LTR Blog

“The passion that Meredith Hodges feels for the equines that she has fought for all her adult life is still as fresh, inspiring and infectious as it was when she first discovered the world of horses, donkeys and mules. She has never wavered in her devotion to them and in her mission to carve a lasting and honored place for them in our world. They are lucky to have her as their champion, but Meredith actually sees it a bit differently. She feels honored and privileged to be a part of their world.”

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Ground Breaking – Raising the Barn

Hearts and Horses broke ground on a new arena where they will continue to change lives through therapeutic riding. The new arena will be called Lucky Hearts, as much of the funding for the arena was given by Lucky Three Ranch.


Hearts and Horses Raising the Barn Fundraiser


CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Yearly Baths: 7-14-20

Each year, I try to pick the hottest week in July to do the equine’s yearly baths. The mules and horses have shed out their winter coats, except for a strip of hair on the mules’ bellies, and the donkeys are getting closer to being completely shed out. This makes a difference when you are trying to get them dry after their baths. They all begin to grow their winter coats in September. Their natural hair coats will insulate them from the heat and cold and will protect them from insects, so I do ...
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LTR Training Tip #76: Canter Under Saddle in the Open Arena

 Starting your equine at canter in an open arena requires a systematic and simple approach to sustain good balance and posture. Download Detailed Description See more Training Tips ...
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MULE CROSSING: Fitting Tack Equipment

By Meredith Hodges Whether riding or driving, the comfort and fit of your tack and equipment is an important consideration if you wish to get the best performance from your equine. Any piece of equipment that does not correctly fit your equine can cause less than optimum performance. Consider, for instance, the bridle, which is such an important communication device. Do not select a harsh bit for control. Control comes from logical and sequential practices during training and not from force. The bit should be comfortable and be fitted correctly ...
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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Ground Driving Chasity: 7-7-20

Chasity continues to improve. We have cut the size of her obese, cresty neck by 70%. Her back is finally elevated. The spinal and abdominal muscles are much better conditioned and support her good posture. She has come a long way. She is submissive to the “Elbow Pull” and ready to begin her combination exercises in Lunging and Ground Driving. Chasity is happy that she gets to do these exercises with her “boyfriend,” Wrangler! He is her inspiration. They are so funny together! Chasity executes the gate perfectly and then stops to ...
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MULE CROSSING: Equine Behavior: Look Who’s Talking! Part 3

By Meredith Hodges In Part 1 of Equine Behavior: Look Who’s Talking, we discussed the evolution of man’s self-discovery and how he applied this to his approach to equines. If we want to manage our equines in a healthy way and accomplish even the most basic performance with them, there is much to consider during the training process. In Part 2 of Look Who’s Talking, we learned that equines are honest in nature and produce quick and honest reactions to a stimulus. Therapeutic Riding provides an exemplary teaching experience for ...
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MULE CROSSING: Equine Behavior: Look Who’s Talking! Part 2

By Meredith Hodges In Part 1 of Equine Behavior: Look Who’s Talking, we discussed the evolution of man’s self-discovery and how he applied this to his approach to equines. If we want to manage our equines in a healthy way and accomplish even the most basic performance with them, there is much to consider during the training process. In the not-so-distant past, the prevalent belief was that, if you had a reasonably large patch of grass with a fence around it, you could have a horse. We now know it ...
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WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: After the Winter Break: 3-29-21

Wrangler is such a goof ball! Because Wrangler would lock up in front of the Tack Barn and not want to walk over the grate, I got smart and learned to take Chasity to the Tack Barn first. Then, he didn’t even notice the grate and walked right in! However, he gets pretty rambunctious about waiting his turn. I could lead them both at once, but he needs to learn to be by himself with me sometimes...and BEHAVE! When I first got Wrangler, he would get excited like this and ...
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MULE CROSSING: Equine Behavior: Look Who’s Talking! Part 1

By Meredith Hodges What kind of equine handler are you? When interacting with your Longears or any equine, are you an observer or a participant? Are you fully aware of the reasons for your equine’s behaviors? Behavior in general is most often motivated by a stimulus that elicits a response, yet the early years of physiological development are most dependent on heredity. Heredity includes not only physical characteristics, but mental, emotional and instinctual behaviors as well. We are taught that if an equine’s knees are beginning to fuse, he is ...
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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Hot to Trot: 6-30-20

It was a rainy day, so I decided to have Chasity and Wrangler’s workout take place in the indoor arena Round Pen. I had not planned to film this workout, but since the Round Pen was a lot further from the Tack Barn than my outdoor Round Pen, I decided to take my chances and try to lead Chasity and Wrangler together! I thought that would be film-worthy for sure. Those of you that have tried to lead ONE donkey around puddles in the road and other such “scary things” know that you ...
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MULE CROSSING: Fine-Tuning the Aids

By Meredith Hodges While doing the exercises in balance by riding without the aid of your reins as described in DVD #5, you probably discovered a lot more shifting of your own balance than you imagined. This nearly imperceptible shift of balance, however, can grossly affect the balance of your equine. Until now, I have always given the rider a visual point of reference by allowing you to glance down at the outside front leg. Now you will want to be more inwardly conscious of your own body position. You ...
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WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Riding in the Open Arena: 10-6-20

A lot of people tell me they have problems when their jennets or molly mules are in heat. And, they expect the behaviors of their gelding to change drastically when they are castrated. In my experience, it really doesn’t make much difference if you have a fair and equitable management and training program. When their bodies are managed in a healthy way and they are consistently taught good manners, they will be willing and able to perform well regardless. I always approach training in a fair and equitable manner that does not throw ...
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From the SWISS BULLETIN: Project Mule Museum in Törbel

By Mariette Herzig and Josefine Jacksch Background The idea of creating a mule museum is already old. When the association "Interessengemeinschaft für das Maultier" (IGM) was founded 30 years ago, some members wished to realize this idea at some point. They started to collect everything about the mule and they could present small exhibitions in other museums in Switzerland. In 2007 the working group "Museum" was formed, in 2012 the association "Mule Museum Switzerland" was founded. Its task was to push the idea of a mule museum forward. Already in ...
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How a Sturdy Mule Triumphed Over 198 Champion Horses in the Great American Horse Race of 1976

We hope you enjoy this intriguing and inspiring article that was submitted by one of our contributing writers, Tara Edwards, Trimepil: Sometimes, miracles do happen. Such was the case in the not so distant 1976, when a proper underdog proved to be better than the competition. The competition being over 198 champion horses who were gunning for the title. A simple mule came out on top when put against some of the most treasured horses from all over the world. But was this outcome truly miraculous, or was it a ...
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