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Mules Rule: The Photography of Kim Carr
Exhibition Dates: May 25 - June 28


A celebration of Missouri's state animal, the mule,
and his long eared relative, the donkey.

Artist Statement:
    "I am an avid animal lover, especially Donkeys and Mules, hence the name Hybrid Hollow.  Having grown up in St. Louis County I knew by the age of ten that I would someday have a farm of my own.  Around this time I was also given my first camera, a little Kodak 110.  Somewhere along life’s journey to become a farmer a passion for photography developed which allows me to capture the little things that give me pause and bring me joy.  With a degree in Animal Science I have enjoyed the country life as a Hobby Farmer for over twenty years now.

     My photography reflects my everyday life and the simple pleasures that surround it.  For anyone who enjoys animals, the outdoors, and the simple life…I hope my photos put a smile on your face and warm your heart."  Photographer Kim Carr

About Artist Kim Carr:
     Photographer Kim Carr holds a BS degree in Animal Science and has been a hobby farmer for over twenty years. Self-taught in the photographic arts, Kim has a natural eye for capturing the essense of life in the country. Her photography captures the little things that give pause and bring joy. She is a a juried member of Best of Missouri Hands (BOMH) and her work has been shown in several Missouri galleries, venues and exhibitions including: Soulard Art Market, Mindworks Art Gallery, Best of Missouri Hands, Missouri State Fair, Plank Road, Poppy, Hermann Kunsterhaus, Jillsie's Bistro & Boutique, Greene's Country Store, Missouri Made and More, Saleigh Mountain Leather Company, and the Zuzak Art Gallery. 

Learn more about artist Kim Carr on her website or purchase her work online.

Read the review of this exhibit by M.T. Erickson, St Louis Art Examiner.




Photography by Kim Carr
(Hybrid Hollow Productions)

Photographer Kim Carr.

"Sophia Smiling"  Photography by Kim Carr. Size: 24 x 36 $460.


Molly – Female Mule  /  John – Male Mule  /  Jenny – Female Donkey  /  Jack – Male Donkey  /  Mare – Female Horse  /  Stallion – Male Horse
1 Mare + 1 Jack = A Mule

    The mule is a man made animal which is the result of crossing a Mare (Female Horse) with a Jack (Male Donkey).  Mules are a Hybrid and are sterile, unable to reproduce.  The only way to get another mule is to breed another Mare to another Jack.  Due to this you can get any kind of mule that you would like.  You can take any breed of horse and have it bred to a Jack of appropriate size.  Jacks or Donkeys come in 3 different sizes, Miniature, Standard and Mammoth.  So for a Mini Mule you would breed a Pony to a Mini Donkey.  For a nice big Draft Mule you would breed a Draft Horse to a Mammoth Jack.

    Mules are sterile due to the fact that a mare has 64 chromosomes and the jack has 62 which leave’s the offspring, the mule with 63.  Reproduction requires an even number of chromosomes.

     Just to confuse matters…..you can do the reverse and breed a Jenny (Female Donkey) to a Stallion (Male Horse) the results are a Hinny.  These are rare and seldom seen. 

    The Mule takes the best characteristics of each of his parents.  Strength, stamina, smarts, longevity are all traits of the mule.

     George Washington is not only known as the Father of the United States but also as the Father of the American Mule Industry.  Being a farmer, in addition to being a soldier, Washington needed big strong work animals.  After considerable maneuvering, Washington was able to persuade the King of Spain to give the Virginian a fine jack and two jennets.  The jack was named Royal Gift.  From this fine breeding stock came the American Mule.  Washington believed horses “ate too much, worked too little, and died to o young” to be productive farm work animals, thus he favored the mule.  October 26th is officially Mule Appreciation Day which marks the day in 1785 the Royal Gift arrive at Boston Harbor.

     Mules have served in the military through all the wars up to the Korean War.  For many years the US Government was the largest mule owner in the world.  The Civil War enlisted over 600.000 mules about evenly divided between the North and the South.  They carried packs, pulled wagons full of supplies and artillery.

