who don't know us...we don't derive our livelihood from selling mules...this means we can offer them at a reasonable price and without pressuring a prospective buyer--we want to sell a good mule to a good person that will enjoy them.
So, you can see that a truly good mule from anybody should cost you more than $500...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. We advertised a mule in the newspaper a couple of years ago and one caller hung up on us when he found out we had the mule priced at $1,800 - he said that he had seen a mule go through a Cow Sale the week before for $500. Well, there was a reason why the mule was at a Cow Sale obviously! (At least obvious to us, evidently not obvious to him!)

I like a good deal just as well as anybody, but have learned with mules, not to scrimp. You don't want your wife or kids hurt...you can't afford to get hurt...and you're not getting any younger. A good friend told me "Life is not a dress rehearsal"...you don't get another life or two to finally get the mule you've been wanting to enjoy! The perfect mule at a ridiculously low price is probably not going to just fall out of the sky.

If a trader has a mule for $1,500 that sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is. He probably paid about $750 for it because the owners couldn't wait to get rid of it, and he can afford to sell it for $1,500 - if he gets it sold within a month or so, he's made a quick $500 profit. And if he sells 10 like that a month, he's doing pretty good. Of course, he hasn't had time to even get on the mule to check it out...but if he can get someone to take it, so what?


SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT...
Sorrel John SOLDBlack Molly SOLDGood Trail Mules SOLDSOLD4 yo Broke to Death!Mule Training
Photo AlbumBacktrailing (photos)...Sold.