for us on Facebook and Twitter.
Join the fun!
Follow Lucky Three
Ranch on Twitter and get the lowdown on what's
up!And be part of the
Longears community-share your thoughts with
Meredith on Facebook. Be sure to click "like" to
join both the Lucky Three Ranch and the Meredith
Hodges fan pages. _____Check out our
foreign translations of the Equus
Revisited DVD and manual.
is also excited to announce his new Scene Maker
Game in Just For Kids, on his website at www.JasperTheMule.com. This
game can not only give you wonderful coloring book
or story pages-it also tests your skills as a
longears competitor in Barrel Racing, English and
Western Pleasure, Jumping and
are excited to announce the arrival of Jasper the
Mule'snew sequel DVD, Jasper: A Christmas
Caper. This time, Jasper and the gang make
some great new friends, solve a real mystery and
get to be in the big Christmas Parade! This is a
"must-have" for getting the whole family into the
Christmas spirit, or as a special gift for under
the tree. Order your set online at luckythreeranch.com._________________
wants to send out a big "Wahoo!" to McClintock's
Saddlery in Descanso, California, and to Pierre's
Costumes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for making
him a new pair of wooly chaps and a 10-gallon hat!
for a gift for the kids that's wholesome, positive
and fun? The Jasper the Mule books series offers
five delightful tales of adventure; each designed
to help develop young minds and build character.
These stories, beautifully illustrated by Bonnie
Shields, educate as they entertain. Meredith has
included some challenging vocabulary words and a
detailed glossary in each book.
also peppered in information about proper equine
training and care. And she's made sure that each
book gives kids something they can take out into
the world with them: a lesson about love and
friendship and encouragement to always do your
best. A book for every season and made to last for
generations, the Jasper the Mule book and
DVD series is sure to make you and your child
now-yours to own on DVD! Jasper: The Story
of a Mule, Jasper Goes to Bishop, and
Jasper: A Christmas Caper. State-of-the-art
animation, exciting stories, unforgettable music
and Jasper! What a combination! What a great
Christmas gift idea! And coming in time for
Valentine's day - Jasper: A Precious
Cady Ness-Smith and Seymour were
so honored to be chosen for the World Equestrian
Games They were there Sept 29-Oct 2, and were on
the schedule for the Equine Village arena each day
for the BLM.
Seymour was a huge hit with the crowd,
especially spectators from other
countries. Seymour is a 13-year-old Jack
adopted by Cady from the BLM 11 years ago.
He rides and drives, and he has spent the past six
years competing against horses in carriage
driving, combined driving, and distance
driving. He loves driven dressage and
can't believe we are at year's end already! Time
flies when you're having fun. Actually, I think
the older we get, the faster time goes by. The
great thing is that, no matter how old you are,
your mules and donkeys will continue to love
you. They don't seem to care about
had a wonderful four days at the World
Equestrian Games! There is no doubt that we saw
some beautiful equines and incredible horsemen!
The night that we arrived, we met up with
interviewer Wayne Williams from the TV show
Speaking of Horses, airing on satellite. The
next day, he interviewed Leah Patton, registrar
of the American Donkey & Mule Society, and
me. We witnessed truly gorgeous and impeccable
dressage driving with four-in-hand and the
incredible show jumping finals.
Saturday afternoon at Equifest in downtown
Lexington, Leah and I were invited to have a
booth and do a presentation about donkeys and
mules. Bob and Jenny Arnold of Frankfort,
Kentucky, donated their 16hh Mammoth jennet,
Remedy, for the exhibition, and she did an
extraordinary job of representing her
Sunday, it was back to the farm to catch up
on everything after being gone for four straight
days. That is always a BIG "not-so-surprise,"
and it took me a good week just to get caught up
on the office work. You think it is a chore
to go to the dentist yourself...well, try having
dental appointments for 29 equines! After
several weeks, we finally got through all the
equine dental work.
is truly amazing that we can even get it done
when you realize how much time and effort it
takes. It's just a good thing we only have to do
it every other year. I helped with so much
"dental work" on the equines that I was
compelled to cancel my own dental
appointment and reschedule in
you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Question: My four-year-old
donkey bites and nips. I have tried everything!
