NASMDA: Meet Jo Teter’s Working Equitation Mules

Teters Dazzle

My name is Jo Teter and I am a muleaholic.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step. My husband Duane and I farm and raise commercial cattle in S.W. Nebraska. I came late to the mule world, a trip down to Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon showed me first hand what mules were capable of. I have always had horses and shown horses and will continue to love my horses, but I have a lot of room for mules now also. The question I get the most is how are mules different from horses? ln my opinion, that’s the hardest question in the mule/horse world. They are different, but they are the same. There are smart mules and dumb mules, just like horses. There are smooth riding mules and there are rough riding mules, just like horses. Not every mule has a great work ethic but neither does every horse….or person.  What I can say about them is they will love you or hate you more than most horses. They seem to have more personality. I tell people I can make my mules do anything that they want to do, I’m just thankful that they want to do Working Equitation!

Teters Dazzle

Meet my Working Equitation mules, Teters Dazzle is a 8 yr old black mule, bought at a chicken sale as a weanling. Teters Copy of Bandy is a 6 yr. old bay mule bought from Chris French & Kelli Kaye in lowa as a weanling. Both are owned by Duane and Jo Teter and shown by Jo Teter.

Working Equitation is a welcoming sport for all types of riders and their steads. This equine event is divided into a 3 to 4 phase show. The 1’t phase is the dressage test, the 2nd phase is the Ease of Handling {roughly equitation trail) the 3’d phase is the speed round (timed trail) the 4s phase is cattle sorting (not held at all shows) Working Equitation is a great fit for what many people want to accomplish with their equines. Want a free moving brave, responsive and yet collected mule that moves off your leg? This is a great way to work towards those goals in a fun, competitive way.  These equines are asked to brave bridges, jumps, side pass and pick up a pole and fight a bull {wooden) to name a few of the obstacles. All of this while maintaining the same pace and rhythm at the trot and/or canter. Depending on the level that is being shown, mules will be asked to do lead changes through the walk, trot and flying. The degree of difficulty goes up as you progress to each level.

Teters Copy of Bandy

What benefits do I get from using my mules in these events? I feel like my mules are more accepting of any trail obstacle that we come across either in the show pen or out pasture riding. lf I want  to step on the gas and get somewhere a little quicker, I know that I have that gear and l’m pretty sure it’s not going to miss-fire! I think everything ties together, I have a braver, more responsive mule because we have put the time in as a team to accomplish the goals laid out in each level. What makes it fun? You are surrounded with like minded people with great attitudes! You will meet some awesome folks at a WE show. What is fun while you’re showing? For me, hands down it s getting to do the speed round. I can’t keep the silly smile off my face when we get to ride the Ease of Handling course as fast as we can. Most shows will play popular music during your speed round, it’s funny to me how many songs have mules in them ! Take note in the very first level of showing introductory level you only get to compete in the dressage & Ease of Handling phases, this was a huge incentive for me to start leveling up!

Teters Dazzle

Dazzle and Bandy and I have been active in this sport for the last couple of years. Slowly moving up the levels as I learn new riding skills. ln 2018 Bandy was the year end National Champion for the Novice A div. ln 2019 Dazzle was the National Champion in Novice B div. at the National show which was held in McCook, Nebraska and Nov B, Reserve Champion for the year end. I think this sport is made for mules in many ways, no, we aren’t always going to be at the top of the dressage sheet, but they do like the challenge of the obstacles, they are naturally brave and they do like to stretch out and go a little faster!

I would encourage anyone wanting more information about Working Equitation to check out the web site at this site will have show and clinic information listed. You’re also welcome to reach out to me on Facebook, I will try to answer your questions or I can get you to someone who can. Come give this fast growing sport a try!

Dazzle and Bandy with owner, Jo Teter


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