|ASK MEREDITH A QUESTION|
|Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback? |
|LTR Training Tip #110|
Fitting the harness
A harness that does not fit will not pull efficiently and can cause distress to your equine, so make sure your harness fits!
View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.
Question: I am interested in training my mule to drive. I also have a donkey that I might like to drive. What all do I need to do to teach them to drive if I try to do it myself? Do I need to get a trainer or can I do this myself? Do I need to invest in harness right away? I just want to make sure that I do it right and that I do it safely.
Answer: DRIVING can be a potential hazard if you do not do enough prep work. It is important to do plenty of groundwork for a number of reasons. Leading training done in our HOURGLASS PATTERN in my postural "Elbow Pull” restraint begins to build the equine's body in good posture while strengthening the elements that support the skeletal frame. This assures balanced self-carriage and will minimize the occurrence of physical soreness later when performing. Once leading on the flat ground is established and the way of moving has been enhanced, it is imperative to lead over and through obstacles to add coordination to the equine's body. This will ensure that he stays erect and executes movement from his hind quarters, bending through the rib cage when turning his body (not leaning like a motorcycle!) while staying in an uphill balance. Lunging at all three gaits, halting and backing in a balanced frame and learning to turn on the haunches with this elevated frame will help to build the bulk muscle effectively. Ground driving will sensitize him to rein cues and cultivate an animal that is eager to perform and light in the bridle. This will greatly animate his gaits in harness and make the extended gaits easy for him. This can take quite a while, so be PATIENT! Learn to appreciate the "little victories" along the way! Human athletes take a lot of time to be ready for their performances, so you should afford your equine the same consideration. Typically, it can take a full two years for this prep work when done correctly: 3-6 mos. of leading on flat ground, 3-6 mos. of leading over obstacles, 3-6 mos. of lunging and 3-6 mos. of ground driving.
TRAINING QUESTION CONT.
When these exercises are completed you can safely move on to his athletic endeavors whether it be riding or driving. Whether riding or driving, this prep work is the same. The animal that is properly prepared will have far less issues with his physical mobility (less accidents and lower vet bills!). The steps to training your equine to drive are simple and there are some stages where it is advisable to use an assistant, but you can learn to do this yourself. I like to encourage people to do most of the training themselves because the equine bonds the deepest with the person who does the training. You can find all kinds of helpful information about preparing your equine with balance and core strength on my website at www.luckythreeranch.com in the various sections under TRAINING, especially under TRAINING/TRAINING TIPS and TRAINING/VIDEO ON DEMAND. You can buy my books and videos in the STORE and I would be happy to send you a lot more detailed information if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READERS & VISITORS
“Oh! Thank you Meredith for this beautiful Christmas video! It actually brought tears to my eyes watching these beautiful animals enjoying the snow! As my own little mini-mule Bella and standard donkey, Tessa are enjoying their evening meal in their cozy stalls I pray for the well being of all precious animals. Blessings to you and to your continued success!”
“Thank you so much for all the information in your response email regarding the matter of weight-bearing guidelines for horses and donkeys and mules. I will be taking a good deal of time to really read it through and absorb as much as I can. It's amazing. This information is so thorough and nourishes my heart and soul!
I believe in learning about providing structure that is rooted in love and respect for the animal.”
“Thank you so much Meredith! Wow.
What wonderful helpful words. We are reading through them and looking forward to putting them into practice. Thank you for being so thoughtful to share your wisdom with people. We sure do appreciate it. We haven't had a chance to read through it all yet, but if we have more questions, we'll send them your way."
Katie Wetteland, who lives in Colorado, petitioned the USHJA to allow mules to compete after finding out that her own mule, Mjolnir The Longear, was a talented and enthusiastic jumper! Katie has been working hard and now a rule change in the U.S.A. means that mules can now take part in US Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) affiliated events!
TAKE A LITTLE BREAK TODAY AND
VISIT OUR WEBSITE
CHECK OUT THIS NEW ADDITION
UNDER TRAINING! THEY ARE REGULARLY UPDATED!
We consistently add NEW POSTS to the website as they appear on Facebook!
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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DVD #3 in our TRAINING MULES & DONKEYS video series is a must for all those who wish to learn how to drive their Longears. This comprehensive video builds on the basics with a general and realistic description about what driving truly entails, the groundwork that is necessary for building core strength in a good balance for the work, fitting the harness, verbal commands, all about carts and carriages, hitching to the vehicle, Reinsmanship, Pleasure Driving, Obstacle Driving and working in harness. DRIVING is also covered in “Part 3” of our TRAINING WITHOUT RESISTANCE manual, also offered in French, German and Spanish.
