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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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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(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.
Cara Barker Yellott and Phil Yellott
Proud owners of Romulus and Remus
3708 Ovilla Rd.
Red Oak, TX 75154
Our friends at Hearts & Horses, the non-profit therapeutic riding facility located in Loveland, CO, need your support. They have organized a few great events coming up–see below for more information on how you can help, whether you’re in Colorado or beyond!
The Power of the Horse Extravaganza is a rider showcase, open house and concert to support Hearts & Horses and encourage community growth. The event will also include activity booths and delicious local food truck vendors. Hearts & Horses is looking for riders, sponsors and volunteers for this event as well, if you have the time and skills to contribute more.
This day of fun starts at 11:30am on Sunday, September 22, 2013. Find out more information about the event here.
If you can’t make it to the party, you can experience the concert at home by listening to and purchasing the album of songs here. All of these great songs were written especially for this event!
Hearts & Horses’ annual gala is also coming up, and this year the theme is: Lucky Hearts Casino Night. This event will be held on Saturday, October 5, at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology in Loveland. This is a great way to support Hearts & Horses while also having a fun night out. For more information on this event, and to purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or donate any items to the silent auction, click here.
There’s a lot of construction going on at the ranch, but Spuds and Augie sense the opportunity for adventure!
“Hey, Spuds, what’s with all this junk? It looks a little iffy to me!”
“Just chill, Augie! It’s just another great adventure…no sweat!”
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We were sorry to hear about longtime mule skinner Buddie Stockwell. We appreciate all the work that Buddy put into mules in Colorado with the Rocky Mountain Longears Association. Here is one of my favorite stories about Buddy.
In the fall of 1984, Loveland, Colorado muleskinner Buddie Stockwell and horseshoer Jerry Banks, along with a few friends, decided to make a hunting trip into the Rocky Mountains. Packing in, the weather was beautiful with warm temperatures, calm breeze, and nary a hint of what was to come. After setting up camp and tending to their horses and mules, the hunters went about the business of tracking elk. Hunting was good, but after a few days, one evening brought with it an unpredictable storm of incredible severity. The hunters awoke the following morning to find their camp buried in four feet or more of snow, and with no chance of the storm lifting.
Quickly, the hunters packed up what they could on the horses and mules; tents and a lot of gear had to be left behind since time was of the essence. As they left the campsite, snow deepened and the terrain underneath was steep, rocky, and treacherous. They had only gone a short distance when the snow became so deep, and the terrain so hazardous that the horses refused to go one step farther–the horses would not blaze the trail out! Anxiety was high and the hunters were fearful of never making if off the mountain.
In the face of great danger, Buddie asked his trusted mule, Goliath, to break trail for the others, and with slow, careful, deliberate steps, Goliath led them all safely down the mountain to their trucks and trailers, which were also buried in snow. In bitter cold, they freed the vehicles, loaded them up, and made their way back to the lowlands to safety. The storms on the mountain worsened, and it was spring before Jerry and Buddie could return for the rest of their gear–but both men and their friends were grateful to Goliath for leading them down the mountain to safety.
It’s summer time, and there are tons of adventures to be had for two mini donkeys on a bustling ranch like Lucky Three. Today, Spuds and Augie explore the hay field with Meredith and test their bravery against a fearsome, loud machine.
The following is a very special announcement from our friends at Windy Ridge Farm. To view more mules and donkeys for sale or to post your own, please visit our classifieds section.
Dear Fellow Mammoth Jack Stock Breeders,
It is not without sadness that we write to inform you that we are starting the search for a very special home for our small select herd of dual registered Mammoth donkeys.
While the Windy Ridge Donkeys numbered some 30 – 40 head at one time, we have been slowly undergoing a herd reduction over the past decade. Now our population numbers eleven donkeys with another jennet left to foal during early July. Most recently we have come through a very long, hard winter and are glad to see spring! At this time of writing all donkeys are out and enjoying themselves in sunny outdoor pastures.
