April 2011 _________________ 
In This Issue
What's New?
Featured Product
Longears Limelight
Training Tip
From Our Readers
Greetings From ADMS!
Bonnie's Bit
What's New?

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Jasper the... Movie Star!

Jasper's latest animated adventure, "A Precious Valentine," wrapped production and has just been released! Jasper and Moxie are already hard at work on their next big production, "A Turkey Tale," which will be in production throughout the summer, and ready just in time for Thanksgiving!


AND ...  


Mini Monday

We welcomed two new mini residents to Lucky Three Ranch. Meet seven-month-old Spuds & Augie. You can see more photos of our new mini donkeys at www.LuckyThreeRanch.com or on Facebook. These little guys are keeping everyone on their toes!

Featured Product

Fall in Love with Jasper!  

Don't miss Jasper the Mule's latest adventure!  With Special Features like "The Making of 'A Precious Valentine,'" an Interactive Mule Quiz and music from Riders In The Sky, it's perfect for kids of all ages!

When Jasper and his human family head up to Bald Mountain for a picnic to celebrate Valentine's Day, Jasper gets a crash course in love.

The picnic is a special one for Ben and Kylie. Ben has decided to share with Kylie some memories of her mother, who passed away when Kylie was little. As father and daughter bond, the animals are having their own adventures.

Moxie is at it again, heading into the woods for some very messy hijinks. Meanwhile, Jasper discovers a big surprise that changes everything and gives him a true understanding of the holiday - his very own beautiful Valentine mule!

Longears Limelight

Thank you, Fran & Larry Howe of Bennett, Colorado, for thinking of us as a new home for Rock and Roll!
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Meredith Hodges
Dear Friends,

After a VERY cold and somewhat snowy winter, it looks as if spring has finally sprung! The temperatures are getting warmer and small patches of green are beginning to emerge in the pastures. With the warmer temperatures comes melting and MUD! This is a wonderful and the most challenging time to practice your grooming skills.

Mother Nature will help if you let her. Your mules and donkeys will no doubt cover their bodies with dirt and mud. The mud dries in the long hair and, as they roll around on the ground, helps them to shed off their winter coats. So, if you want to make grooming a little easier for yourself and you don't have any shows, you can often let them go a day or two and they will generally remove most of the mud they have on their bodies themselves, leaving only a minimum for you to remove. Just remember to be polite and considerate while grooming. Getting the mud off can be like removing gum from your own hair, so take it easy!

We had a very active winter after taking on two draft mules that were rescued by friends a year ago.On December 5th of 2010, "Rock" (a 17-year-old, 18-hand male with a fractured pelvis) and "Roll" (a 16-year-old, 17-hand male with swelling in the hocks) came to live at Lucky Three Ranch. We are encouraged by the progress we have been able to make since then, especially with Rock, the more severe case of the two. These two boys not only presented a monumental challenge, but, over the course of their therapy, have validated what I already believed to be the most important stage of training-leading training! Rock was unable to lie down when he first came to Lucky Three Ranch. Doing simple leading training exercises over almost four months has developed core muscles on both mules and has given Rock enough strength to finally be able to track more correctly, and to get up and down relatively easily.

After two months of straightforward showmanship training, Roll graduated to simple walk/trot exercises in the round pen, and Rock continues to do more therapeutic leading training through my hourglass pattern, while his teammate Roll is working at walk and trot in the round pen. Many believe that rescues can be ridden despite their deteriorated condition. I caution against this if you want maximum recovery and use. Have patience and take the time to strengthen core muscles first, and things will improve and go faster later. Those equines that have had the benefit of core muscle training will be better able to carry a rider or pull a vehicle, and will have greater longevity. So, enjoy spring with your equine and take your time gearing up for a summer of fun, safe and exciting activities.

Happy Trails!

Meredith Hodges

Training Tip:
Question: My hinny has gnawed on wood in his stall, picked up twigs from branches as thick as my fingers and would start to eat them til I could get them out of his mouth, and this morning ate my sewing yard stick that I used to support a flap of buttle rubber to go across the bottom of his stall door in the winter (because he doesn't like the draft coming in at the bottom of his door). He ate 4 inches and then some of the yard stick. Is this normal behavior or boredom/nervousness, or is he missing something? He has a mineral block as well as regular salt block. Can you help me with this? 

Answer: Mules and donkeys like to chew on trees and other woods no matter what you may try to do. This does not necessarily mean there is a deficiency in their feeding program. It is more of a behavioral thing that they sometimes do out of boredom or natural anxiety. It is much like people who like to smoke or chew gum. The best thing to do is to loosely wrap your trees in chicken wire so your animals do not kill the trees. You can also use chicken wire to line the walls of wooden barns and around posts to discourage chewing. If you have a wooden fence, the best thing to do is to line the inside of a fence with one or two rows of hotwire to keep them from chewing the fences down. It is my experience that there is no product on the market that can be "painted" on to really solve this problem easily. Your mule just needs to have his living quarters adequately protected from the chewing, and he needs a regular routine of exercise (every other day or at least a couple of times a week) so he has activity that he can count on. A well-rounded and healthy lifestyle is the best medicine!

From Our Readers

I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you how much I have enjoyed your "Making History with Mules" series in Western Mule Magazine.  Let me say they have been first class and I hope there is a Part IV on the way.....

