With the spring-type thunderstorms, it was touch and go with the decision of when to cut the hayfields! Our timing and sensibility about how to proceed turned out to be good. We watched farmers cut their hay and then get it rained on because of insufficient drying time. We opted to take advantage of the small 5-day window we were afforded in the second week of July, cut only half of our acreage, raked it to dry quickly, then baled it and barely got it up in time. Then we had to wait another week before we were able to do the same with the second half. Luckily, 9000 bales are now tucked safely away!
The 14 mules, 3 donkeys and miniature horse enjoyed their summer baths in mid-July. We do yearly baths with no shampoo (except for manes and tails when we use Tres Semme, Breakage Control and Aussie 3X Conditioner) to help the animal’s hair coats remain clean and healthy. It’s also a nice way to cool off on a 100-degree summer day!
On July 24, I was honored by the Colorado Women of Influence at their Annual Gala. It was an unexpected surprise and my crew, friends and I had a wonderful time that evening! What a busy, yet enjoyable summer this has been! I hope yours was, too!
Best wishes and Happy Trails,
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|ASK MEREDITH A QUESTION|
|Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback? |
|LTR Training Tip #16|
Great Looking Manes & Tails
Meredith shares her secrets to getting beautiful manes and tails on your equines—including mules!
View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.
Question: The flies and other insects are exceptionally bad this year and are causing all kinds of problems around the barns. They are making the animals uncomfortable and anxious, difficult to handle and causing sores on their legs and swelling in their chests. What can I do to take care of this problem?
Answer: Here is some information about insect control that you might find helpful! We worm our equines in January, March, May, July and September with Farnam ivermectin and then break the cycle with Strongid in November to prevent internal worms and parasites. This will insure that your animals are safe despite what your neighbors may be doing with their livestock. Fields and pastures should be harrowed in the spring and fall and between hay cuttings. Keep all tack and equipment clean so it does not attract flies to your tack room and grooming area. Spray the tack room when you leave with a household flying insect spray for any residual flies.
1) First and foremost, a regular grooming schedule at least every other week and preferably every week is essential for the hygiene and health of your equines. Regular grooming once a week to remove excess hair, mud, etc. will eliminate places on the animal, including legs, that would be subject to insects laying eggs. If certain body areas begin to get sores, scabs or bumps, use Neosporin; or if they are severe...Panalog, also called Animax or Dermalone (by prescription from your vet). Clean the eyes, ears and nostrils every time during grooming and fly spray the hairs inside the ears for the best bug-block after cleaning.
2) We use Tri-Tech 14 by Farnam fly spray weekly for bugs and insects that can pester your equine. This seems to be the best and longest lasting spray (Herbal remedies and fly predators do not work as well!). Scrub flies and eggs from the legs, cover with Neosporin and then spray for flies during grooming. Using Johnson's baby oil in the manes and tails helps to keep the flies at bay and will also discourage other animals from chewing on them.
3) Use fly masks for those mules and donkeys that have sensitive skin. Farnam Super Masks will usually fit most animals. If you groom regularly and clean and spray the ear hairs, the eared masks may not be necessary (I have never had to use the ones with ears). You can find them in most tack and vet stores. Just make sure when you put them on that they will come off easily if they were to get caught on anything.
4) Feeding the right kinds of feed for mules and donkeys. Animals that are sweating toxins are more apt to attract insects.
5) In order to keep flies and other insects under control, all stalls, runs and pens need to be kept free of manure and debris daily. Barns should be cleaned periodically with disinfectant. Keep all stalls, pens and sheds free of urine and manure (clean at least once a day, every day!). This includes larger dirt pen turnout areas weekly. You shouldn’t need to use any PDZ or chemicals at all if cleaned properly. For good drainage in stalls, we drill a 2’ x 4’ deep hole in the middle of the stall and fill it with 1 ½” rock. Then we put down 4” of pea gravel throughout the whole stall and cover with rubber mats.
6) Keep manure collection piles well away from the house and barns (We put manure into a dumpster behind our hay barn and have it hauled away weekly). Contrary to popular belief, the manure is NOT suitable for fertilizer unless it is properly composted and used for appropriate crops. Equines consume weeds and poop seeds that will propagate weeds anywhere that the manure is used.
Training Question Cont.
7) Keep water sources clean. Check them daily, or clean as needed.
8) Clean any manure from shed or stall walls daily. Power wash stall walls and alleyways as needed.
9) Ceiling fans will also help a lot, both pointed into specific stalls and along the top of your barn alleyways! Just be sure to check them regularly and clean them as needed to prevent any spontaneous fires from dust gathering in them.
10) Do not ever clip the hair inside the ears or muzzle hairs of the equines! Body clip only if you are showing. Use blankets and fly sheets as needed. Their hair coats will protect them from the heat, cold and insects.
11) Do not clip the hair on the legs unless you absolutely must for showing! Lots of times, you can get a clean look by using the clippers with the hair rather than against the hair on the legs to maintain protection.
