Show jumper, Spruce Meadows class winner in spring 2008, show jumping member of Battle of the Breeds team, and never leaves home without her passport. Warmblood you might think, maybe a Thoroughbred, perhaps a sport pony, or…a 13-year old molly mule named Mastco Jane. Bred and owned by Lionel Gartner and ridden by Katherine Cook, Jane was a member of the recently crowned champion Team Mule at the 2008 Telus Battle of the Breeds held during the Spruce Meadows Masters tournament. At just 14.3 hands high, Jane placed 4th in the show jumping portion of the battle, bettering her 5th place finish in 2007. Word in the barn is that she’s set her sights on 3rd next year, which will be her sixth year of participation.

 

Out of a running Quarter Horse mare, by a mammoth jack donkey, Jane is just one of the herd at Katherine’s farm. Each day she is turned out with the rest of the horses, and she has the same need for good nutrition, regular exercise and routine hoof and health care as her equine cousins. In fact, Jane can be a bit of a princess, demanding that she be ridden first and brought in first every day, as is appropriate for someone of her standing, and she’s selective about the people she’ll hang with – all part of being a diva.

Katherine first experienced mules while working in an equine assisted therapy program where she had the opportunity to work with a “very cool mule”, and the partnership began. She says they are much like riding a horse, although somewhat smoother, slightly more opinionated, with perhaps a bit stronger sense of self preservation than your average horse. Not always a bad thing, especially if you’re inclined to go trail riding in some of the wonderful but remote areas we are fortunate to have in our province. So we look forward to Mastco Jane’s return to Spruce Meadows in September next year, to see how she does with her climb to the top of the podium.