What’s New

  • URGENT ACTION ALERT: Stop the Mass Killing of 45,000 Wild Horses & Burros

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    Update: The Bureau of Land Management responded to public outcry on Wednesday, saying that the department has no current plans to kill the horses and will continue caring for any horses that are not sold at auction. The department has not yet formally replied to the advisory board’s proposal, but will do so at its next meeting, Reuters reported.

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    Please take the time to make your voice heard and stop this tragic decision. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has information to contact your Senators and Representatives.

    On September 9, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted to recommend the killing of as many as 45,000 captured wild horses and burros in government holding pens as an “emergency” measure. The agency wants to clear the holding pens so that it can round up 40,000 more wild horses and burros from their homes on the range.

    The danger is imminent, but can only become reality if Congress and the Administration authorize this mass killing.

    Take a Stand Today! Tell Congress and the Administration NO killing or sterilization of America’s mustangs and burros.

    Our innocent and iconic wild horses and burros should not pay the ultimate price for the BLM’s continued mismanagement. Please send your emails today!

    Click here to TAKE ACTION.

  • What’s New: Spuds & Augie in “Learner’s Permit”

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    Everyone loves learning to drive and miniature donkeys, Spuds & Augie are no different! Watch their progress as Meredith puts them through their paces.

  • The History of the Missouri Mule

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    The Missouri mule is a well-known symbol of American strength and perseverance, thanks to its significant contributions both within the state and throughout the country. Today, the mule still serves as Missouri’s official state animal, so the connection remains strong. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has put together a great photo slideshow about the history of these iconic equines and their role in the Show-Me State—click here to see the full slideshow!

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  • Roll Cleans Up

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    WN-Roll070516-001Today was the perfect day for a summer bath. Roll is feeling well and his left hind foot has nearly grown out from his bout with White Line Disease. During the duration his White Line Disease that began in January, he has not spent one lame day.

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  • Prey or Predators?

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    Are equines prey or predators? Although some trainers base their methods on the idea that equines should be approached as “prey,” this blog post by Sara Annon explains that the answer may not be that simple.

    An excerpt:

    The real lesson in this is that the predator/prey model of horsemanship is inaccurate. Rodents are prey animals. Horses are herd animals.  Their enemy is the weather (click here  and here). Horses die from hypothermia in winter, drought in summer, and starvation when grazing is scarce. Weakened animals are picked off by the occasional courageous wolf pack or lion. I say courageous because it only takes one quick smack with a hoof to break bones, and for a predator that is a death sentence.

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  • Sadie Wins PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award

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    HUGE congratulations to Sadie who has won the prestigious PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award for Region 10 (CO, UT, WY, AZ, NM) and is also up for the International Equine of the Year award! We are so proud of Sadie who’s been one of our four-legged therapists since 2006! Next time you’re at Hearts And Horses, be sure to give her an extra pat!Sadie

     

  • An ode to days past, Colorado burro racing in full swing

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    The following story is an excerpt from The Gazette. Read the full article here.

    IDAHO SPRINGS – Long ago before his long beard and long hair turned white, Bill Lee thought about what to be.

    An oral storyteller, yes, because that, he felt, was a noble profession. That was needed in the ever- urbanizing West. But what to be?

    “I decided on the mountain man,” said Lee, 67, reflecting in his log cabin, “because it was a really short-lived era in history.”

    So he would go as the mountain man, fur coat and musket and all, to schools and libraries in towns up and down Interstate 70, to tell the kids about what used to happen in these mountains. And inevitably he would talk about the burro – Spanish for donkey – and he’d tell of the animal that was relied upon for toting supplies through the surrounding wilderness.

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  • Spuds and Augie Summer Baths

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    “Hey, Augie! It sure is hot…great day for a bath don’t you think?”

    “Well, Roll seems pretty pleased after his bath looking in the window at
    himself like that! Who needs a mirror?!”

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  • The Elbow Pull

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    The “Elbow Pull” is a self-correcting restraint that encourages the equine to use his entire body to go forward in a relaxed and correct postural frame. It promotes the stretching and strengthening of the topline and results in the hind legs coming well under to support the body and to keep the hind quarters (motor) providing active impulsion. In the “before” pictures, the equines are simply moving their front and back legs underneath the torso, but the torso is not really moving due to inactivity in the rib cage muscle groups. In the “after” pictures, you see that the equine posture has dramatically changed and now produces an active and “rippling” effect throughout the rib cage muscle groups (which can be seen in the moving videos). This is the basic difference between a really good dressage prospect and one that might be passed over.

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  • TMD Equine University Graduation Clinic 2016

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    ADMISSIONS EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 31.

    Click here to apply!

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    TMD Equine University is an online school founded by Meredith Hodges and certified by the State of Colorado. Students engage in a full year of study in this two-semester program. The comprehensive equine study covers everything involved in the safe and enjoyable management and training of your equine.

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    Our museum display affords students lessons in anatomy and its relationship to motion.Read More

  • Roll Update — Hoof Growth Progress

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    Our farrier, Dean Geesen, came out again today to check on Roll assisted by Lucky Three Ranch Manager, Chad. We let Roll go a little longer between trims this time to help with the healing of the White Line Disease. He is making good progress and has a lot of new hoof growth on his left hind. He is having no trouble bearing weight on it.

