Behind the scenes: a mule, 2 burros

Levi, right, Lonnie Quick’s gaited mule, shares a pasture with Jed and Maggie Mae, a pair of burros. Quick trained Levi to carry a rider, but the mule threw him in September and will return to training. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

By David Knopf/Richmond News

Those who know Lonnie Quick are likely to identify him as Richmond’s fire chief or the man whose Tennessee Walker Freddie gives kids carriage rides around the square at Christmas.

And it’s common knowledge to fellow horse owners that he and his life Lisa are trail-riding enthusiasts who keep Yankee, a Missouri Fox Trotter, and Petey, a walking horse, in a corral behind their home on Business 10.

What many don’t know is that those horses and Freddie share grazing space with three other equine specimens – a mule named Levi and a pair of burros, Jed and Maggie Mae.

Lonnie Quick bought Levi, who turned 4 in July, at a mule sale in Columbia. As a working animal with a long history in Missouri, Quick said mules can be broken to ride.

Earlier this year, he said he’d done just that with Levi and had made good progress.

“I’ve ridden him a lot,” he said then. “He’s a good ride.”

That was until Levi uncharacteristically threw the fire chief just a few months later, causing some injuries.

“He’s back in training,” said Quick, who plans to regain trust with the animal by the spring.

Levi was the product of breeding a male donkey with a walking horse mare. Thanks to the walking-horse strain and their characteristic stride, he’s known as a gaited mule.

And, with a purchase price of $2,500, someone might understand why the animal’s worth a second round of training.

Levi’s closest corral companions – the burros the Quicks have had for several years  – are a different story altogether. Generally inexpensive – Quick thinks he paid a Kingsville owner maybe $100 for Jed – burros generally aren’t used as working animals here, but they can serve a purpose.

Scott Pierce, the Dockery owner and sometimes breeder of burros, raised Maggie Mae before the Quicks acquired her.

While many owners keep a burro as a corral pet – and to many, an animal with a lovable face – Pierce said burros are territorial and protective of a herd.





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