What’s New

  • Mule Crossing: A Bit About Communication with Your Equine

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    By Meredith Hodges © 2016 Lucky Three Ranch, Inc. MULE CROSSING All Rights Reserved.


    img_8697_cc_printOver the past few decades, through trial and error, we equine owners and trainers have discovered that, when communicating with our equines, harsh bits are not really necessary. Rather, it is safer and more beneficial to use milder tack and equipment, to concentrate on learning correct body language and to give clear cues with our hands, seats and legs to elicit the desired response from our equines.

    Nowadays, at the beginning of training, more and more riders are learning to ride “by the seat of their pants,” that is, using body language through the seat, legs and hands, rather than with brute force through the bit. Once a rarity, riding bridleless, or bitless is now part of a preferred way of training for both the equine and the rider.

    If you are training your equine at home—in a controlled situation and under optimum conditions—riding bridleless and using the right kinds of techniques can be relatively easy, but there is more to consider than just getting the right response from your equine. As long as you are in a controlled situation, it is safe to ride bridleless for general pleasure riding, but if you become involved in showing at the advanced levels of performance, such as the higher levels of Dressage, Jumping and Combined Training, a finer-tuned communication, which bitless bridles or bridleless riding cannot necessarily provide, is necessary.

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  • Spuds & Augie Go Exploring!

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    “It’s a beautiful Fall day, Augie! Where do you think we are we going this time?”

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    “Maybe I shouldn’t have asked!”

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    “It wasn’t really THAT bad, was it, Spuds?!”

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    “Hey, Spuds, come look in here! It’s pretty cool!”

    “Has she finally lost her mind, Augie?! We can’t fit in there!”

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  • Mules and Donkeys in the Bible

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    When I posted this on Facebook about mules in the Bible…

    Origins: The mule is mentioned in mankind’s earliest records. Consider this passage from the Bible: “And Absolom met the servants of David. And Absolom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the Heavens and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away.” (II Samuel 18:9). If you choose to ride a mule, you will need a good sense of humor!!!

    …we were asked about mules really being in the Bible.  We sent an email to a Rabbi inquiring about the translation of the ancient Hebrew word for “mule” or “pered.” Here is the reply:

    “Solomon rode on a mule (1Ki 1:38) because his father David told Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to “cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule” (v 33). This is the word for a “she-mule” (BDB, TWOT). Its three Old Testament uses are all in this passage (see v 44), referring to one mule, David’s. Solomon’s riding on David’s mule in company with David’s advisors gave a clear message: he was the successor David had chosen. Years later in secular history, female mules became preferable for riding and males for bearing burdens. That may have been a factor in David’s having this special mule. Second, an observation. David’s sons all rode on (male) mules (2Sa 13:29) and Absalom rode a mule at the end of his life (2Sa 18:9). Since a mule is crossbred between a mare and a male donkey, and since crossbreeding was prohibited in Israel (Lev 19:19), mules were likely imported (TWOT), and were thus more valued. They (along with horses, silver, and gold, etc.) symbolized the wealth that other kings brought to Solomon annually (1Ki 10:25). Third, a suggestion. The greatest reason for David’s choice of a mule rather than a horse may have been God’s prohibition for kings (Deu 17:16): they were not to multiply horses to themselves. David was careful in this. Solomon, to his own destruction, was not (1Ki 10:26, 28).”

  • LTR Presents: Spuds & Augie in “Spa Days”

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    Our miniature donkeys, Spuds & Augie, have a day in the “spa”. Watch the adorable music video compilation of their grooming sessions.

  • Dressage Mule Slate Helps Spread Awareness of Working Equines

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    This is a repost from Brooke USA.

    Lexington, Ky.  – November 15, 2016 – Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Vicky Busch and her mule “Slate” continue to spread awareness of the plight of working equines in the developing world and the work of Brooke USA. Most recently Slate and his young rider, Busch’s student Isabella Rodwig won their Training Level Test 3 class at the dressage schooling show at Amen Corner Farm in Folsom, LA.

