What is a Hinny? The Story of Kojack
For the Love of a Hinny.
I don't know what it is about Kojack that makes him so special; his long ears, his personality, or his attitude. Whatever it is, he's the best buddy that I ever dreamed I could find for my horse, Sport.
I never pictured myself owning an animal like Kojack. I mean, come on, I'm a horse person, a lover of equines and a riding instructor, to boot. (ha).
But Kojack has that "one of a kind" appeal that you run across once in a lifetime. He's a special little guy in my life.
When I first bought Kojack, I'd never heard of a 'hinny'. I knew what a jenny (female donkey) was, and a mule. I always thought mules were mules. But a hinny? Come to find out, a hinny is a rare breed, the product of a jenny mother and a horse father. A hinny cannot reproduce. Neither can the mule; they are born sterile.
They say it doesn't happen often (the stallion breeding with the jenny. When it does happen, and you're lucky enough, the result is often a smaller, prettier animal. The wonderful hinny.
I've often said I thought Kojack was too cute to be in the mule family, and I was right. He's a hinny.
The Characteristics of a Hinny
What stands out the most about Kojack is his personality. He's a friendly animal, more like a dog. Curious and inquisitive, if he sees anyone in the pasture, he's going to come over and investigate, no matter what. I remember when we moved our round pen, a corral of ten foot panels, to another location on our property. I looked up, unexpectedly, and caught Kojack with the hammer in his mouth! When I protested, he took off running, like he was mocking me. It took me a minute to get the hammer away from him, but I was cracking up. That rascal! Another time, when I was entertaining some friends from church, he kept knocking over the lawn chairs, picking them up, and dragging them away. Every time I scolded him and shooed him away, he came right back and did it again, as if to say,"Ha Ha, fooled you again!"
One thing we learned about Kojack is that he hates dogs, and cats too, for that matter. Our dogs have learned to keep their distance. There's an imaginary force field around Kojack, and if a dog steps within that boundary, they become his prey. In an instant, he'll be after the dog, head lowered, ears pinned back, and front hooves pawing. I've read that it's a natural instinct. We've seen donkeys grazing with cattle. It makes sense. The donkeys are there to protect the baby calves from predators, like coyotes, who become prey when a donkey's around! I saw Kojack chase a crane out of the pond, once. That surprised me, since he tolerates cow birds really well. He chased the cat out of the barn, too, but it rarely gets close enough to become the "chased." Smart thinking, for the cat!
Trimming Kojack's hooves for the first time was an experience. Thanks to our farrier, Jackie Upton, we were able to make it through the ordeal, with the exception of a lot of kicking and gouging! He finally had to use a twitch, a short piece of rope twisted around Kojack's upper lip. It seemed to have a calming effect on him that allowed the farrier to finish the job. After a few trimmings, he learned to stand quietly for Mr. Upton. Kojack has developed a real affection for him, and vice versa. You can't help but love him!
Kojack aggravating Sport
A Hinny Can Colic!
One day, early in September, I noticed Kojack was lying down in an unusual spot. It didn't take me long to figure out he was obviously sick. And it only took me another minute to figure out what was wrong: colic. The poor little guy was in obvious distress, so I ran into the house and called Jim Kunkel, our veterinarian. He instructed us to make him walk, and he told us NOT to let him lie down until he could get there. It wasn't easy, but we managed to keep him moving until the vet arrived. We wondered what triggered the colic. The only cause that Dr. Kunkel could determine was gas colic brought on by the change in barometric pressure. I'd never heard of this before, but I was satisfied it was the culprit. One year later, almost to the day, Kojack got sick again . This time, when I called Dr. Kunkel, I reminded him it had been exactly one year since the last colic. Was he eating something to cause it? When he arrived, my suspicion was confirmed. I found some flat, teardrop shaped seeds in Kojack's poop. When I showed it to Dr. Kunkel, he said, "Persimmons!" My hinny had eaten too many persimmons! Of course, I had to continue walking him, after the vet left, so I called to inform my Bible study group I wouldn't be there that night. I left this message on their answering machine: "Hey, I won't be there tonight because my mule has overdosed on persimmons and he has a stomach ache." ( They thought it was pretty funny). We cut down all the persimmon trees on our property.
Yes, Kojack is a barrel of laughs. He even looks comical. The markings on his face make him look like he has eye brows. His mane sticks straight up, like a donkey, but his sturdy little body is more like a horse. His mischievous antics can be compared to that of a two year old child testing his parents patience. I'll never forget when Mike hopped on him, bareback and with no halter or lead rope, and Kojack decided he didn't want him on his back. He pitched a couple of times, then Mike jumped off. Kojack took a few steps, turned around and looked, pointed his hind end in Mike's direction, then kicked both hind legs toward him as if to say, "That'll show you not to get on my back when I‘m not in the mood!" I couldn't believe how disdainful and childlike he was! And, for good measure, he loped a few yards away, stopped, turned around, then kicked out again. The devilish little rascal was showing his personality in true form that day!
A Hinny is a Special Animal.
I've often asked myself, "What purpose does Kojack serve? To stand around and look cute? " We don't use him for anything, except an occasional, comical ride. I bought him to be a companion for my horse, but he's turned out to be much more. What makes an animal so special that I would sit down for hours and write a story about him? I don't really know the answer. I only know that we have a special bond with Kojack. We love Sport, too, but there's just something about that hinny! When we need a good laugh, we go outside and spend time with Kojack and Sport, feeding them pears (no persimmons!), petting, scratching, and talking to them. It's a pleasant, unusual kinship. As for Kojack, he's worth all the time, effort, trouble, and expense. It's all for the love of a hinny.
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- Love Longears!
What do you get when you cross a donkey jack with a horse? (A mule). A horse stallion with a donkey jennet (a hinny). Aren't all hinnies female and mules male (no!) Are all mules sterile (for all practical purposes, yes). Read more!
- Hinny - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Detailed information about this unique breed of animal can be found here.