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Extreme Cowboy Race Washington


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!

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Little Jack Horner and “Caramelo” Critique


To the untrained eye, “Caramelo’s” performance might seem quite amazing! However, to those of us who know the elements of dressage training, it is evident that this jack is not doing all these amazing movements correctly. The saddle has not been placed properly over his center of balance, so the rider is putting undue stress on his front quarters. This is why you can see over-development in the neck and shoulders while the hindquarters show some comparative weakness. The rider’s position is actually prohibiting correct engagement from the hindquarters.

It is evident that Caramelo’s temperament is outstanding to be able to attempt all these moves and perform them for his handler obediently though incorrect. Because the movements are not originating from the hindquarters and ample time has not been initially taken to develop good forward impulsion with regard to rhythm, regularity and cadence, the joints and muscles in his body are being compromised and will show wear and tear as he ages. Through the movements, he is exhibiting obedience, but is very tense throughout his body.

In the Spanish Walk, Caramelo’s hind legs are coming in a split second behind the front legs and he is thus, not able to push the front legs into the uphill balance that would be a more impressive display. His body carriage is on the forehand at all three gaits and his lateral work is wobbly. Caramelo is obviously moving away from the whip in the Spanish Walk and when asked by the handler from the ground to pick up the hind feet, the handler is tapping the hind feet backwards instead of forward. The jumps he did were not initiated from the hindquarters and were therefore more of an uncontrolled launch over what should have been an easy and graceful jump. There are many more things wrong with this performance that tell me that this handler does not understand how much time and effort it takes to cultivate a strong body in good balance and posture for the movements that are being asked of him.











With proper dressage training, it took two years just to establish a good working trot with our own Little Jack Horner when he was in his prime. After establishing good forward impulsion, regularity, rhythm and cadence at all three gaits, two more years of practice insured that his lengthenings and lateral movements were done in an uphill balance with his hindquarters fully engaged.

When little Jack Horner was retired at twenty years old, he was beginning to “offer” the more complicated movements of half pass and pirouettes. He became the only formal jumping donkey to clear four feet in exhibition while jumping with the alacrity and grace of a hunter. Had I opted to continue with him, it would have taken several more years to develop these kinds of movements and many more years to go beyond to piaffe and passage as I did with Lucky Three Sundowner, Little Jack Horner’s mule half brother.

Though impressive at first sight to the untrained eye, I am making this post to warn people of the dramatic effects that incorrect and hurried training can have on the equine’s body. Be patient, take your time to do things correctly and the joy you will experience will genuinely include the health and longevity of your equine companion! Today, Little Jack Horner maintains good health with no physical problems. He and I still enjoy each other’s company at his ripe old age of 33!


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A Sad Goodbye to Our Friend Cliff


With heavy hearts, we at Lucky Three Ranch say goodbye to our good friend, Cliff Uber. Cliff was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. His grace, courage and sense of humor will be missed.

A selection of the official statement from Hearts and Horses is below:

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we announce the passing of our rider, volunteer, trainer and dear friend Cliff Uber. For ten years he has graced us all with his beautiful presence, infectious smile, sense of peace and patience and a wonderful sense of humor. The grief we are experiencing can not be described.

This world was a better place with him in it, and saying he will be missed dearly just doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg of love we have for him.

Rest in Peace our dear friend…

A Celebration of Cliff’s life will be held at Hearts and Horses on Saturday, December 8th at 3:30. Attire is casual western wear. We will have a potluck dinner, please rsvp to carrie@heartsandhorses.org with what you are bringing.

The family has requested that In lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Hearts and Horses. Details can be found under the giving tab on their website: www.heartsandhorses.org.

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Congratulations to Cliff and Bud!


Cliff with Ms. Molly at the PATH Intl Awards


Cliff Uber has been recognized as the 2012 PATH Intl. Independent Adult Equestrian award winner!  He will be honored as a special guest at the PATH Intl. Awards Banquet held at the 2012 PATH Intl. Conference & Annual Meeting on November 2, 2012 in Bellevue, WA.  Thanks to Purina Mills for providing travel schloarships for the equestrian award winners.  As the Independent Adult Equestrian National Award Winner he receives scholarship reimbursement funds of up to $1500.

You may recognize Cliff from his appearance on the “Walk On, Part 1” episode of Those Magnificent Mules, and we are extremely proud of his success!

Bud (Sir Rocko) has earned the PATH Intl. Horse of the Year for Region 10 and will also be honored at the awards banquet.  As a regional winner, he is a finalist for the 2012 PATH Intl. National Horse of the Year Award, which will be announced and celebrated at the awards banquet.  Bud has been with Hearts & Horses since 2005 and is a most deserved recipient of this award!

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Rest in Peace, Besty Hutchins


As a proud representative of the American Donkey and Mule Society, Lucky Three Ranch is deeply saddened to say goodbye to our close friend, and co-founder of ADMS, Betsy Hutchins. She was one of a kind and shared our love for longears. We will miss her very much.

