SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Longer daylight, and a brand new ‘bray’.
Spring at the Rockin’ O Ranch west of Shawnee can be a noisy place when everyone talks at once.
“I don’t know,” smiles owner Donnie Oldham. “It’s just something different.”
Busy too. Veterinarian Chris Bellinger made a quick stop late one afternoon to check on a pregnant mare.
Donnie can’t wait for this time of year when the new babies start arriving.
“This one is ten days old,” he says as it sprints past us on the lawn. “He’s been put up in the barn. It’s been so muddy, so this is really his first chance to stretch his legs.”
He started riding and training mules as a teenager and never quit.
As a mule breeder he chooses carefully, Texas Red Scooter Jacks and quarter horse mares with good pedigrees.
“I tell everybody the same thing,” he states. “I don’t breed for color. I breed for brains.”
The results often show themselves within the first few days of a baby mule’s life.
“I knew early on that if you put the right mare with the right jack you could produce a mule that was competitive.”
As a young johnnie’s or mollie’s legs unfold, Oldham can already tell quality.
“You can see the muscle structure in him,” he grins. “He’s going to be a dandy.”
Two foals as of late May, 2023.
Both healthy and friendly too.
As part of his selection in breeding, Oldham insists, “I want them to understand that I’m the good guy.”
Considering what he does for a living, Donnie’s admission that he doesn’t really care for horses is interesting.
“I’ve never ridden a horse,” he says.
But not when compared to his endless love for an animal that stole his heart so long ago.
“I don’t know if I can say this or not, but my wife says I get along with them so well maybe because I’m part jackass,” he chuckles. “I don’t know.”
The Rockin’ O, with its jacks and jennies, johnnies and mollies, even his very own Bonnie Blue, shows nothing but clear skies in spring.
Around here it’s mules all ‘bray’ long.
Find more information on the Rockin’ O Ranch on their website.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union