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Oppose BLM’s Ill-Conceived Plan to Ship Burros to Guatemala

The following is a post from the American Wild Horse Preservation.

Digital StillCameraThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning to send 100 federally protected wild burros to Guatemala as “working” animals. The BLM knows that shipping 100 burros will not make a dent in the problem it has created by stockpiling nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities. But the agency is looking at this as a “pilot program,” which could open the pipeline for the shipment of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros to foreign lands.

Working horses, donkeys and mules often suffer from exhaustion, dehydration, malnutrition, and abuse as a result of excessive workloads and limited animal health services in developing countries.

Now is the time to tell Congress and the BLM that this ill-conceived plan must be immediately scrapped. The BLM should not be in the business of shipping our cherished burros (or wild horses) to foreign countries where the welfare and fate of these animals cannot be ensured. Please be sure to share this alert with friends and family — our opposition must be so loud and strong that the BLM cannot ignore us!

Please take action by submitting a letter to your congressional representative by clicking here!

Roll’s Summer Workout

Roll and I finally got some time to begin warm up exercises after a whole year off. I was pleasantly surprised to find him much stronger in his new posture than I thought he would be after so much time away from his exercises. All he did for the past year was regular maintenance, turnout, massages and farrier work. It seems that after three years of posture training prior to last year, it has become his normal way of moving and has sustained his good condition with only turnout for exercise.

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TMDEU—Apply Now!

EQUINE_U_OFFICIAL_SEAL_webTime to start making plans for your fall, your spring and the rest of your career—the application deadline for the upcoming 2014/2015 school year at TMD Equine University is July 15!

TMD Equine University is an online certificate course that gives a comprehensive overview of Meredith Hodges’ training and care methods for equines, as well as giving students a foundation of what it takes to work in the equine industry. This unique combination shows you how to manage, care for and understand all breeds of equine, from foal to senior.

IMG_9881The course also includes a special Immersion Clinic for students to get some hands-experience on site at the Lucky Three Ranch in Loveland, Colorado.  This five-day clinic will take place in the summer following the completion of TMDEU’s academic program, and will allow students to work with and participate in the care of the Lucky Three animals and learn about the maintenance procedure of the ranch. Students will have one-on-one time with Meredith Hodges as well as working in groups, and will benefit from the experience of partnering with animals in varying stages of training for hands-on work, including horses, mules and donkeys.

The school is accredited by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools, but classes can be taken from anywhere with an internet connection, on your own schedule. Find out more about the school here and remember to complete your applications by July 15.

Cyclone’s Sarcoid Surgery

image001Even though I know how well trained my equines are, they never cease to amaze me! I can be dog tired and know that this is the day they must be groomed, wormed and vaccinated…all thirty of them! The very thought is quite literally exhausting on occasion. Though my staff helps with maintenance doctoring what are now mostly older and geriatric individuals, I still basically train and manage all my equines by myself. When I am tired and a job must be done, I am repeatedly reminded of how well I have done with all of them. All the worry and stress about having to go out and work is washed away the minute I get out to the barn with their never ending affection, interactive neighs and brays and ultimate compliance. Continue Reading »

Horse Tales for the Funny Bone

horse tales for the funny bone coverMeredith is pleased to have contributed an anecdote to the first edition of a new book series featuring humorous, equine-related stories called Horse Tales for the Funny Bone, Volume 1. The tales were collected by Bonnie Marlewski-Probert at Whitehall Publishing, who also put together the Horse Tales for the Soul series. Horse Tales for the Funny Bone features stories about all breeds, all styles of riding, and all age groups—60 in all. This book is sure to brighten your day and put a smile on your face, and makes the perfect gift for all the equine lovers in your life! Also, the book will be used to help fundraising efforts for therapeutic riding centers. Get your own copy of Horse Tales for the Funny Bone, Volume 1, here!

May is Burro Awareness Month

The following is post from the American Wild Horse Preservation.

800px-Wild_BurrosBurros are amazing, hardy animals who manage to survive under the harshest conditions. Sadly, just like their wild horse cousins, they cling to a tenuous existence on our public lands due to a shrinking habitat and a federal management program that rounds them up and removes them from their homes on the range.

In celebration of burros, the American Wild Horse Preservation has declared May as “Burro Awareness Month.” They’ll be featuring burros and interesting facts about them in their enewsletter and on their Facebook page.