I tried smacking him and saying, "No." I have
tried spraying him with water and saying, "No."
He doesn't run away. He keeps going at us! He
already bit a big chunk off my brother and I
don't want my friends to be afraid of him. He's
just so stubborn! Any suggestions?
Answer: This donkey sounds
as if he needs VERY SPECIFIC ground manners.
Contrary to popular belief, feeding a reward for
doing things correctly does not encourage biting
and can actually prevent it when executed
correctly. I have described the approach below.
Just remember that he should be given a treat of
crimped oats -and that is what he should be
getting fed and not horse feeds, as they will
promote biting, too-and only when he completes a
he becomes aggressive about getting his oats
reward, you will need to use negative
reinforcement to correct this. Limiting
behaviors, or negative reinforcement, is covered
in DVD #2 of our resistance-free DVD training
series. If your equine gets too close or pushy,
you should slap him firmly on the side of the
mouth with a flat hand, say, "No" very loudly,
and turn your hand over and up like a stop sign.
Then he will step back, fling his head sideways
and back, at which point you should tell him,
"Good, Boy (or Girl)" and give him a reward for
giving you your space. The next time, you should
only have to put your hand up and say, "No!" The
animal should then be willing to back up for the
reward when you put your hand up like a stop
sign, but you still need to be very meticulous
and consistent about when the reward is given
and when correction is truly needed. Equines who
receive the crimped oats rewards will also learn
to be very careful about biting fingers while
taking things from your hand. Animals that don't
get this kind of practice may not be as
Thank you again for
letting us visit your wonderful ranch. We both
enjoyed it very much and were excited to learn
about the gift you have to offer your equines,
as well as being able to educate and inform us
folks in such a friendly, knowledgeable manner.
Hope to visit you again.
turns to winter, and our thoughts turn
Greetings from Texas, where the
temperature and weather are never
predictable. One day it's in the high 80s,
the next, we won't see 37 for a high. This makes
for some miserable humans with colds, allergies,
and never knowing when you'll need a coat,
mittens, long underwear or shorts!
animals don't seem to be as bothered by all of
the changes as we are, but occasionally you will
see a donkey, mule or horse that has true
allergies. Itching, hives, runny nose, watery eyes: these can
be symptoms of an equine with allergies, or, in
some cases, of a sick animal. It's important to
try and see which it might be!
switched hay types or suppliers? If you pick up
a flake of hay and shake it, is it dusty?
Does it smell clean and fresh or sour? Is the
center of the bale still bright, or is the hay
all drab and colorless? How is it
stored? How do you feed it to your mules?
You'll find as many suggestions as there
are owners when it comes to feeding. Some prefer
hay racks, some feed off the ground, some use
rubber tubs. A head-down eating position is
normal for equines (think grazing), but feeding
in a rack helps prevent waste. Racks can
be the cause of some "allergy" symptoms in mules
or donkeys, if the bits of chaff fall down into
their eyes. If your animal has a hay
dust-covered face, you might want to reconsider
the height or type of hayrack used.
be sure and evaluate your pastures, even in
wintertime. What kind of grass and weeds
are still above ground? Do you have more
weed than grass? Can you even identify some of
the plants? There are dangerous plants that
can cause injury to equines in small
amounts. These often take over pastures
that are stripped and over-grazed. Looking at
the condition of your pasture all year round can
help you make a decision as to
maintenance. Re-seeding is often necessary,
as is pasture rotation.
If you are in a
climate where there is going to be wet snow
covering your pasture a good portion of the
winter, make sure your mules and donkeys have
access to a dry area, such as a barn. Blankets
may not always be necessary, but relief from the
cold and wet are! Make sure you don't have
soggy hooves from standing in wet for days on
Before the weather gets really bad,
do a once-over on your fence lines, and
especially in shelters and stalls. Make certain
that the roof is sound and not leaking, or has
loose shingles/boards. All boards should be
solid, not loose. A loose board is an
accident waiting to happen with
equines. Run a hand over areas where nails
or screws are used and make sure there aren't
any protruding. A few minutes of
preventative care will save you the heartache
and money involved in an emergency vet visit if
(or when) your animal is injured.
