We are Helen Cleverton and Becky Godley from Town Barton Farm which is home to 141 mules and hinnies and specialises in care and behaviour training for these highly intelligent and sensitive animals. There was a group of mules at our Sanctuary in Ireland that were moving over to our farm and we were lucky enough to visit them to learn the key points about their individual behaviour training needs. This would make the move much easier for the mules and help us to understand them and build upon the training progress they’ve already made.
We arrived at Eugene Butler’s holding base in Ireland to meet a group of mules that he had been working with for a number of weeks that were being prepared to move over to own Barton – one of our outlying farms not open to the public in the UK.
Charlie was the first mule we met, who Eugene told us had had a rough start in life. She was in a bad way when she arrived at Eugene’s and we could see that she was still worried, but with his careful and quiet handling she now trusted him and allowed him to catch and lead her.
We then met Lugs. She has an amazing presence, a large mule, standing at 14.2hh and over 400kg. She seemed very friendly and loves attention. Eugene told us that she was always the first one to be involved in whatever was going on!
Helen’s eyes lit up when we saw Pirelli. He is a striking dun mule, with beautiful dark features. Eugene told us that he is very confident and can be boisterous at times.
Peanut Ryan was the next to meet. He is much more nervous than the others, and it was very apparent that Eugene hadn’t concentrated on working with him yet, although Eugene was able to catch him and lead him, with a very gentle approach.
Lastly, we met Lily and Pauline, a fairly nervous and shy pair. They were stabled together as they are very bonded. Although they are close, they are much better to be worked with once separated. Eugene was able to catch them and lead them, individually.
All of the mules we saw were stabled separately for behaviour work, which Eugene finds easier when working with them. It was lovely to see Eugene with the mules and to be able to learn first-hand their individual needs and how they can be handled.
These beautiful mules moved to Town Barton recently, with thanks to Mullins Transport and of course Eugene, who was there to oversee the handover. They all looked amazing as they enjoyed a good play and roll in the bark chip area and we’re delighted to see them all settling in well.
We really look forward to working with this group and we will update you all on their progress.