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|LTR Training Tip #122|
Groundwork for Donkeys
These groundwork exercises will give your donkey a foundation of strength and confidence he needs to perform well and be light in the bridle when you finally ride or drive.
View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.
Question: When I am training my donkey, he does not react the same way as horses and mules to my way of training. Is training donkeys different from training mules and horses?
Answer: Many people believe that training donkeys is different from training mules and horses, but in my experience, it is more a case of assessing each individual equine at any given stage of training and adjusting my approach accordingly. Like people, each individual equine learns differently and at their own pace. I use the same basic techniques with ALL of my equines…large or small, Longears or horse and any breed or sex. I break things down into very small, doable steps so they do not get overwhelmed at any stage.
We begin with leading on flat ground through the Hourglass Pattern in a restraint I developed called the “Elbow Pull” (if they are under two years old, they will not need this) for 3 to 6 months. With their head at your shoulder, the lead rope in your left hand while pointing in the direction of travel and walking in sync with their front legs, it is important to lead through the pattern with straight lines and gradual arcs. This will facilitate the symmetrical development of the elements that support the skeletal frame (muscles, ligaments, tendons, soft tissue and ensure even wear on the cartilage in the joints). They should be asked to “square up” with equal weight over all four feet EVERY TIME they stop. Passive stretching exercises will promote flexibility and elasticity. They should always be rewarded with crimped oats for every honest attempt or successful achievement. Other foods are not healthy in large quantities and are not food that the animal will continue to work for. Each step is easy because they are done in a logical and sequential order that makes sense to THEM. When these guidelines are followed, they learn to trust you.
After leading on the flat ground is sufficiently done, we add going through obstacles to build coordination. This requires another 3 to 6 months. You can tell when the exercises are sufficient when they will traverse the pattern with the lead rope slung over their neck and when they respond only to your voice and hand signals. When they have learned to stay erect in their body and bend through their rib cage to the arcs and turns, you can then add lunging in the Round Pen for another 3 to 6 months. And finally, they learn to be light in the bridle with 3 to 6 months of Ground Driving before graduating to the open arena.
TRAINING QUESTION CONT.
My approach is consistent, polite and respectful which brings out the best in each animal. Donkeys insist on this for easy compliance. When lessons are purposeful and predictable, they become easy to lead, lunge, ground drive, and are consequently much better under saddle and in harness later. This slow and meticulous approach requires a lot of patience, but the results are miraculous. A donkey that is balanced and light in the bridle is truly a smoother and more pleasurable ride! It takes time, but the results of this postural core strength, balanced bodybuilding are amazing and will add longevity to your donkey...and, he will truly appreciate your efforts on his behalf! Learn much more on my website at www.luckythreeranch.com in the various sections under TRAINING, particularly under:
Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
for even more details.
READERS & VISITORS
“I just finished your amazing ROCK AND ROLL: DIARY OF A RESCUE DVD and am writing this with tears and a snotty nose. What a fantastic job you all did and what a great story! It’s fantastic what a great life both of those giant mules had with you and it seems like they knew it. It's sad Rock had such a short time to enjoy the good life but I hope the things that you guys learned during his life and that folks can learn from his skeleton and his story will be of great help to future animals and their caregivers and handlers. The way you told the story, all the good information and the great video made for a very entertaining and educational show. You and your whole crew should be VERY proud of an excellent job on the script, video, interviews and music!”
“I just watched, ‘Rock and Roll: Diary of a Rescue,’ and want you to know how moved and inspired I was by your efforts, those of your staff and equid health care team and, especially, by those 2 amazing mules -- Rock & Roll. Thank you for providing them with such compassionate care and so much love! Thank you for producing this doc to teach others about mule rescue and welfare. It truly does take a village. Lucky Three Ranch is one special village in a million. Bless you, for your strength, determination and tenacity.
"Run free, Rock & Roll!” ~Renata Hill
“Thank you for posting your wonderful training videos! I am a teacher at Ridgetown College, and while I state these things to them, and show them with our school horses, it is great repetition for them to hear it from someone else! Your equines are fabulous! I enjoy the videos even more because of the mules.”
Cindy K. Roberts
My name is Cindy Roberts, head honcho and developer of Every Cowgirl's Dream. My website is designed for mule owners needing assistance in working with behavioral and training issues; here you will find my published mule training articles along with my mule training books. My adventures have taken me to diverse Western events and trails across the nation. God has blessed me to become a successful author and mule promoter. Let’s talk about mules! Every mule I have trained or worked with, I have learned from. My life lessons with mules have been fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking and mostly comical. I use to be so serious and didn’t have the confidence to speak to people. Mules have changed all that! I have several books that I wrote about mules and now I have a podcast about mules and the ranch lifestyle, called Mule Talk! I am always searching for guests to come onto the show, so if you know of anyone, corral them my way! Remember to honor God's word, live by the Cowboy Code and keep riding!
