A mule at Bransby Horses celebrated turning 30 this month – and she is the Lincoln equine charity’s oldest resident.
Ebony, who is the offspring of a a male donkey and female horse/pony, was found wandering the streets of Gainsborough when Bransby Horses was called to rescue her back in 1992.
It wasn’t clear if she had escaped from a field or been dumped but, when nobody claimed her, the charity was there to make sure she received all the love and care she needed. During her early years at Bransby Horses she was trained to pull a small cart to help with weight management and keep her busy.
Ebony is now the second longest staying equine at the charity, and her character and cute looks are said to have earned her legendary status. She is also a firm favourite with staff and supporters alike.
On her birthday Ebony was presented with an equine friendly cake made from grass nuts, carrots and molasses. She shared it with her companions – 26-year-old Shetland pony Cinderella and 21-year-old Penelope, who is the charity’s only other mule.
Ebony is slightly above the average age for mules, but some have been known to live for up to 50 years.
Shell Craven, visitor centre team leader, said: “Everyone loves Ebony. She is such a cheeky little lady who doesn’t act her age at all. She has a distinctive voice when she brays and I can tell it’s her just from the noise she makes.
“Ebony has very specific care needs, which is why she is in a herd with equines with similar needs. For example, Ebony only has a few teeth and needs her feed adjusting for this so that she can continue to eat well. She needs more than one rug to keep her warm and dry because a mule’s coat is not as waterproof as a horse’s.”
Shell added: “She’s a very intelligent mule and when she was younger she liked to be doing things rather than just grazing in a field. She’s retired now and is happy playing and relaxing in her paddock with her little herd.”
Ebony was also a ‘sponsorship star’ for many years and still has many supporters who like to send her treats, such as carrots, with their regular donations.