To kick off Burro Awareness month, AWHPC is asking you to share any photos, videos or personal stories you have regarding burros. You can email them or post them on their Facebook Page. Meanwhile, visit their Burro Awareness Webpage to learn more about the steadfast and intriguing burros of the American West.

Spuds and Augie in Sync

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“Hey, we haven’t seen you guys in a while! How have you been?! We get to go for another adventure with Meredith today!”

“What do you suppose she has in mind for us today, Spuds?”

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The Mule Whisperer

MerMuleWhisperer_CCI have been called “the Mule Whisperer,” but I must admit that the mules have been whispering right back at me for over forty years now! Mules have taught me practically everything I know about training equines and for that, I am eternally grateful…and so are the people and their equines who learn from me! I am so proud of my fans and the successful accomplishments they’ve had with their equines! Thank you all for your kind updates and correspondence! Keep up the great work!

Fun in the Sun—er, Snow… with Roll

So what do you do together when it’s snowing outside? Roll looked like he was wearing SNOW boots when he first came into the tack barn. So, first we had to remove all of the icicles, but I had to be very careful because they don’t exactly come off easily. Roll let me know when I tugged too hard on the shedding blade and suggested that I warm them with my hand before I pulled! Good plan!

 

 

By the time I got to the back end, they had all melted!

We then decided to mess around with halters. Roll much prefers the fit and action of his nylon halter…and, it’s comfortable to wear!

The snugger fit allows him to feel the tug on the halter almost immediately and he can then comply promptly and without fear of reprisal. His ears indicate he is concentrating on stepping back with the slightest indication.

The fit and action on a rope halter is much different and it takes Roll a minute to figure out what I am asking. Note his questioning and confused look!

The halter puts uneven pressure across Roll’s face and he doesn’t seem to be confident about what to do…” Would you like me to stretch or just take a step forward?”

Because we have worked solely in the nylon halter except for the demonstration with the rope halter, he is happy to stand quietly and wait for me…no pain, no fear!

Even when we were interrupted by a loud noise, Roll remained engaged in his stretching activity. We both just turned our heads calmly to the side to see what it was!

…and then we resumed our stretching exercise in a sea of oats!

Making our way back to the paddock, Roll happily matched me stride for stride, staying in balance with good equine posture!

Sad Loss for Longears Industry: Goodbye to Crystal Ward

A professional trainer, judge and animal inspector, Crystal Ward owned the Ass Pen Ranch in Placerville, California, where she raised and trained horse, mules and donkeys. The first year she came to Bishop Mule Days was in 1979. She happened to be coming through Bishop on vacation and it really intrigued her. She thought the mules were simply outstanding. Crystal had a show career with horses, but the following year she decided she had to own a mule. She showed up the next year with a horse trailer in tow, and at that point Bishop Mule Days was still offering an auction. She swiftly bought a mule at the auction and had been coming back ever since.

Her first mule was a wild little critter that didn’t make much progress. So the following year she bought a mule named Skeeter Sea from George Chamberlain, a dealer in mules in Los Alivos, California; the mule was previously owned by Slim Pickens. When Slim Pickens showed up as Grand Marshal in the Bishop Mule Days Parade, he told Crystal, “We used to own that mule.” She showed him with 55 mules in the class and won the Western Pleasure class that year. Although he was nice in the Western Pleasure classes, she couldn’t see owning this mule for the long term due to his generally bad manners. Later, she picked up a mule in Northern Montana and brought him back and started training him…his name was Final Legacy. He was a good honest mule and she kept him for the long haul.

Back in the early ‘80s, Crystal got really interested in riding side saddle, so she joined the International Side Saddle Organization and ultimately rode in the Presidential Inaugural Parade with Final Legacy in 1993, hauling him from California to Washington, DC, in the middle of January. He was a good honest mule and she loved him. She showed him in many classes at Bishop Mule Days over the years…from Western to English, dressage, driving and side saddle.

In more recent years Crystal switched to raising and showing donkeys. She had a variety of donkeys, from miniatures to mammoths. She fully understood that you have to take a different approach when training a donkey and produced training videos with Napa, California, videographer, Video Mike. She truly appreciated a good donkey: “Donkeys are like potato chips—you can’t have just one.”

In our interview in 2009, Crystal told me: “We call them [donkeys] ‘desert canaries,’ but that goes hand-in-hand with donkeys. They do like to talk and it can be loud, but you know I’ll still take a donkey any day. I live with the noise, but then again, I’ll have peacocks, barking dogs and roosters in my backyard. Donkeys are just one more noisy farm animal that I can certainly live with.”

