Freak mule foal gets a name
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION ” At six months, he’s put on about 500 pounds.
He prances around Larry and Laura Amos’ property north of Collbran, near Grand Junction, but he’s still nursing so he doesn’t stray terribly far from mom.
“He’s very social, likes visitors and still likes the cameras,” Laura Amos said Wednesday.
When you’re a zoological freak, why not?
The celebrated foal now has a mouthful of a name: Winterhawk’s Kule Mule Amos.
Larry and Laura Amos, owners of Winterhawk’s Outfitters in the Flat Tops Wilderness, organized a naming contest in cooperation with “Mules and More Magazine,” once news of the foal’s strange birth broke in early summer.
Responses poured in from 43 states and seven countries in the wake of extensive media attention, including a feature on National Public Radio.
“We ended up with about 650 entries,” Laura Amos said.
She said the naming contest just sounded fun. Among suggestions that didn’t make the cut: Winterhawk’s Chromosome Surprise.
“My husband and I just wanted something creative and significant enough for what happened,” she said.
The animal’s birth April 25 still isn’t completely understood.
Amos is the offspring of a mule, Kate. Mules, hybrid crosses of a horse and donkey, were believed to be sterile. The family keeps hundreds of horses and mules on their Collbran property, where Kate pastured with the foal’s dad, a Jack donkey.
Tests have confirmed Amos is a genetic mix between a mule and donkey, Laura Amos said.
Dr. Gordon Woods, director of the equine reproduction laboratory at Colorado State University, called it a “one-in-1,000” happening.
“It’s unusual … definitely out there,” Woods said. “How does it help us understand the sterility of mules? I’m not sure.”
And Amos’ future?
For now, he’s content to play with a paint filly, Lisa, which was born around the same time, Laura Amos said.
“If he doesn’t go to a research facility somewhere, I guess he’d go up on the mountain or go to work,” she said.