JASPER: AN APRIL MULE’S DAY Book
THE BISHOP ALL-STARS
AND THE BISHOP EXPERIENCE DVD
and 50% off
JASPER GOES TO BISHOP DVD
Times are shure slow anymore, aren't they? So is work and accomplishment. I started out letting myself get frustrated over all the dead time and loss of direction, but think I am doing better appreciating this chance to take a breath and think about things more closely. OOPS!!! I got SERIOUS? Call the Vet!!!
Yes, my work is kinda slow right now and I better appreciate it as, if Bishop Mule Days does indeed crank-up this May, it will certainly change back to panic time. I am putting out another set of notecards. Have several new prints I was preparing for Columbia Tennessee Mule Day. Just had a most valuable and rare print returned to me of "Romeo & Juliet". I think that was maybe my second or third print way back in the late 60's.
I'm framing it to carry with me to this year's shows. (it is of a white and black mule "smooching")
Several other new pieces possible, if time allows, but I do have Liz Hughey's poem, "Little Girls Love Horses" to illustrate and (hopefully) another book cover for Miss Irene Bennett Brown to paint. I am MOST grateful to these wonderful ladies and their inspiring work.
As you might remember, I have illustrated two books now for my friend, Jack Parnell. ("MY Name is Ramsy" about his Clyde stallion, and "The Old Apple Tree and Friends" about the wisdom of caring for the land and nature and eachother). Well, Jack and his wife and crew on his ranch--just up the road from me-- hosted a book-signing event last Saturday in their big horse barn. Now, it is winter in North Idaho and we were in that super cold front that hit the whole nation that week and the wind was still whipping everything up that day. We figured it was a most unfortunate date for the event but the show must go on and we bundled-up and soldiered-on.
Dear people, we were inundated with people coming to talk with us and see the grand horses AND buy books. I tell ya, the folks of north Idaho are hard to discourage. I know we sold out of books after 2 hours of SOLID signing and grinnin. The publisher was on site and I asked him yesterday how many books he had brought to the party and he figured about 130!!! I wore gloves the whole time, four shirts and my heavy barn coat and survived just fine but for the feet. By the time I could get up from the table I could no longer even FEEL my feet!
So, BS is pretty-well thawed-out now and keeping busy taking care of hubby and Iris the mule and the barn cats and the two dear dogs.
Hope your 2021 is progressing and we all stay well and sane in this insane time. Hug a mule for me.
Hug your asses!!!
Visit our Lucky Three Ranch WEB STORE to view and purchase.
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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Can you possibly prepare for EVERYTHING? No, you cannot. There is such a thing as being underprepared (oh, my jennet is about to foal and I haven't even got a foaling kit together). Or being partially prepared (the in-laws are coming for dinner tomorrow night and I have cleaned and made a list, but I haven't gotten the final touches). There is Prepper level prepared (which requires research, time, space and money). And then there is go-into-panic-mode prepared.
The latter hit Texas this last week. Texas isn't designed for zero-degree weather. Not our houses, walls, insulation or pipes. Not our feed stores, grocery stores. Not our electric grid.
Some people thought ahead and got what staples they could; bread, milk, meat, cheese, and hand warmers. Some bought a lot of frozen dinners - which are either still frozen in their freezer as they had no way to heat them, or they were the lucky ones in the rolling blackouts (as we were 30 minutes on, 15 minutes off). Some got propane to heat their houses, some got a bag or two of feed. But many were left literally in the cold.
Our small town sold out of everything within two days of the terrible forecasts. We are hitting 70s today and still the town isn't restocked. Luckily we had hay. We were able to venture out to a bigger town and get some more feed, but even this was being rationed. But who of us thought we'd need to have plumbing supplies laid in? It will be weeks before pipe, sharkbite pipe repair parts, PVC, glues, and other materials will even be available.
We can't all plan that deeply and intensely ahead. We can think ahead and do things such as winterizing our pipes, find ways to keep the trough from freezing solid. Lay in a supply of hay and feed in a good weather proof barn. Have quilts and duct tape on hand for those rare instances when our animals truly DO need a blanket (elderly and newborn animals mostly). Have a backup water supply, hand warmers, an oil lantern and a good supply of batteries for our flashlights. You can bet there are a lot of Texans rethinking what their winter stores will look like next year!
Planning ahead means efficient barns and houses. Knowing where your water cut-offs are. Where your breaker box is. Installing freeze-proof faucets at your water spouts. Prepping jugs of salt water to float in a trough to keep the surface open.
We hope everyone managed to survive this Icepocalypse. We managed possibly better than others. Our animals survived, the water situation is resolving itself. Paperwork is ongoing, as always, and we will do everything we can to get caught up as soon as possible. Hang in there, spring is on the way...
Leah Patton, office manager, ADMS
The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc. | PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067 | (972) 219-0781. | 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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