How to Harness a Mule

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Mules that are being used to pull a wagon or plow need to be properly harnessed to avoid injury to the animal and to make sure their cargo is secured properly and stable. Harnessing takes some practice and experience to perfect, but with knowledge of the right procedure and some trial and error, you can learn to do it. You should also know the names of all the pieces of the harness before you try to initiate the harnessing process because it will be very confusing otherwise.

Things You'll Need

  • Full set of harness gear
  • Put the collar of the harness up and around the neck of the mule, and buckle it securely in place. Carry the hip strap assembly over your right shoulder, and position your right arm under the saddle while gripping the right hame in your right hand and left hame in your left hand. The hames are curved supports attached to the collar and fastened to the traces (the lines of the harness).

  • Position the right hame over the withers of the mule where the withers meet the collar. Put the right trace and hip strap assembly on the back of the mule so that the harness is centered.

  • Put the britchen on the mule's rump, but leave it unfastened for now. The britchen is the saddle and straps connected to the saddle. Attach the hames to the grooves in the collar and adjust them so that they fit accordingly, then secure them in place with the strap underneath.

  • Connect the breast strap to the ring of the right hame down low. Afterward, pull the britchen down into place on the rear of the mule, swinging the mule's tail out of the way.

  • Pull the pole strap between the mule's front legs and attach it to the quarter strap on the left side.

  • Pull the belly band through the loop in the pole strap and buckle it to hold it in place.

  • Attach the right hand quarter strap to the ring in the pole strap, making sure the smooth side of the strap is up and the spring clip side is facing away from the mule. This could otherwise rub against the mule and be very painful.

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References

  • Photo Credit Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images
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