    Isabella Rodwig and Slate Compete at the Amen Corner Farm Schooling Show

    The pair did so in style and with a nod to Brooke USA, with a large Brooke USA heart painted on the mule’s rump. Busch uses Slate’s engaging personality and the novelty of seeing him at a dressage show to educate the crowds he draws about the mission of Brooke USA. She hopes that Slate and his young rider will continue to compete in more dressage shows this year with the goal of qualifying for the USDF Region 9 Championships sponsored by the Houston Dressage Society.

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  • Laura Hermanson & “Behold the Desert” to Compete in USDF Finals

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    While dressage has long-been regarded as a horse and Pony Club sport, Meredith Hodges opened the doors to mules in dressage in the United States Dressage Federation Schooling Shows in 1986. With the help of Carole Sweet and Leah Patton of the American Donkey and Mule Society in Lewisville, Texas, they were formally accepted by the United States Equestrian Federation at their convention in Los Angeles in 2004. Laura Hermanson has since taken full advantage of this amazing opportunity. In 2015, she qualified for the United States Dressage Federation Finals with her own mule, “Heart B Dyna”, that is to be the subject of an upcoming documentary. The film is titled ”Dyna Does Dressage,” and is produced by Sarah Crowe and Amy Enser, who describe it as an “Underdog story [that] follows Dyna and her owner/rider, Laura, as they defy the odds to find their place among this elite world of horse riding.” Laura Hermanson is breaking through the stigma that dressage is only for horses and ponies as was previously defined by the USEF Rulebook. Much like Meredith Hodges herself, what began as a love of horses evolved into the championing of the noble MULE, an equine ambassador that truly deserves our respect. This year, Laura is competing Behold the Desert (aka Beasley) owned by Troy and Carol Delfino of Bakersfield, California and bred by Candace Shauger of Genesis Farms in Bremen, Ohio, in the upcoming U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) Finals in Lexington, Kentucky, November 10-13. Let’s all give our support to this amazing team!

  • Breeding Letter from George Washington

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    A letter from George Washington, written in 1786, was recently put up for auction by bookseller William Reese. The letter is in regards to a donkey sent to Washington’s Mount Vernon ranch for the purpose of breeding. Washington is well-known for his agricultural brilliance and for breeding the first American mule. The correspondence was written a during a breif period of retirement and a few years before Washington became president. washington-letter

    Washington writes: “Dear Sir, When your favor of the first inst., accompanying the she ass, came to this place, I was from home – both however arrived safe; but Doct. Bowie informs me that the bitch puppy was not brought to his house. Nor have I heard any thing more of the asses at Marlbro’, nor of the grass seeds committed to the care of Mr. Digges. I feel myself obliged by your polite offer of the first fruit of your jenny. Though in appearance quite unequal to the match, yet, like a true female, she was not to be terrified at the disproportional size of her paramour; and having renewed the conflict twice or thrice it is to be hoped the issue will be favourable. My best respects attend [Mrs. Sprigg] & the rest of your family. With great esteem & regard, I am Dr. Sir Yr. most ob. serv. Go. Washington.”

  • Happy Mule Appreciation Day!

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    To celebrate Mule Appreciation Day, we invite you to learn the history of the American mule and the amazing contributions they have made to the building of our great country.

  • Another Augie & Spuds Adventure: Beware of the Trainer!

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    “Hey, Augie! The sign says, ‘Beware of the Ass,’ but I say, ‘Beware of the Ass Trainer!’ We might actually have to do some work!”

     

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  • All Turnouts Must End

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    The Lucky Three mules willingly come off the grass pasture at any time of the day that they are beckoned. This is the result of routine management, humane training practices and an ample reward system. Not one equine here is herd-bound as we have become as good friends with them as their equine buddies!

  • 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!

    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.

  • Roll Continues To Improve

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    When Rock and Roll came to me in 2010, they were both in dire straits. We were able to keep both of them sound from December 2010 to December 2011 and although Rock had a shattered hip, with our core strength postural training exercises, he only needed Bute 3 times during that year for a five-day stretch. Roll was able to graduate from the postural leading training to lunging in the round pen and later ground driving. He met his final goal of being ridden around the hayfield, but had a set-back with White Line Disease in his left hind foot that began in January 2016. Roll is now 23 years old and the White Line Disease is practically all grown out now.

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  • 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.

    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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