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  • Spuds and Augie Study Up

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    “Hey, Augie! Where are we going today?”
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  • Support Research on Wild Burros

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    Erick Lundgren is a PhD student at Arizona State University conducting research on a previously unstudied behavior of wild burros—digging wells! With the help of ASU, he’s already gathered lots of interesting data about these wild burros’ water-seeking behavior in arid climates, but he is seeking more funds to continue his research during the summer. For more information, check out the video below and visit his Indiegogo campaign to support this interesting and important research!

  • Roll Update – Outdoor Examination

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    It was a beautiful spring day today, so I took advantage of the warm weather and washed the dirt and baby oil out of Roll’s mane and tail before our farrier, Dean Geesen began to work on him.

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  • Donkeys: The “Sinking” Reflex

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    WN-DonkeySinking-001Donkeys have a lot of behaviors that owners might find strange. One of these is dropping their spine, or “sinking,” when you put a hand on their back. Not all donkeys will do this, but many of them will, especially when they are young and or haven’t been handled routinely. I’ve personally had experience with donkeys sinking to the point that they’ll go down to the floor on their knees and bellies. You may also commonly recognize this behavior in cats and dogs.

    In order to understand what’s happening, it is important to understand the intervertebral equine anatomy. “Intervertebral” refers to the opening between two jointed vertebrae for the passage of nerves to and from the spinal cord. When a foal is first born, their bones and cartilage are soft and flexible, and their nerves in these areas are hypersensitive —especially over the spine.

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  • Roll Update – Hoof Growth and Progress

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    4/6/16:

    Roll has been coming along quite well with his White Line Disease. He has been growing a new foot at a rate of about 1/8” per week and is gaining ground. My Ranch Manager Chad had found some thrush around the frog during the morning check. He cleaned it and applied iodine to the area. However, we noticed that the lamina growing beneath the old hoof wall at the toe was beginning to curl upward. So, we contacted our veterinarian Greg Farrand to come out and take a look.

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  • Equines of a Certain Age

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    Lucky Three Ranch knows a thing or two about elderly equines—miniature mule Lucky Three Franklin just celebrated his 40th birthday on April 1, and we’ve been happy to celebrate many of our other equines through their 20s and 30s.

    Handsome elderly gentleman, Franklin

    Handsome elderly gentleman, Franklin

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    Photo: Donkey Sanctuary

    That’s why we’re very happy to acknowledge Tootsie, a resident of the wonderful Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland, who is an incredible 54 years old—making him one of the oldest mules ever. The Donkey Sanctuary rescued Tootsie in 1992, and he is part of their “Super Grannies” group of equines that are all over 30 years old, who receive special treatment, feed, and love from the Sanctuary’s volunteers.

    Curious about other historically aged equines? Longears have the opportunity to live particularly long lifespans, so there may be many out there, but here are a few we know about: Suzy, Rosie and Eeyore, donkeys who lived to be 54; Flower, who is believed to have reached the age 70; and Joe, a 45-year-old full-sized mule from Colorado Springs who’s still around today.

    Wishing well to all of these sweet seniors!

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  • Roll Update – Farrier & Massage

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    3/9/16:
    Roll had his shoes replaced on the two front feet and the right rear today. Dean was very pleased to discover that on the left hind that has White Line Disease, he is growing hoof back at a rate of about 1/8th of an inch a week! We are encouraged that even though we are looking at months of recovery, if we can keep him balanced, he might actually make it! I am convinced that the balancing of his body and core strengthening exercises he has been doing for the past six years has really been the primary reason for him doing as well as he is. He weighs 3000 lbs. and that is a lot of weight to put on a damaged foot. Without the balance, the dispersement of his weight could have been irregular and put undue pressure on the fragile and damaged pieces left of the hoof wall. This could have caused a complete collapse of his hoof. This is always a consideration, so we are checking him regularly and will be replacing the Styrofoam pads with neoprene support pads in his boot every other day going forward after we can get them. The Styrofoam pads are wearing out too quickly. The other three feet are holding up well with no real signs of additional stress. He has yet to have one day of lameness at all since we got him in 2010. He is happy and showing no signs of pain. We will just continue as planned and make adjustments to our approach as needed.

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  • “Sir, Reporting to the Mule in the Red Sash!”

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    West Point Military Academy Press Release

    “General Caslen, on behalf of all Army Rangers and the Class of 1975 and the West Point Society of South Carolina, we present you with Paladin!” said Steve Townes ’75, CEO and Founder of Ranger Aerospace LCC, who has been West Point’s “mule donor in perpetuity” for well over a decade. ( Since 2001. )

    Four-year-old Paladin, whose name refers to 1 of the 12 legendary peers or knightly champions in Charlemagne’s court, began his West Point experience on March 31, 2016, reporting to Ranger III, now gray in his muzzle.

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  • Roll’s Hoof Updates, Part 4

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    On February 25, we discovered more White Line Disease on the medial side of the foot. We also discovered some strange growth that looked like new hoof growing out of the front of the coronet band and continuing around both sides of the hoof in a uniform fashion. It was pliable which caused some concern, so we opted to follow up with x-rays today.

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