Regards,  T. W.

Leah's Corner

Dear Longear Friends:


With all of the things happening around us, we listen to the news, read papers, look at headlines on our computers, hear what our friends are talking about, and so often it all seems negative.


Life is a fragile balance-how lucky we are to be a part of it. Even with natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards and everything else Nature can throw at us, humans manage to survive. More importantly, we take moments even in the worst times to cherish the little things. Foals will be born, flowers will bloom, birds will flit past. 


Our lives are affected by everything happening around the world. We are a vastly interconnected society, not as it was 200 years ago, when communication was by letter post. Think of wagons carrying goods, the rider on horseback (some on muleback), taking missives from families across wilderness. That wilderness has grown to be huge cities.  Though rural areas remain, they are nothing compared to the past of the United States.  The USA has a rich history in equine trade, from the introduction of mules and mustangs, to the creation of a number of equine breeds.


A hundred years ago, the telephone was being used to share news coast to coast. Trains transported goods where mule trains and wagons once rolled. Mule breeding wasn't necessary, and horses as a means of daily transport disappeared: a downturn in the equine community. 


The equine market fluctuates. It has this year as it has in times past, and will again in the future. The price of horses/donkeys/mules (cattle, llama, etc., etc.) will rise and fall as the economy changes. When gas and hay prices rise, horse prices fall. Those prices may have risen, but most of us didn't get a raise in pay to account for it. In the end, something has to cut back. 


We find so many stories of people doing without in order that their animals will be fed.  None of us wants to give up a riding mule, a cherished pet, or any animals we made a promise to of a lifelong home. As long as we can keep that promise to them of a GOOD home, then we'll do all in our power to keep them fed and sheltered. There are rescues that are full up, but there are good rescues and bad ones. If you are taking in animals (or breeding!), make sure you have room to care for them. Is the market good in your area? Think about it before you turn the jack out this spring. If you still have over half your foal crop from last year (or the year before!), you might reconsider breeding this year.   


Most people take joy in the birth of a foal. What color will it be? Filly or colt? Will it take after the dam or the sire? For mule owners, seeing those long ears unfold and listening to the mare whicker to that long-eared creature beside her is priceless. Donkey babies seem to be all huge eyes and ears at birth, and there is truly something magical in seeing that baby come into the world. You want to think that he or she will have a loving home all his life, to live in green pastures, to have friendly people around. It's horrid to reflect on the fact that this might not be the case.  


The internet has become standard for news sharing over the past decades. You can find just about anything from anywhere in the world. That is, of course, if you use caution with search engines and keep your software up to date. Never open emails when you do not know the sender, and be cautious when clicking on ANY links, especially from people you do not know.

You can buy an animal by finding an ad online, arrange for shipment, and have an animal show up at your door. We have become a society that is split along many lines - those who still prefer hard-copy of their books and papers, and those who love their screen and keyboard. Whichever you are, whichever ways the headlines affect you, make sure you do your research when you are planning ahead for those four-hooved wonders that will grace your pasture. The economy will affect not only your future, but theirs. To what extent is up to you. Whether it is buying, breeding, training or selling, we wish everyone luck with their animals.  


Take a moment to step outside, look at the sky, listening to the sounds (be they birds chirruping or thunder rolling), and think about mules, donkeys, and the world 200 years ago. Where would we be if it weren't for the efforts of a man named George Washington and his love for the mule?   


Have a better spring,

Leah Patton,  

Office manager, ADMS

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.

Bonnie's Bit

"Bonnie's Bits" will be kinda short, as it is winter here and I can't get into too much trouble right now. Terry feeds the mules in the morning so I can hide under the covers 'til the house warms up. Then I feed at evening so he can watch the news uninterrupted.

I think I left out as I was traveling to Las Vegas and the Cowboy Cartoonists show at Cowboy Christmas (NFR). Well, the bad news is that the economy is still in the pot but no heat. The good news is that we shure had a good time and got to see lots of old friends again. Leanin' Tree treated us to two nights of parties in their fancy, two-story suite (with its OWN elevator!) in the Hard Rock Hotel. My comments were that the place was designed for a rock band, as everything was indestructible, hard, and uncomfortable. Plus, they insisted on leaving the door to the patio open, and I finally had to retrieve my winter coat to survive. You'd think, being from north Idaho, I'd be tougher than that, wouldn't ya?

I lucked out this year with good weather and dry roads all the way to and from Nevada. For you Leanin' Tree card fans out there, I have ten new cards out with them this year. Hunt 'em down and BUY 'em. I gotta buy a new mule.

I been working at the drawing board all this time, trying to come up with new work for my shows, and we LTR crew have been diligently working on the Precious Valentine DVD. It is gonna be a beauty, and Jasper and Moxie continue their great friendship and sense of adventure. I get such a kick outta all of this, as does Meredith and Cheryl and all the others involved in the production of these DVDs.

So, I am still at the drawing board, working on masterpieces and keeping the computer on so I can keep up with Jasper. My next show is April 13-17 at Madras, OR at the Small Farmers Journal spring auction. This is a wonderful American Happening. If you ever get a chance to attend, do it. And, Bishop is coming!!! Along with some sunshine and warm weather, I hope. Enough Winter Already. Look out for the mud now, and we'll see ya on the trail.