Own a Piece of Living History, They are the Mules of the US Forest Service

There’s a saying, “there’s something about the back of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.”  Well, let’s change that up a little bit and say, there’s something about the back of a mule, that’s good for the inside of anyone.

Imagine owning a piece of living history like a packer mule of the United States Forest Service.  Every year or so, when the mules (and sometimes horses), get a little too old to keep doing their work for the Forest Service, tough, back-breaking, deep country packing and trail-blazing work, the USFS contacts an equine rescue likes Horse Haven Montana and enables us to offer them up for adoption.  But the alternative if they are not adopted is unthinkable.  If a home isn’t found or we are too full to take on additional hooves, the USFS may either take them to the auction, which almost always guarantees the slaughter-house or, if the animal has really outlived its usefulness as a work animal, it might be euthanized. This is just the way it is. But thankfully, the FS is just as happy to have a humane alternative and an equine rescue is the best answer in most cases.  The problem is, we need homes — willing, responsible, experienced, caring, committed homes.  If you can step up, we’d love to hear from you.

Owning a retired mule from the USFS is truly like owning a piece of living history, it’s living, breathing, feeling “Americana.” These are the animals that built our country.  These are the animals that literally blazed the trails, carved the paths, built the roads into our wilderness and wild lands.  They are strong and steady, kind and gentle and they work hard.  What’s not to love?

If you visit our Facebook page, you’ll find photos of Jimbo, Punch and Moses, each with his own history and set of stories to tell — in their eyes, in their hooves and in their souls.  Give them a chance if you can.  They have given so much, now let’s give it back to them with a good home, an easy final chapter and a chance to just kick back and graze.

General Info, Writings

Symbol of the American West Needs Our Help

 Missoulian Guest Opinion by Janet Rose, Founder & Director of Horse Haven Montana • Copyright, November 25, 2009

It is a uniquely American tragedy that one of the most treasured and recognizable symbols of the American West is in crisis. That symbol, of course, is the horse.

Recent news stories and articles of abandonment, neglect, abuse, as well as human efforts to help, are not new, but the crisis is in the fact that their numbers are growing. And the problems that we are reading and hearing about are only the tip of the iceberg, and getting worse. Concerned citizens can and are helping; local rescue groups, humane associations, hundreds of individuals and a few caring animal welfare organizations are stepping forward to help. As a result, many of these treasured symbols in black, brown, gray and sorrel, tall, short, young and old, are finding homes, some temporary, others permanent.

Continue reading “Symbol of the American West Needs Our Help”