As we age (Carl 78 and myself 69), we do not wish to keep animals that we may not be able to care for properly. Therefore we invite you to view the Windy Ridge Donkeys on our web site which will be revised and updated in June/July 2013: www.windyridgedonkeys.co.nr and write or telephone us with any questions you may have. Should you not have access to the website, then let us know and we will send descriptions of the donkeys. Photos of both foals should be on the website by August 2013.
Our herd is the product of over forty years of work in the donkey breeding business. Since we purchased our first Mammoth jennet in 1979, Mammoths have figured prominently in our breeding program. The remaining small breeding herd, (Blackhawk and six jennets), are all registered in Canada (CLRC) and USA (ADMS), and are all DNA tested and on file with Dr. Gus Cothran at Texas A & M as part of a study on Mammoth stock (contact Dr.Cothran at: (979) 845-0229 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), and have also been sent to ADMS.
These donkeys may be sold individually or in a package such as Blackhawk and 2-3 jennets or young stock for example. Note that we believe this herd is best used to outcross the Black Bart bloodlines which is the step we have started in using Blackhawk, on Bart daughters, and granddaughters. Blackhawk offspring may cross well with your current jack if you are looking for athletic working bloodlines. Extended pedigree information to 5 to 7 generations is available for each animal because registration papers often only have space for 4 to 5 generations.
We request that only serious inquiries be made from either yourself or those to whom you may pass this letter. We would hope such people would desire to conserve these special top performance bloodlines and faithfully believe in registration to document same. We believe it is our duty to find the donkeys the best home possible where they will be well cared for and trained to reach their full potential.
Therefore we ask that you provide the following information to help us know you better and make the right decisions:
#1- Please explain the reason you wish to purchase any of our donkeys, and how these bloodlines might fit into your breeding program.
#2- What are your current goals in breeding mammoth donkeys ?
#3- Of what importance is registration to your breeding program?
#4- Explain your breeding program, e.g. How often do you expect foals from your jennets (every year, every second year etc.) and why do you choose to breed this way? Do you use pasture breeding, live cover (in hand breeding), or equine A.I. and why did you choose this method ?
#5- How do you utilize a qualified equine reproduction vet in your breeding program ?
#6- Do you foal out under supervision or allow jennets to foal outside alone ?
#7- At what age do you wean foals?
#8- When weaned, what type of “kindergarten”(early) training / handling have they received ?
#9- Describe your facilities (shelter, water, paddocks, barn etc.) for keeping Mammoth donkeys in summer and in winter.
#10- Please add any further information that you feel would help us know you better, and appreciate your care and conservation of this rare breed of donkey.
By initiating this search we hope to find a like minded breeder to continue the dream of producing quality athletic Mammoth Jack Stock and saddle mule jacks. This will not be a hasty decision, nor will these donkeys be sold at public auction.
In the mean time we expect to foal out the two bred jennets : Windy Ridge Bart’s Betsy already foaled a healthy, superb 36’’ tall 80 lb. black jennet foal May 5, 2013 and Windy Ridge Cinnamon is due to foal July 8 to 14, 2013. We will also use Windy Ridge Eagle’s Blackhawk this summer to breed Windy Ridge Bart’s Babydoll, Windy Ridge Marcela, Windy Ridge Red Rose and Windy Ridge Millicent. The latter two are older jennets whom we have been watching carefully and Millicent has already been covered on a good, strong heat the last week of May.
If necessary, we may consider the recent offer of an option to stand Blackhawk for equine AI of jennets or mares at a new stallion station due to open in the area next year. And it is possible that we may decide to keep a couple of donkeys back for ourselves.
When the decision to sell has been made, registration papers will be transferred, and extended pedigrees provided as well as individual health records etc. to the new owner according to the sales agreement.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Carl & Sybil Sewell
Windy Ridge Farm.
