Isabella Rodwig and Slate at a dressage show representing Brooke USA!

Brooke USA Ambassador “Slate” the dressage and eventing mule, as well as his parents, Vicky and Eric Busch, are inspired to raise funds to remedy the conditions working equines in developing countries endure on a daily basis. Slate is one of the lucky equines, and he continues to find new ways to spread awareness about Brooke USA’s mission. We caught up with Slate to hear what he had to say about his life in Folsom, Louisiana – check out the interview with the famous mule himself!

Introduce yourself!

My name is Slate. Mom often calls me Muli (it’s German) but my show name is Assassin.

Can you tell us about your fellow equine friends?

The Busch family has 16 horses and a pony, plus me! They are mostly Warmblood dressage horses but we also have a dressage “wonder pony” named Scotty as well as an eventing Thoroughbred.

Binky is the Shetland. His job is to be a binky for anyone who needs one. My favorite is the Thoroughbred, “M”, which is short for Make No Mistake. I used to live with him until I chewed his tail off — that seemed to set off some sort of apoplectic reaction from my mom. Humans are difficult to understand.

Of the hoity-toity Warmbloods, Dunkirk is my bestie. We usually stable together at shows, which allows us to catch up on all of the barn gossip.

What are their personalities like?

Binky is 15 years old and he is described as the enforcer of manners. He can deliver a wicked bite or whirling kick to offending equids. M is 16 years old and awesome! Deluxe, a rescued Thoroughbred, is afraid of me…I admit this amuses me.

Binky the one-eyed pony!

Do they have interesting back-stories?

When Mom needed a companion for a yearling, she went to a horse dealer to find one. Binky had been a school pony at one time but only had one eye, which was perfect for mom. She said, “Hey, who needs a Shetland who can see everything in the world?” That’s a joke of course — she felt sorry for him and bought him right away. He has been a very good lad at his job and has been deployed on many occasions.

Mom also rescued Deluxe from starvation. PLEASE don’t get her started on that subject. Mom also breeds Warmbloods but that is an incredibly boring topic.

My mom, Vicky Busch, and I competing at a dressage show.

Where do you spend most of your time with your friends?

Many of us live out in the pasture, which is pretty nice, since we have access to lovely run-in sheds, tons of hay, and lush grass. We live in the deep South of the USA, so our grass is nice just about year-round. The client horses live inside their stalls half of the time and then are turned out the other half of the day. It just depends on the time of year.

How does your mom ensure that everyone stays healthy?

Horse management in the South can be challenging. We must make sure everyone stays cool and hydrated in the summer heat. Anhydrosis is a constant concern, but there are lots of fans and massive trees for our comfort.

Describe your social life:

I have many relationships on the farm. Many of us get to know each other best by going to horse shows together. We chat for HOURS in the horse trailer on our trips. I especially like it when we take the four-horse head-to-head. Boy, do we get to catch up on our silly humans and their peculiar habits. A favorite topic of discussion is Mom’s obsession with our cleanliness — WASTE of time and good water. My best buds at the shows are Warmblood fancy pants, Dunkirk, and the Thoroughbred, Make No Mistake. By the way, I am both a dressage mule AND an eventing mule. Just sayin’.

My best friend at home is the dog, Eddie, who lives in the yard next to my paddock. We love to play by running the fence line together. We also like to take naps across from each other. It’s a real bromance. Everyone who sees us together gets all goo-goo about it

Eddie!

Are you spooky?

Our horses are not too spooky. Me? I can be a spooky mule but not for the obvious reasons. That’s all I’m going to say on that subject.

What is your favorite thing about Brooke USA’s work around the world?

I love that Brooke USA is devoted to the welfare of working equines around the world. Brooke USA is BIG and because of that, they can do BIG things like building infrastructure and reservoirs in areas where water is not easy to come by. Can you imagine a lovely drink of water when you are SO thirsty? Especially when your life depends on it! I admit, I’m lucky that’s not me BUT I am a bit of a celebrity as a Brooke USA ambassador. I love that I can help bring awareness to Brooke USA. Brooke USA is doing great work around the country by making friends and raising money. I am proud to be a part of this organization.

Isabella Rodwig and I rocking it at a Charlie Hutton Dressage Clinic.

-All photos courtesy of Brooke USA.

For more information on Free The Donkeys!, contact Cindy Rullman, Brooke USA, 859-296-0037, [email protected], or www.FreeTheDonkeys.org. For more information on Brooke USA, please go to www.BrookeUSA.org.