Everyone stay warm and safe and have a
happy holiday season!
The Am. Donkey & Mule
Soc. PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067
(972) 219-0781. Newsletter: the BRAYER magazine,
112 pgs 6X/yr, $23 US, $30 Canada, $45 overseas.
We now accept Paypal, Visa/MC (+$1
courtesy fee appreciated). Reg info, forms, fees
on our website at www.lovelongears.com.
I am gonna pick it up from September. The
weekend after Labor Day is Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise,
Oregon and my usual helper/change-maker/slave,
Cheryl Mundee, and the fierce Elizabeth, the
bodyguard, accompanied me again this
year. This is steadily growing into a fine
show with good mules and jackstock and events
for just about everyone through the whole
weekend. Mine was topped off by winning the
game where squares are sold off on a grid and
you try to pick the square the mule dumps
on. I DID IT! It was "clean-livin"
that did it, as I was about the last one to buy
a square and there were only three left
unclaimed. Not exactly like winning the
lottery, but just as much fun.
next adventure was the big draft horse/mule show
held right there in Sandpoint, Idaho, the
INTERNATIONAL. Once again, Cheryl came up
to help me with all the cash (?) and the crowds.
I have had a booth at this show since I hit
Sandpoint some 30 years ago, and I get to do
their shirt designs and lots of other souvenirs
of the event. It is a good opportunity for
the locals to see just what it is that I do all
year long-or so they tell me.
week after that show, north Idaho was hit with
one of those gorgeous fall days full of warm
sunshine and blue sky. I just couldn't stand it.
I HAD to ride my mule, Porter. So I saddled up,
but noticed my old friend wasn't looking all
that good, though he was, otherwise, his usual
self, so off we set for a stroll over to the
local general store for lunch.
a mile from our destination, we were stopped in
the road by a fella in a pickup, and he wanted
me to know he had just seen a sow black bear and
two cubs in an apple tree by the road about a
quarter-mile further. I know he expected this
old lady on this mule to turn around and
retreat, but I knew my mule and I was pretty
shure that bear had been disturbed enough by now
that she and the kids were long gone. So
Mr. Porter and I pushed on until he got wind of
BEAR! I could see the tree by now, and for
shure there were no bears in sight, but Porter
was not that easy to convince. I had to switch
him about every 10 feet, as he would stop and
"blow," and peer up into the forest. But,
true to his nature, he did what I was asking and
I assured him I would protect him in all things,
and we finally got past the "zone of
death." When we got to the Pack River General
Store, we had a tale to tell, while I chomped
down on one of their incredible sandwiches and
Porter enjoyed a candy bar and lots of pets from
his fans. The trip home went without a hitch
and, as I pulled his saddle off, I made a note
to call his doctor for a check-up.
make this story as spare as possible, the news
was very bad. Porter was in serious heart
failure and he was now quickly going downhill
right before our eyes. I had taken my last
ride with my great old friend of twenty
years. Another long and hard north Idaho
winter was staring us in the face, and the only
kind thing I could do for him now was not make
him endure any more hardship. We put him
down the Friday before Thanksgiving and the day
after the deed, north Idaho got hit with
sub-zero temps and 40 mph winds out of the
Arctic. God was looking out for his special
shed a lot of tears, but they were for me. I
know Porter is hock-deep in green grass and
sunshine now. You were loved and trusted by
everyone you met, Mr. Porter. You were a
credit to your fellow mules and the best friend
I could have ever had.
I am on my way to Las Vegas and the Cowboy
Christmas show at the Convention Center for
the NFR. I will meet up with my gang of cowboy
cartoonists and we will have our usual grand
time together. Quite innocently, I had
designed and produced a mule "angel" tree
ornament to sell this year. It will not
surprise me to hear a little bell tinkle every
time someone picks one of them up and smiles. It
is one of the wonders of Christmas, my
have a Grand Christmas and hug your mule special
hard for me 'n Porter.