Alright, I am not a dressage person by any stretch, but how can anyone not love this story?!
Porter the mule (click to see great pictures!) has made it all the way up to third level dressage competition, thanks to some very diligent work on behalf of owner and professional hunter-jumper Audrey Goldsmith. The rangy half-Thoroughbred still raises eyebrows when he enters the dressage ring, but once he’s doing his thing, the judges can’t touch him! What started out as an intent to cross train him and help him balance during a mild spate of neurological symptoms as a yearling, turned into a full-fledged career as an elegant, dancing mule. As if that weren't enough, he also drives, jumps, does reining, and competes in trail classes.
Interestingly, Goldsmith explains in the article that mules aren’t really so different from horses – except that they have a stronger flight instinct and so you have to be prepared for them to bolt with a little more zest than a normal equine. She also explains that mules actually smell slightly different from horses (who knew?), and so sometimes fellow equines at dressage tests get noticeably unnerved when he enters the warm-up arena.
Regardless, I think he’s gorgeous, and love the adorable floppy ears. His owner likens him to a “rideable border collie,” which sounds like great fun to me. Good luck to both Porter and Audrey as they show those stuck-up horses who’s boss!