12) For more information, please visit my website at
From Our Readers & Visitors
“Our group of 20+ friends had a scheduled tour of the Lucky Three Ranch. This promised to be something different from museum or art gallery tours, since the ranch specializes in mules and donkeys. My only experience with mules was seeing them on farms in North Carolina when I was very young. As an adult, I had encountered wild burros (donkeys) while backpacking in New Mexico. Most in our group expected to see a few of these animals in stables or corrals. Boy, were we surprised to arrive at a pristine facility that looked as if it might be a high-end vacation spa. Ranch owner Meredith Hodges greeted us and began our tour with a video explaining the ranch’s history centered on its mules and donkeys. Starting with one mule and one donkey in 1980, Hodges has bred, trained and successfully entered her mules in competitions against horses in national and international events. After the video, Hodges discussed how her recognition of the mules’ intelligence and her training using kindness and patience – and not harsh treatment - has produced many champion “long ears.” She then answered all our questions. We next toured the grounds to see an impressive collection of realistic statues of some of her mules and donkeys. We finished our tour by meeting mules in their neat stalls and outside in corrals. Our visit to Lucky Three Ranch was one of the most instructive and enjoyable tours I’ve ever taken. Hodges and her staff make this a special Colorado experience. Many of us will now think differently about mules and donkeys.”
“I hardly know where to begin. It was the most fascinating, educational, and informative experience that went far beyond our expectations! We spent 4 hours with Meredith, her staff and of course her 'Longears'. Beyond belief how her philosophy, and love regarding the care, treatment and training of these wonderful animals has made champions of them. After meeting Meredith's Longears, and learning about their remarkable abilities - I can no longer think of mules as dumb or stubborn but rather as amazing. This is a MUST for anyone in or near the Loveland area. You simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity! Meredith, thank you for allowing us into your life and that of your precious Longears. What an unforgettable experience. I wish you continued success.”
"Meredith and her Lucky Three Ranch has shared her passion for the American mule through her work as a trainer, artist, educator and author. She has broken barriers like no one else in her quest to tell the unique story of the Mule. Her Ranch facilities, as well as her work through many venues and organizations, has gone to show the amazing bond that exists between humans and animals - especially the mule. In addition to all this she is a tireless supporter and promoter of numerous worthy causes, events and organizations."
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NEW JASPER BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!
Author, Meredith Hodges, and illustrator, Bonnie Shields,
are proud to introduce a brand new book "JASPER: AN APRIL MULE’S DAY!" to their JASPER THE MULE series of books and videos.
And don’t forget to visit
JASPER’S NEW & IMPROVED WEBSITE
for lots of fun, entertainment and the ultimate
Longears Learning experience!
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Bishop's 50th didn't disappoint anyone there. Wore us out and froze us once in a while, but no disappointments. And, everyone was there, even Miss Meredith and her whole bunch from the ranch and office.
Jasper, Meredith and I were invited to ride in those great Borax wagons for the parade. This time the wagons were complete as the water wagon had JUST been completed in time for Bishop. I can't tell you how impressive these three wagons are--or how HUGE! If you haven't done it yet, look up Video Mike and buy this years' DVD. I tell ya, these mules and donkeys attract the best people in the world and the world came to Bishop to celebrate together. And, you know mule/donkey folks know how to have good clean fun.
I nearly worked myself to death in that booth and rarely got out to play so that meant everyone had to come to me. Thank you to all who took the time to come say hi and catch up. Debi and I worked hard to keep all supplied and happy and were in pieces by the time we started home, but we were already grinin’ about Bishop 2020.
My latest adventure just took place on the Lucky Three when Meredith hired me to paint the 20 mule team and wagons on the center pole of her "Jasper Merry-go-round”. It was definitely a challenge doing such detailed work on a vertical surface--that curved. And, I'm not done yet as now she wants all the Jasper characters from our books on the pole, too. So, at some point I must return to the scene of the crime and do some more painting. Wish me luck.
Hell's Canyon Mule Days is coming up fast here in the NW. I will be there again with all the Jasper books and DVD's plus whatever my goofy brain can muster up art-wise. If you are close, don't miss it.
In the meantime I must rest-up for my next ass-alt on that durn POLE. Will take the advice my hero mule, Leroy, always laid on me--"Keep your Traces Tight". Wise fella, that Leroy.
Happy trails everyone,
Visit our Lucky Three Ranch
to purchase new art from
Tennessee Mule Artist
And don’t forget to visit her website
to find out more
about the Wild and Wonderful World of Bonnie Shields,
Tennessee Mule Artist, Cowboy Cartoonist and True Artist!
The Lucky Hearts Arena Grand Opening at Hearts & Horses!
On August 24th Hearts & Horses hosted a ribbon cutting event to debut the new Lucky Hearts Area that was aptly named by Meredith Hodges in honor of her continued support and generosity toward the organization. With over 100 contributing donors present at the event, Hearts & Horses was able to show supporters the impact of their donations with a special rider demonstration in the new space.
