|Photo borrowed with thanks from|
It may have come to your attention that the mule, a hybrid equine with his mother's athleticism and his father's sense, is now allowed under United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rules to compete in competitive trail rides, endurance competitions, combined driving (since 2000) and dressage (since 2004, except in championships which determine qualification for international competition). This reflects the growing appreciation for our merits as sporting mounts and athletes in society at large.
As I understand it—and, being a mule, I understand well—it is the USEF's failure to acknowledge mules' right to event that dictates the USEA rule against our participation in recognized events. There are only two reasons I, Fenway Bartholomule, can think of for banning my people from competition, and neither reason is very compelling.
The first possible objection, and the one most often raised, is that mules pose a distraction and a safety threat at eventing competitions. Let me pose a hypothetical question: what is more unnatural and distracting: the appearance of a distant cousin in a crowd, or the appearance of a brightly-painted wooden construct in an artificial lake—the latter surrounded by flags, windmills, dogs, lawn chairs, cameras, umbrellas, and applauding spectators?
The second objection may be that mules have an unusual gift for jumping or, on the flip side, an unconventional and "ineffective" jumping style. Will you, then, ban the participation of the Selle Français as a penalty for his genetic tendency toward athletic jumping and the Friesian for his background as a non-jumping harness animal?
Entreaties have been made to the USEF to include us in ALL competitions, but efforts have been fruitless. It lies with you, USEA members, to effect change through continued persuasive efforts.
Ears to you,
p.s. Just in case you were wondering—I, personally, have no desire to event. I ain't jumping over no brightly-painted wooden construct into no artificial lake surrounded by flags, windmills, dogs, lawn chairs, cameras, umbrellas, and applauding spectators. I just think I ought to have been allowed to if I HAD wanted to, that's all.