Mule Makes Mark as an Athlete

Arco Rudy, a cross between a Quarter Horse mare and a Mammoth jack, recently won the "Best Condition Award" at the American Endurance Ride Conference's National Finals in the 50-mile division. The finals were held Oct. 15, 2001, in Salt Lick, Ky. Rudy was the only mule in the finals of a sport typically dominated by the hardy, metabolically efficient Arabian horse.

The mule and his owner, Cindy Brasfield, DVM, of Robertsdale, Ala., placed ninth. The top 10 finishers qualify for the Best Condition award. An hour after completion of the endurance ride, a veterinary panel examines each animal carefully to evaluate hydration, mucous membrane color, gut sounds, heart and lung sounds, and other indicators of good health. The veterinarians also check for lameness and interference marks on the horse's legs. Each animal gets a score based on the veterinary findings. The rider's weight and time taken to finish the course are figured into a formula, determining the winner of the award.

See article #576 at www.thehorse.com to read about the health concerns of mules and donkeys, plus #2826 and #654 to learn about the feeding and care of endurance horses.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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