     The Santa Fe Trail opened in the early 1820’s travelers poured through Missouri due to it being the center of all things geographically in any direction.  These folks needed transportation and mules were the answer.   By the end of the 19th Century Missouri produced more mules annually than any other state. 
Before Charles Darwin became famous for his theory of evolution he toured the world between 1831 and 1836 with the help of mules.   He was impressed the “Each animal carries o a level road a cargo weighting 416 pounds…yet with what delicate, slim limbs, without an proportional bulk of muscle, the animals support so great a burden!  The mule always appears to me a most surprising animal.  That a hybrid should possess more reason, memory, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endurance, and length of life, than either of its parents, seems to indicate that art has her outdone nature.”

     Throughout history the Pope has only ridden mules.  The mule has been the mascot for the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and it Army athletic teams since 1889.  The mule stands for strength, persistence, tradition, heart and resolve.

     The Twenty Mule Team became the symbol of Borax in 1891 and still is today.  The load of Borax had to be hauled 165 miles up and out of Death Valley, over the steep Panamint Mountains and across the desert to the nearest railroad junction at Mojave.  The twenty-day round trip started at 190 feet below sea level and climbed to an elevation of two thousand feet before it was over.  The two wagons which when fully loaded plus the water tank made a total load of 73,200 pounds or thirty –six tons.  Between 1883 and 1889 the twenty mule teams hauled more than twenty million pounds of borax out of the valley.  During that time not a single animal was lost, nor did a single wagon break down – a testament to the ingenuity of the designers and builders and the stamina of the men and mules.   The muleskinners or handlers earned high wages for their work, $100 - $120 per month.

     The growth of America can be told in part in terms of mules.  Mules were used for every purpose imaginable.  They helped build the railroads, logged the forest, plowed the fields, planted and harvested the crops, powered the early reapers and combines.   They turned the grist mills, built the roadways, and forced the sugar out of the sugar cane. 

     President Harry S. Truman requested a team of four mules and a wagon in 1948 to pull him in his inauguration parade. 

     By using good jack stock along with quality mares, Missouri achieved unquestioned supremacy in both quality and quantity of mules after the Civil War for about thirty or forty year period.  Missouri Mules dominated the competition at the turn of the century at the great World Fairs in Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle. 

     During the twenties and thirties, Missouri agriculture experienced the depression along with all the other farmers.  Mechanization and falling farm prices caused extreme readjustments and hardships.  Interestingly, one of the most successful crops was the mule crop.  A young mule would sell for $100 or $125 while a milk cow would bring only $10.  Often the mule would outsell a horse by 10 to 20%.  If a farmer produced 10 or so mules, it could be his biggest source of income.  Land sold for $1 or $2 an acre.  Thus the sale of one mule could produce enough money to buy a small farm. 

     By the 1920’s, mules numbered around 6 million in the United States.  Today there are fewer than 800,000 mules in the US.  They are still used by the military, in farming, as a pack animals, guardians to livestock, and more but mainly you will see mules under saddle as they are a popular choice for those seeking a safe, reliable ride for fun and pleasure.

     Kim Carr's alma mater, University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg where I obtained my Bachelors Degree in Animal Science has called the mule it’s mascot since 1921. 

     The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine ran a 9 page article in 1983 on mules in which they stated: “Common sense is the mule’s greatest asset.”  The Mule was officially named Missouri’s State Animal in 1995.
     Information obtained from The Natural Superiority of Mules by John Hauer / Mules, Jackasses and Other Misconceptions by James Burkhart and Eugene Schmidtlein / Draft Horses and Mules by Gail Damerow and Alina Rice

The images contained on this site are copyrighted by the artists
and cannot be downloaded, copied or used without written permission. 

Framations Custom Framing & Art Gallery ~ 218 North Main Street ~ St Charles, Missouri 63301 ~ (636)724-8313