Roll has been off for several months during the Christmas season and then during inclement weather throughout the winter and early spring. His physique has maintained its core muscle strength and his good posture continues to be strong. He has maintained this good posture and musculature over these five months on turnout alone. When an animal’s posture is truly changed and improved, he should reach a point where this becomes the norm and his way of standing and moving will reflect that. He no longer requires formal lessons to strengthen the muscles in good posture because he can now do it himself as long as he is given the room to move on a daily basis.
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Mules and donkeys have a way of bringing folks together no matter where you are from. Here are our friends from Criadero Villa Luz in Colombia riding in the Cabalgata feria de las flores parade on their lovely Paso Fino mules, with friends from the British Mule Society. There were 8,333 horses and 1,600 mules in the parade–wow!
“Hey, Augie…watcha doin’?!
“I’m practicing my halter stance…you know, four-square!”
We are very excited to announce that our gorgeous revised edition of Training Mules & Donkeys has won the GOLD medal in the Pets & Animals category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards. We’re very proud of the work we’ve done on the book, and it’s great to see it being recognized. Many congratulations to our hardworking staff and to the longears that inspired the book!
Over the summer of 2012, Roll was doing better than ever. All the lead line work, lunging and ground driving in good posture solidified Roll’s core muscle strength and coordination and he began to hold his good equine posture automatically. What was once difficult and awkward for him has become his normal way of standing and moving, so we finally moved from the round pen work and into the open arena. Roll was happy to be working in a new place. We first walked the hourglass pattern around the cones which was familiar for Roll and he was able to see everything he would encounter on the perimeter of the arena. He stayed smartly in step just as he had done in previous lessons.
Very little has been written about Hinnies–most of the time it is unfavourable comments and myths due to lack of knowledge about them. Until now, very few people have bred Hinnies because of speculation about their size and behavior; they are said to be very small and difficult. Typically a breeder or a farmer may only have one Hinny and several mules; consequently his opinion is based on limited experience.
A Hinny is a domestic equine hybrid that is the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey. It is similar to the more common mule, which is the product of a female horse and a male donkey.
Most of the times Hinnies are the result of an accident, which is why they are less common than mules and there is a lack of information about them.
At our Stud Farm, Villa Luz, in Colombia, South America, we have been breeding mules and donkeys for more than fifteen years. There has been a big demand for our Paso Fino male donkeys (Jacks) to produce gaited mules through the years. But we were left with many female donkeys (Jennies), and nobody would buy them to produce mules even though they have the same good genetics and Paso Fino gait of their brothers. So we thought, let’s breed Hinnies–and the project began! This was twenty months ago.
First we selected twelve of our beautiful female donkeys (Jennies), 13 hands height average, with good womb and physical conformation. Then we needed a horse, so we bought a three and a half year old Paso Fino stallion and called him Romero. He is 14 hands. But it wasn’t easy; he didn’t like the Jennies to start with. This is normal, as horses prefer mares and donkeys prefer Jennies. But with much patience and after three hours waiting, Romero finally went for his first Jenny. Now he loves his harem of twelve, four of which have given birth to beautiful Hinnies and six are pregnant! So we expect to have at least ten Hinnies at the end of this year.
Hinnies are thought to be smaller because female donkeys are, for the most part, smaller than mares, but like mules, Hinnies come in many size–it depends on the size of their dam and also the sire.
Female donkeys range from miniatures to Mammoth Jennies that may be over 15 hands at the withers. At Villa Luz farm the Jennies are 13 hands average and the horse stallion is 14 hands so we are expecting the Hinnies to grow around 14 hands in height.
We now have four Hinnies, two females and two males: Romance, Romancera, Ronaldo and Rosarito. They are seven, six, five and four months old respectively. Their mothers had good deliveries without any problems.
The pregnancy time differed a little; Romance was born after 12 months, Romancera after 12 months 21 days, Ronaldo after 11 months 19 days and Rosarito after 12 months and 23 days. The pregnancies of Jennies are normally longer than mares.
We do the imprinting process as soon as they are born; it allows us to mould their personality and make them friendly and well-trained adult Hinnies!
