When you visit the We Can Ride herd, you can see a number of different equine breeds. We have Thoroughbreds, Norwegian Fjords, Morgans and even a British Riding Pony, to name a few. But if you look carefully, the most sure-footed and arguably the smartest member of the herd isn’t a horse at all. He’s a mule named Billy.

Billy joined We Can Ride in the Fall of 2021. He is actually owned by our Equine Operations Manager, Tabea, who thought he might be a terrific addition to our therapy herd. Billy is 20 years old and although he is one of the smallest, He brings a unique presence to We Can Ride. 

Mules are genetic hybrids created by mating a female horse with a male donkey. As hybrids, mules can’t procreate. They are smaller than most horses, but they are more sure-footed and pound-for-pound stronger than their equine cousins. Because mules are both strong and dependable, they are immensely popular as pack animals. They really bring the best of both parents – calm reliability and a kind demeanor, along with extreme intelligence. They also have amazing hearing – of course they do, look at those ears!

Billy originally was the mounted shooting partner for a teenage boy in Missouri. They competed together for a few years until Billy’s owner got too big to ride him. Billy was sold to a woman in Northern Wisconsin and lived there happily until the woman couldn’t ride him anymore. He moved to a horse rescue operation to be the personal mule of the woman who ran the organization. Unfortunately, she developed health problems and had to find a new home for Billy and his buddy mule, Festus. They landed at another rescue barn where they lived until the owner who is a former We Can Ride instructor, decided that Billy would have a great home with Tabea and We Can Ride.

Billy lives cheerfully with his friends in paddock two. He has become extremely bonded with Buck and you can often hear him calling to his pal with his trademark mule braying.

Billy has done really well assimilating as a therapy mule. He still has a few things to learn but he will do that in no time, as he truly is one of the brightest of the bunch!