For Crystal, it was always a matter of learning…English, Western, Side Saddle…the whole nine yards! She always performed to the best of her and her mule’s ability and she believed a lot of it was a matter of finding just the right mule!

Crystal enjoyed her interview for my documentary series, Those Magnificent Mules; she appeared in “The Bishop All Stars” episodes. (We have all of these episodes available to watch online.) She said: “We were showing back in the early ‘80s, beating the paths to Bishop Mule Days. The one thing I know about mule and donkey people is that it’s fun competing…nice rivalry. When you come out of a class, your fellow competitors will shake your hand and offer you a bit of encouragement. It’s like family when you show at a mule or donkey show. It’s something you always look forward to until the next time.”

You are so right, Crystal! You will remain in our hearts, forever a part of our longears family… we will miss you!

Augie and Spuds in Sync

“Hey, we haven’t seen you guys in a while! How have you been?! We get to go for another adventure with Meredith today!”

“What do you suppose she has in mind for us today, Spuds?”
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John Henry: Rocking Mule

My good friend, Tennessee mule artist Bonnie Shields, recently introduced me to sculptor Dennis Page from the Rocking Horse Ranch in Riverton, Utah. Dennis is working on a hand-carved “rocking mule” that is modeled after Bonnie’s ceramic sculpture of Kathleen Conklin’s Champion Driving mule, John Henry. I am so impressed with Dennis’s work that I decided to purchase the wood-sculpted rocker. What an amazing addition it will be to the Loveland Longears Museum and Sculpture Park here at Lucky Three Ranch!

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Jasper: A Christmas Caper on Rural TV

Jasper the Mule stops by your TV screen once again this Christmas! Celebrate Christmas with Jasper and all his friends as Jasper: A Christmas Caper airs on Rural TV (Dishnet Channel 232) on Christmas Eve.

It’s the Christmas season and Jasper and his human family are in high spirits as they travel to visit far-away friends a few towns over. When Jasper and his pal, Moxie the dog, get out of the yard and wander down a strange alley, the two friends are headed straight for one big adventure!

Presents disappear, mysterious strangers appear and friends go missing. But junior detectives Jasper and Moxie are on the case. With the clock ticking, Jasper has to use his “mule smarts” to tackle this puzzle of a mystery and put the pieces together before the big parade. But will he solve the mystery in time?

Airing on Rural TV (Channel 232 on Dish Network or check your local listings).

Tuesday, December 24 at 7pm and 11pm ET (4pm and 8pm PT)

If you don’t get Rural TV or miss the airings, all Jasper episodes are also available for rental on demand.

Colorado Gives Day – Hearts and Horses

Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. On this one day–Tuesday, December 10, 2013–Coloradans will come together to raise millions of dollars for nonprofits. Last year, $15.7 million was donated. Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day has taken place during a 24-hour period each winter since 2010. Donations are accepted through the website ColoradoGives.org, with a goal to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting local nonprofits.

This is Hearts and Horses’ first year as part of Colorado Gives Day and their goal is to raise at least $10K for their amazing programs.

Why contribute through Colorado Gives Day? There are no fees, so 100% of your donation goes to Hearts and Horses. Donations of $10 and above are accepted, empowering MANY to participate. Hearts and Horses will also be vying for thousands of additional dollars to be awarded to Larimer County non-profits based upon unique donors, social shares, and dollars raised. This prize program is available in addition to the statewide Incentive Funds and exclusive to the 94 participating organizations in their region.

And this year, Meredith Hodges will match dollar for dollar all funds raised for Hearts and Horses on Colorado Gives Day, to continue helping them attain the resources necessary to become one of the premier therapeutic riding programs in the country.

Click here to schedule your donation to Hearts and Horses, or bookmark the link to donate on Tuesday!

Jasper: A Turkey Tale on Rural TV

Jasper the Mule returns to your TV screen this holiday season! Celebrate Thanksgiving with Jasper and all his friends as Jasper: A Turkey Tale airs on Rural TV (Dishnet Channel 232) this week.

As the gang prepares for the big Thanksgiving celebration, Jasper the Mule and his pal, Moxie the Dog, are hot on the trail of adventure! A mishap with a truckload of turkeys turns into a real live mystery, as the boys solve the case of “The Beady Eyes in the Bushes!”

When they make a new friend who is lost and alone, Jasper’s mule-y sense of loyalty kicks in and he is determined to help, no matter what. Will Jasper and Moxie save the day? Will their new friend find his “forever home?” All the fun and warmth of Thanksgiving come to life in Jasper: A Turkey Tale.