It is said that Hinnies often have shorter ears, although they are still longer than those of horses, and more horse-like manes and tails than mules. Well, our Hinnies certainly have the ear shape of their sire–they are beautifully pointed at the top just like his, but bigger. Up until now the behavior and characteristics of our Hinnies don’t differ much from the mules, they are lovely animals. It is our goal to study Hinnies and help to understand them better.
The good news is, the Paso Fino gait has passed to the Hinnies! This gait is natural and we have seen it in our baby Hinnies shortly after birth! Paso Fino is a lateral gait, four beat footfall, which provides a constant, rhythmic cadence. The rider should not experience any bumping or jolting. They say you can carry a tray with a glass of champagne on a Paso Fino equine as they are so smooth!!
We don’t know if they got the Paso Fino gait from the sire or the dam because both have it, but we certainly will have Paso Fino Hinnies! Very smooth, intelligent and well behaved!
An article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail reports that one-third of recreational riders are too obese for their equines, putting the animals at risk for health problems including lameness and back pain, citing a study from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
This is a big issue for equine health, as an equine expected to carry a rider that is too heavy for him can cause both physical and behavioral problems. Rules like “the rider’s weight should be 10% of the equine’s” are often used as a general guideline, but are by no means absolute–there are many other factors to consider. Below, Meredith offers her advice in how to choose the correct equine for the rider.
The maximum weight a horse or mule can carry will depend on a lot of variables. Mules and donkeys can carry proportionately more weight than a horse of the same size, because of the unique muscle structure of the animal. However, you do need to be careful about making broad generalizations. Obviously, an equine that has not been conditioned properly will not be able to efficiently carry as much weight as one who has been conditioned properly, so it is all relative to the situation. Also, the rider with better balance and riding ability is going to be easier for the equine to carry than one who is not balanced regardless of the difference in actual weight. The size of the equine and the proportion of the equine to the rider will also affect balance and carrying ability.
The amount of weight an equine can comfortably carry or pull depends on many things, beginning with the animal’s overall fitness. If he is fit, he will be able to carry more than those who are not, but conformational abnormalities will also have an effect. If he has any deviations in his bone structure (i.e. crooked legs), it can compromise how he moves and put undue stress on certain areas depending on the defect. The easiest way to test for weight tolerance is to watch the way the animal moves. If he is halted and seems to be have difficulty moving, the weight is obviously too heavy. If he is unable to trot, or is resistant to trotting, the weight is too heavy. This would be the same in harness. If he cannot move freely, the load is too heavy. So, it’s not just a matter of how old he is, but rather how he is conformed and how fit he is at any given stage of training and the weight and ability of the rider that will dictate how much he can carry, or pull. Be careful about generalizations, because there are always hidden variables to be considered.
For instance, it is commonly believed that an equine should be able to carry 10% of his weight. But if a 2000 lb. animal is carrying the 200 pounds over a back that has not been physically developed correctly, it could be very difficult for him. If he possesses more strength over his topline and through the croup, then he may actually be able to carry more than 10% of his body weight. Any additional weight (as with saddle bags) also needs to be considered. If he is weak over the topline and in his back, then he shouldn’t be carrying even a 150 lb. person, much less anything behind the saddle. The weight does need to be placed and balanced over the bearing areas and the shoulder and hips do need to be kept clear for optimum movement. Anchoring the saddle with a crupper is always a good idea to keep loads from shifting and placement and security of the foundation tack to which you secure all these things needs to be assessed as well. When you add weight to the saddle, check to see if the girth you are using is adequate to keep the saddle in place without rubbing sores on your animal’s body.
You can read more about these studies in this MSN article.
We love seeing people with great relationships with their equines, and here’s a thrilling example of what training and teamwork can really accomplish. Ray Woodside and his mule, Willie, made a great showing in the Extreme Cowboy Race at the Washington State Horse Expo–check out the video below, and thanks to Jehnet for passing it along!