The three rider participants showed the audience the skills that they’ve been working on at Hearts & Horses. One rider, who rode a Mammoth Jackstock Donkey named Lass, has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy, which affects his ability to move and maintain balance and posture. His therapeutic riding gives him more core strength and balance and has given him a louder voice to be heard at school. He enjoyed his time in the spotlight at this particular event and it was clear that him and Lass had a great time showing off their partnership to the onlooking supporters.
This new, larger and innovatively-designed arena is allowing Hearts & Horses to serve more riders in our community. They have seen a 26% increase in riders from the Fall Session in 2018 to the current 2019 Fall Session. The Lucky Hearts Arena has doubled the available indoor arena space, allowing for multiple classes to happen simultaneously. The new high-tech sound system has smart technology allowing for microphone usage on either side of the divider and also control sound in the community classroom. The community classroom has space to seat up to 50 people in classroom-style arrangements, and also has one-way viewing windows so people in the classroom can watch what is happening in the arena without disturbing the horses and riders. Both sides of the arena have interactive viewing areas where observers, family and friends, can safely watch the sessions while feeling like they are in the arena with the participant.
There are a few recognition opportunities still available, but time is running out to leave your mark on this special place that will support hope and healing for generations to come. If you are interested in taking a tour or making a gift that will help finish ‘Raising the Barn’ at Hearts & Horses please contact Kathryn Yuma, Development & Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-663-4200.
Hearts & Horses, a therapeutic riding center, has been serving people with physical limitations, including veterans, youth at risk, and other special needs populations since 1997. These equine-assisted activities can improve their lives significantly with the help of PATH certified instructors and physical and occupational therapists. For many of the riders at Hearts & Horses, this is the first and only place where teams of people believe in their abilities. It is not only a goal of the organization to make people better and happier; but it is also a core value that weaves a tapestry of commitment and energy throughout the ranch. From the Board of Directors to the staff and volunteers, Hearts & Horses encourages all their riders to reach their full potential.
Please visit the Hearts & Horses website at: www.HeartsAndHorses.org/RaiseTheBarn
Kathryn Yuma, Development & Communications Manager
Give the Gift of Joy and Healing
Through an incredible depth and breadth of programming, Hearts & Horses impacts every life we touch. Support the wonderful effects of therapeutic riding for individuals by supporting Hearts & Horses today!
WALLACE THE GREAT– Christie McLean
Wallace was abandoned in Ireland, where he was fed daily by local people in a bus shelter. Then rescued by the Donkey Sanctuary, he came to England where he started his dressage career.
Christie is part of a dressage competition team, and because some horses in the team had gone lame, she volunteered Wallace as a substitute competitor. With three competitions left to go in the season, her team was hoping that Wallace’s contribution could help them to qualify for a championship.
"It didn’t cross my mind that we wouldn’t be able to take part," said Christie.
Christie Mclean from Stroud, Gloucestershire was initially prevented from competing with Wallace because mules were barred from entering. However, after the case received considerable press attention, British Dressage changed its rules.
The pair won the affiliated dressage event in Gloucester. Christie McLean, who competes in entry-level British Dressage, said she was "thrilled" and "over the moon" following the win.
You can watch their amazing performance on their Facebook page, Wallace the Great- Dressage Mule. Well done, Wallace!
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Just like that, the weather seems to change. Are we done with the triple-digit heat? Can we break out the saddles again and ride in some comfort? All those photos of things melting in the heat circulating everywhere... they seem to circulate better than the air around here! Hot! Dry!
What do you do to keep yourself and your animals cool? Donkeys like shade, but they are desert animals, and they can often be seen just at the edge of the treeline. Even if it rains, they will do what they like - some will take shelter at the first drop, others will stand out there and defy you... each is definitely an individual.
Maybe it's just too much effort to move out of the rain or the heat, we certainly can feel that ourselves! This year has been a strange, long, twisted journey. Normal isn't the same any longer, and that means adjustments all around. Except of course, for feeding schedules. Those internal clocks in the longears just don't seem to adjust even if the human aspect does! Ah well, someone will have to adapt (and it won't be those with four hooves, now will it?) !!!
Do what you can outdoors on days the weather is nice, all too soon winter will be upon us and we'll be wishing it was just a wee bit warmer. It's a good time to check all the barns and make sure the boards are snug, no nails or screws standing proud to get caught up on, cleaning out the feed room, making sure there isn't trash or old boxes/bags that critters will want to nest in for the winter. Then as soon as possible, get out and walk those fence lines, make sure there aren't any downed trees or debris from creek flows causing problems. We've certainly lost more than our share of trees and limbs with all the rain from the spring.
Get ready to break out the hot cocoa and a pot of chili, sit back and watch the colors change in the pasture and trees. Take a few minutes to appreciate the love these longears can give us, that breath of relaxation we should not take for granted.
Leah Patton, office manager, ADMS
The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc.
PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067
Newsletter: the BRAYER magazine 76+ pgs 6X/yr, $27 US, $37 Canada, $50 overseas. We now accept Paypal,Visa/MC (+$1 courtesy fee appreciated). Reg info, forms, fees on our website at http://www.lovelongears.com/main.htm