~Cindy K. Roberts
TAKE A LITTLE BREAK TODAY AND
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
CHECK OUT THIS NEW ADDITION
The LTR WEBSITE is the place to visit for all things equine! The LTR BLOG has stories from around the world. ABOUT LTR tells about Meredith and the Lucky Three Ranch, under TRAINING you will find Ask Meredith with commonly asked Q & A’s, Mule Facts, video TRAINING TIPS, VIDEO ON DEMAND (RFD-TV Shows and more), MULE CROSSING articles, LONGEARS MUSIC videos, Misc. Music Videos, What's New With Roll? (Story of the Rescue Draft Mules, ROCK & ROLL), Another Augie & Spuds Adventure (Training miniature donkeys) and Wrangler's Donkey Diary (Management & training of our new donkey gelding) CHASITY’S CHALLENGES!” Check out our TOURS (personalized clinics) and keep up with the latest developments in the equine industry with RESOURCES/NEWS (Longears Calendar of Events, Classifieds, Longears Clubs, Therapeutic Riding, Equine Rescues, Equine Welfare in the News, Wild Mustangs/Burros Campaign and Horse Slaughter facts & FAQ's). And of course, you are welcome to peruse our STORE. LEARN TOGETHER/EXCEL TOGETHER!
And all you KIDS!...Don’t forget to visit www.JASPERTHEMULE.com!
A NEW & IMPROVED WEBSITE
for lots of fun, entertainment and the
ULTIMATE LONGEARS LEARNING EXPERIENCE!
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Rock and Roll: Diary of a Rescue documents the progress of the victories and set-backs that the Belgian Draft Mule Team encountered after being rescued from slaughter, first by Fran and Larry Howe of the Bitteroot Mule Company, and finally by Meredith Hodges and the Lucky Three Ranch team of professionals. This is a poignant story of how Rock gallantly gave his all and how his teammate, Roll, slowly emerged from his shell and learned to trust us and—even more importantly—himself.
Our regimen of compassion, respect, patience and physical therapy helped both mules to obtain their own personal miracle.
Rock and Roll touched everyone’s soul by proving they were ready, willing and able to give everything they could, straight from their enormous hearts...a touching story you won’t want to miss.
Give the Gift of the Perfect Partnership!
50% off these amazing DVDs
Get the full story on training your equine with the entire series of
Training Mules and Donkeys DVDs, #1-10
COMPLETE TMD DVD TRAINING SET
Go behind the scenes of the equine industry with Those Magnificent Mules.
BISHOP ALL-STARS & THE BISHOP EXPERIENCE
WALK ON: EXPLORING THERAPEUTIC RIDING
STORY OF LUCKY THREE RANCH & ROAD TO BISHOP
and our brand new
ROCK & ROLL: Diary of a Rescue!
Equus Revisited: A Complete Approach to Athletic Conditioning
EQUUS REVISITED (DVD)
This four-part, two-DVD set complements Meredith Hodges' original correspondence training series Training Mules & Donkeys with a complete athletic conditioning regimen suitable for all equines—including horses, donkeys, mules and other equine hybrids. Also available in French, German and Spanish.
DONKEY TRAINING & JASPER: A TURKEY TALE Book
February 5 – 50% off
A Guide to Raising and Showing Mules
JASPER: THE STORY OF A MULE Book (One Day Sale)
February 17 – 50% off
JASPER: THE STORY OF A MULE Book (One Day Sale)
Life on the Brass Ass is a mix of good and really bad right now. Some of the bad is out of my ability to "fix", and some is being worked-on and some must be endured but I am still marching on.
We all have times like this and I have great faith it will improve and I will grow because of it.
All the critturs are healthy and demanding food on a regular basis, so that is a good sign. Hubby has had one of his much-abused "easy chairs" removed from the house, making room for the Christmas tree next month. Thanksgiving is gonna be down-sized and simple. Only one guest--an artist friend of ours who lives alone locally.
Trying to scare up SOME income, I am putting out postcards with 4 of my children's books to likely victims with a pretty good deal. (I didn't write them, just drew the pictures). Otherwise, I am awaiting the release of the "Old Apple Tree" yet.
So, this Panic-demmient has me hunkered down like so many others and praying we all survive. I can tell you that the occasional contact with friends and the daily dealing with my Iris mule and the dogs is keeping me going right now and what a blessing this is.
I wish for all you great mule fans out there for a good Holiday Season with those you love--two-legged and four. Be Strong and smile at the devil. It pisses him off!! Bonnie
Hug your asses!!!
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!
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I was at a funeral yesterday. Even though the gentleman was older (my dad's best friend) you realize that there just isn't enough time to do everything, see everyone, learn and experience all the things you want to do. Take each day as you can. Read a new book. Research a new subject. Learn something about the background of your family, look through old family photos. Last week I was at an estate sale and bought a HUGE and fabulous fossil collection. In the way of sharing, I have sent packets of small fossils that this woman collected over her lifetime out to teachers and home-schooling friends. I'm sharing, and I want today's kids to have some hands-on experiences. Her husband was enthusiastic at my idea of sharing a small portion of her life passion (I'm a rock hound and have been my whole life, so getting to do this was a giant tic off my bucket list). My daughter and I went fossil hunting ourselves. We go fishing. She is learning to build things - sheds, goat pens, fences. She can castrate a calf, give vaccinations, change her car battery or tire. Break outside the mold. This year has been BAD, it's causing all of us to face inward, but take some time to get out, do something each day that isn't the norm. Oh, and please, if you have stories your grandparents or parents or friends have told you over the years, please write them down. Someday they may be valuable to your family or others.
Stay sane and hug LONGEARS!
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
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