Mules add western panache to Kremmling scene

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Babe shows her patience and good disposition as rider Keith Whitemarsh makes an exchange with teller, Christie Mathey at Tri-River Ace. Babe received well deserved attention on the internet when photographer Chris Tracy snapped this photo and shared it on Facebook. The photo went viral and marked Kremmling and Babe on the map. Babe is consigned at the Jake Clark Mule Days Auction in Wyoming this June. photo credit Chris Tracy

Keith Whitemarsh and his mules have added western flair and dash to Kremmling. Keith often rides them into town and his mules have made appearances at the Big Shooters drive-thru, Tri-River and Kremmling Community Church. In one photo that has since gone viral, Keith is pictured on his mule Babe( that is consigned at Jake Clark Mule Days Auction in WY this June) inside of Tri-River at the check-out.

Keith admits that mules are a hobby, but one that he hopes will pay for itself.

Agriculture has always drawn Keith. As a youth, Keith often did farm and ranch work. He competed in rodeos as a steer wrestler. He gained the nickname White Horse from those rodeo days, and christened his mule business with the name Whitehorse Mules.

Five years ago, Keith became interested in mules. His interest continues to grow, as his mules continue to show their extreme versatility.

“I live, work and play on them,” says Keith. “Almost every interaction with a mule is a training opportunity and should be considered as such.” Keith’s mules are adept at trail rides and ranch work, including fencing and roping cattle. He has also used his mules at hunting camp and to pack game. He has even used his mules as a team under harness to pull a sled.

In training, Keith demonstrated their easy going nature as he rides them around town and exposes them to different situations.

“I like to find a younger well-built mule with a good mind that has plenty of potential. Then build its confidence and knowledge to the point where it is a pleasure to own,” Keith explains of his training methodology and relationship with his mules.

“Some have quantity of mules. I prefer quality. That takes time, but when the mule and I get there, I know what it’s going to do before he does it, or often before he thinks it.”

Keith notes other advantages of mules. “I often prefer them to a horse. They eat less, they are less likely to need veterinary care, they have longevity, and they are versatile.”

Babe performs under harness as she pulls a sleigh of friends through the snow.
Babe performs under harness as she pulls a sleigh of
friends through the snow.

Keith hopes to help others to gain appreciation for mules. He is currently training one to three mules four to seven days a week. His training schedule leaves him little time for Facebook and he credits his sister for his new Facebook page, Whitehorse Mules.

“My sister and others had told me I needed a Facebook page or a website. I would tell them that I make mules not websites. Finally, a few weeks ago, she just did it. I’ve always been fortunate to receive lots of help and support from friends and family from steer wrestling to mules,” Keith says appreciatively.

To learn more about Keith’s mules follow him on Facebook at Whitehorse Mules, or contact Keith at 509-366-7133.

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