Airing on Rural TV (Channel 232 on Dish Network or check your local listings)

  • Monday, November 25 at 7pm ET
  • Wednesday, November 27 at 7pm and 11pm ET

If you don’t get Rural TV or miss the airings, all Jasper episodes are also available for rental on demand.

Goodbye to Homer

Our hearts go out to Connie Bartels for the loss of her beloved Homer, longtime friend and loyal companion. He will be missed.

“Sunday when we rode while I was taking his tack off I was talking to him telling him what a good boy he is and what a good ride we had. Then I hugged him tightly as I always do….he knew me, and he liked me a lot. To think that I will never ride him again is heart wrenching to me. He was my good friend and buddy…..and I would never find another Homer. I am very sad today, but I am thankful for the many years we were friends. Only mule people would understand this.”

-Connie

Roll Rehab: Back in the Saddle Again

 


Roll continues to be a happy camper and always looks forward to any time he can spend with us outside of his pen and pasture areas. It has been several months since he has been worked because we have been busy with construction all summer, however, the core muscle, good posture training that he had for the past three years has drastically changed his overall health.

 

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Modern Day Mule Train

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, artist Lauren Bon, in collaboration with Metabolic Studio and the LA Department of Water and Power, is retracing the steps of the aqueduct’s original construction, from Owens Valley to LA–with a 100 mule pack train. Their journey started on October 18, and the convoy is expected to arrive at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Griffith Park on November 11, with stops along the way at the Lone Pine Rodeo Grounds, Jawbone Canyon, and the Hansen Dam.

Photo from LA's Water Future Facebook page

The mules are being cared for by Jennifer and Lee Roeser, who run the McGee Pack Station in the Eastern Sierra range, and who received the “Most Honored Packers” award at Bishop Mule Days in 2010. They are utilizing one wrangler per 10-mule string, with about 35 people total on the support staff and 10 support vehicles to supply the mules with food, water, gear, and medical care.

The pack train will be passing through three counties and over 50 California communities before reaching their final destination. It’s appropriate that this project will be sharing and celebrating mules’ contributions to the country, especially in anticipation of Mule Appreciation Day on October 26.

For more information, check out the LA Times article about the project.

Spuds and Augie Get “Tired”

Mini donkeys Spuds and Augie are always up for a new challenge–like adding a new element to their round pen workout routine!


“Hey, Spuds! What do you think she has in mind to do today with all these straps?”
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Romulus and Remus, a big pair of asses…

(Equus africanus asinus, to be exact!)

This is a special entry by Phil Yellott, owner of Romulus, who has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Donkey.

Cara and I wanted to get a couple of donkeys for guard animals. We saw a couple of mammoth donkeys on Craigslist, who were very skinny and underfed. We contacted the owner, and were able to negotiate a price so we could get them. We named them Romulus and Remus after the legendary founders of the Roman empire. Romulus is 9 years old, and his little brother Remus is 7.

The two brothers are very close, most of the time it is like having one donkey with eight feet! We love them very much. We have been working very hard to get them healthy. We contacted the American Donkey and Mule Society (ADMS) about whether they were registered, and were told that if they were as tall as we thought, that they might be a candidate for the world’s tallest donkey. After researching the record, we saw that Oklahoma Sam was 15.3, and it seemed like Romulus was a good bit taller than that.

At about 3:30 PM on Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 4C Stables, Dr. Valerie Jaffe, D.V.M., measured Romulus three times, each time finding his height to be 17 hands, or 68 inches tall. This is 172.72 centimeters in height.

His brother Remus was also measured, and he was measured at 16.2 hands, 66” in height.

If you would like to have them at your event, please contact us. -Phil

Romulus’s information:
Size: 17 Hands (68 Inches, 172.72 CM)
Weight: about 1200 pounds
Age: 9
Breed: American Mammoth Jackstock

The tallest donkey living is Romulus, a 9-year-old American Mammoth Jackstock, who measured 17 hands (172.72 cm; 5 ft 8 in) tall on 8 February 2013, and is owned by Cara and Phil Yellott of Red Oak, Texas, USA.

Cara Barker Yellott and Phil Yellott
Proud owners of Romulus and Remus
3708 Ovilla Rd.
Red Oak, TX 75154
cara@cbyequestrian.com
phil@yellott.com
Romulus’ Website
Romulus’ Facebook
214-724-8527 (Cara)
903-399-6851 (Phil)

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