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From Horses to Mules
Pestering Paid Off

With Susan Jackson


Like most of us who read this magazine, I have ridden horses my entire life.  I was lucky enough to get my first horse when I graduated the 8th grade.  I was the best kid in the world because I knew if I did anything wrong my horse would be the first to go, so I was the perfect kid!


If someone would have told me years ago I would be riding a mule, I would have laughed at them. 


It wasn’t until I began going on the Equestrian Trails Inc. (ETI) Death Valley Ride, from Ridgecrest California to Furnace Creek (year after year, for 17 years), as well as the Mojave Trail Ride from Baker to Laughlin, California, both six-day progressive rides - that I realized mules were the way to go. 


As I jigged down the trail, year after year on my mustang (who I love dearly), an Arabian (we all had one right?), and my Off-Track thoroughbred, I came to appreciate the Mule. 

I can remember watching these guys from Arizona ride down the trail on their mules, talking away, drinking whatever, and not spilling a drop - while I jigged and jigged down the trail six days in a row.  Not one of them would trade me. They said, “You brought her, you ride her.” 



In 2002 I was riding my Mustang “Kiawa” on the Death Valley Ride, through the Panamint Mountains, talking to this guy, his name was David.  He liked my mustang and I liked his Mule. 


He said, “I’ll trade you straight across, my mule for your mustang”.  I looked at him and said, "No I don’t think so. I would like to have them both!"  His mule, named PARD, just cruised down the trail while, I went jigging off on Kiawa.  


David and I lived in neighboring cities, and I would call David and ask him if I could borrow PARD to lead a particular ride.  He always said to come get him.  I would ask him when he wanted him back, and he would say, ‘I’ll let you know.” 


I would send David cards from PARD telling him how much fun PARD was having at my house, yada, yada… you get the picture. 


David would take PARD on rides in other states and if I had other friends going on the same ride I had them bug David for me.  They would ask him “What are you doing on Susan Jackson’s mule?”, or “David, you are too big for that mule, Susan looks much better on him.” 


After pestering this poor man for 5 years he finally gave in and sold me PARD.

In 2016 I had an opportunity to go back to the Clinton Chuck Wagon races in Arkansas with several girlfriends.  I went with my one Mule PARD... and came back with three! PARD, Katie, and Wilson. 

What was I thinking?! 

Well, I hauled Wilson and Katie back for a friend who was looking for a mule and, long story short, I ended up keeping Katie and my friend kept Wilson.


Katie has turned out to be just as good as PARD!  If I had ordered a mule to be as good as PARD, I wouldn’t have found Katie.  I consider myself very lucky to have them both. 


These two make me laugh every day...  PARD is 21 this year and Katie is coming 5.  I feel like a supervisor on a playground.  When they aren’t running around chasing each other, PARD is opening his stall door with his lips and sharing his feeder with Mildred the Chicken from East L.A. That is whole other story...


Love my Mules! I am so lucky! 


Susan Jackson lives in Norco, California, best known as Horsetown USA. She’s a redhead who rides her mules wherever and whenever she can. She’s been involved in local horse clubs such as the Rubidoux Riding Club, Back Country Horsemen of California, and Norco Horsemen's Association.  She is currently the President of Saddle Sore Riders, Inc. in Norco, CA.  She loves to ride and camp in the great outdoors with her mules.   Susan did mention “I do wish I had kept track of the thousands of miles I have ridden.” Because she’s ridden a lot!



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Pic: Going the distance and walking through fire to spend time with my horse: McCulley Farms, Jasper, FL



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