On Saturday, July 23, 2022, Harriett was humanely euthanized, due to heart failure. Though she was with us just shy of five months, she made such an impact on us all. We didn’t realize that the care we were giving her was going to be hospice care.
Harriett was a draft mule who was an Amish work mule all of her 20+ years. In January 2022, she was taken to the auction, most likely due to her age and because there are many younger, stronger mules to take her place. The broker pulled the folks from Omega Horse Rescue aside and said that he had a very sweet mule that didn’t deserve to be here. Most likely she would have been bought by a kill buyer and sent to slaughter because there are so many unwanted horses, mules, and donkeys going to auction every day. The staff from Omega evaluated her on the spot and committed to paying her bail so they could take her back to their farm to find a loving home for her.
At Omega, they quickly found out that she rode, drove, and really liked people. We saw her video and contacted them immediately to see if we could meet her.
Our Gotcha Date for Harriett was March 8, 2022, when we brought her home to CTR. Our plan was to integrate her into the herd, allow her to relax and just be a mule, while she learned our routine. She quickly let us know that she preferred the company of the big horses and NOT the ponies. We started working with her on refining her manners when being handled on the ground and showing her what we needed her to do. She was a fast-learner.
Harriett was rock solid standing as long as you needed her to at the mounting block/ramp. She had more “whoa than go”, which made her the perfect mount for our riders. Her walk was very steady and sure. She was unflappable when it came to all of our lesson activity items in how they looked and sounded. The staff and volunteers were committed to handling her on a consistent basis to make sure her ground manners matched her intelligence. She even lowered her head to make it easier to put her halter on for our staff and volunteers. Harriett would “blep” when she was anxious and could slobber like nobody’s business.
Harriett was our “Gladys Kravitz”, always watching to see who was on the farm and sending us a loud and resounding bray to get our attention. We called her bray “the song of her people”. She always waited at the gate to be the first one in, though she was often pushed away by the other horses who were higher than her in the pecking order. We taught her that treats were good and so were our humans. We loved and respected her. We gave her a good home and meaningful work until she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Her “herd mothers” were with her.
She was a gentle soul with big, soft, brown eyes and long, blonde lashes. Our big, beautiful girl loved to have her ears rubbed and the insides “scritched”. She taught us that being different is what makes us so special. She was a character, our “damn mule”, Harriett.
“My ladies have promised that I shall never be sold, and so I have nothing to fear; and here my story ends. My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple-trees.”
~Anna Sewell, Black Beauty