Betsy with Frosty

Statement from the ADMS:

It is with great sadness that the ADMS announces the loss of one of our co-founders, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hutchins. For over forty years, Betsy devoted her life and her home to the promotion of longears around the world. She and her family spent time not only in the daily operations of the ADMS (originally housed in their hundred-year-old farmhouse in Denton) but raised, trained and showed donkeys and mules as well. All four of her children were brought up with the animals and can be found in pages of the older Mr Longears and Brayer magazines.

Betsy and husband Paul converted part of their home into the operations center for ADMS. The BRAYER magazine used to be hand-typed and copy pasted up on the dining room table. Large built-in shelves all around the house were filled with donkey and mule figurines of every type. As the ADMS grew over the years, it began to encompass the sun porch of the house, gaining more equipment and taking up more time. Betsy and Paul ran it solely for many years, with the occasional volunteer for help. Betsy wrote many articles on donkey and mule care, much of it taken from her own experiences dealing with the longears living in their large acreage property.

Betsy with husband Paul

While Betsy always maintained she loved air conditioning, if animals needed care, she was outside taking care of them. If a friend came by needing a place to unload a donkey for the night, she’d make sure the gates were closed, the water tubs full and the hay brought out. She would stack hay if needed, hold heads or hooves for hoof trims, give medicines or baths to the animals, whatever was needed. She truly loved all animals, whether longears, dogs, cats, or guinea pigs, which she raised for years as a hobby.

When Paul and Betsy retired some 12 years ago, her involvement in ADMS slowed, but never stopped. She still joined the staff (by then hired on to continue to run ADMS) at shows, sitting at the information table and talking to everyone with a smile. She often handed out ribbons at shows, while husband Paul was judge or ring steward. Even though she had retired, she could still be counted on to answer questions that just couldn’t be solved, except through experience.

Betsy at a Donkey Show in the 1960s

She loved to travel the world, and went on cruises over the years, the latest just last month. With a passion for gardening, she found lovely plants and had over 160 cuttings potted at last count. A friend recounts that she heard the news of Betsy’s passing while watering cuttings from tea roses Betsy had

Betsy is survived by husband Paul, children Scott and wife Tammy, Melissa “Missy” and S.O. David, Melinda “Mindy” and husband Steven, Patrick and wife Katie, grandchildren Clayton and Audrey, and friends around the world too numerous to count.

Long time friend Becky perhaps has put it best in her note to ADMS: I know there is an ass or two in heaven braying in happiness that Mom has come over the Rainbow Bridge to be with them. And no, that was not thunder. It was a stampede of critters running to meet their Mom. Godspeed, Betsy.


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Jasper Wins Telly Awards!



We are pleased to announce that two episodes from our Jasper seriesJasper: A Precious Valentine and Jasper: A Turkey Tale—have each won a bronze Telly Award this year!

The Telly Award statuette is produced by the company that makes the Oscar and Emmy awards. They receive over 13,000 entries annually from some of the finest agencies and corporations in the world, so it is a remarkable achievement to be selected for recognition by their judging committee. The Silver Telly Council is comprised of many top industry professionals, including past winners of the Silver Telly, which is their highest honor. We previously received Silver Tellys in 2005 and 2007 for the “Lucky Three Ranch” and “Walk On” episodes from our documentary series, Those Magnificent Mules.

We’re proud of you, Jasper! Make sure that you’re part of the fun by checking out all of Jasper’s adventures On Demand!

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Mule Mama Update


Remember Chuchureña, the mule who gave birth to a healthy baby mule last September? Our friend Luzma Osorio sent us this update from Colombia, on the mule mama and her daughter, “La Bien Querida”:

I took some new pictures of the mule and her offspring last week, the baby is now three months old and she has grown a lot! They are gorgeous!!

Photos by Luzma Osorio, Criadero Villa Luz

What a beautiful, loving pair! Chuchureña truly proves that mules are good mothers, too!


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Mule Are Good Mothers, Too!


An excerpt of an amazing story from a friend of Lucky Three Ranch, Luzma Osorio, on the birth of a new mule in Colombia–and her mule mother!

Mule mama “Chucurena” with her daughter, “La bien querida.” Photo courtesy of Criadero Villa Luz.

They say mules cannot give birth and are hostile to foals, but the mule Chucurena has proved completely the opposite. On 25 September 2011, she gave birth to a beautiful baby mule in Colombia, South America, and she is proving to be a great mother!

Chucurena is a 3 ½ year old black mule from Hacienda El Cerro in Bucaramanga. She is very affectionate, produces lots of milk and she is always looking after her baby.

This miracle was achieved thanks to the Embryo transplant technique. An eight day old embryo was extracted from a mare and implanted in the mule’s womb to develop it. Embryo transplants are a complicated process that requires synchronizing the ovulating time in both females, in this instance it was carried out by the specialized Colombian veterinarian Hector Mendez.

The embryo was from a Paso Fino Mare called La Querencia and the Paso Fino Donkey Cosaco XVI de Villa Luz. The pregnancy was 11 months and the delivery was normal with no complications. The mule knew exactly what to do and behaved as an expert mother even if it was her first time! The baby is a female and it was called “La bien querida” (The much loved).

For more information on the Criadero Villa Luz, visit their website here.

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