Royo the Mule has become something of a celebrity for the centre. He is about 30 years old. We know that because he was born in mainland Spain and in the 1990’s there was a horse virus in Spain and all vaccinated horses were branded to show it was done. He has a brand.
He was bought by a man who couldn’t bear to see him still being forced to work with a broken hoof. Unfortunately, the gentleman who saved him died two years later. Some Good Samaritans in Ifonche took him in and he spent five years in the mountains up there, but the local authorities kept getting calls about a ‘dying horse’ as he spends a lot of time lying down. In the end they got fed up and told the carers they had to find somewhere else for him, so he ended up in our sanctuary. He had a splint for a while, but no longer needs that. He now has a prosthetic hoof which he wears for a few hours a day so that he can wander about. He has a wonderful personality, lovely spirit and interacts well with people and all the other animals. (Sponsor Royo)
About the breed: The word ‘mule’ itself typically refers to the offspring of a mare (a female horse) and a jack (a male donkey), who, although they belong to two different species, are able to readily breed. Mules have been used by humans for millennia, working as load-bearers, cart-pullers, and even racing mounts. The exact origin of the mule as a species isn’t known, but it’s likely that the first mules were the result of pairings between wild asses and horses that lived in the same habitats; this is a rare occurrence, though, and nearly all mules throughout history and up to modern days have been domestically bred by humans.
What they eat: Generally, mules can graze all day on hay or grains, and they can eat anything horses can eat like grass and hay. They also like treats such as apples, carrots and other fruits or vegetables.