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“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.

 

Latest Mule Talk! Podcast Appearance – Mule & Donkey Movies & TV Shows

When working with the Longears, we do not set up the filming to get the perfect shots. We actually do everything at the time the equines are learning so people will know what to expect. This kind of training takes time and precision in communication with the animals to produce the results one would need for getting them to do anything and everything perfectly. And, it is a never-ending process! All the filming and documentation we do is to undeniably validate the integrity and quality of our management and training program. With this kind of foundation, the Longears training is impeccable and they are ready, willing and able for photos and filming.

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MULE TALK! PODCAST: Mule & Donkey Movies & TV Shows

When working with the Longears, we do not set up the filming to get the perfect shots. We actually do everything at the time the equines are learning so people will know what to expect. This kind of training takes time and precision in communication with the animals to produce the results one would need for getting them to do anything and everything perfectly. And, it is a never-ending process! All the filming and documentation we do is to undeniably validate the integrity and quality of our management and training ...

MULE CROSSING: Mule & Donkey Movies & TV Shows

By Meredith Hodges
  • Does the Lucky Three Ranch participate in filming? Since my parents gave me a Brownie camera when I was five years old, I have been fascinated with taking pictures. They also gave me a diary after I learned to write. When I got older and began my interaction and training with mules in 1973, I always documented those interactions with my mules and donkeys in pursuit of learning the best way to manage and train them. I wanted to give them the best opportunity to exceed ...

MULE CROSSING: Donkey Training, Part 8

By Meredith Hodges Now it is time for your donkey to learn to move laterally. Lateral movements are essential to the overall balance and posture of your donkey. It will improve muscle strength throughout his body and will reduce the risk of injury or soreness while he is being ridden or driven. You can begin his lateral work on the drivelines in the large arena. Begin by driving your donkey through the hourglass pattern (after review). As he approaches the first corner cone, ask him to circle it and then ...

Wrangler’s Donkey Diary: Sarcoid Treatment

7-20-18 Wrangler has almost completely shed out and during my last weekly grooming, I discovered a small sarcoid on his left forearm and decided to consult with my veterinarian, Greg Farrand. Wrangler munched in the fanny pack while we talked. Dr. Farrand Carefully inspected the sarcoid and determined that it was not a candidate for removal because of it’s precarious location. There was no way to grab loose skin around it like there was with prior sarcoids on other animals. I shaved the area around the sarcoid so we could get a good look ...

MULE CROSSING: Donkey Training, Part 7

By Meredith Hodges If your donkey has any problems with the trot after the previously described exercises, it will probably be in the hourglass pattern while under saddle. If he has difficulty maintaining the trot through the turns and serpentines through the middle, and continues to bulge either one way or the other, you can try one more thing to help him. Have your assistant ride a seasoned animal through the pattern ahead of you while you follow a few strides behind. Don’t ride too close, or too far away ...

MULE TALK! PODCAST: On the Trail with Mules

Mules are remarkably strong and durable animals, making them excellent mountain partners. The cupped shape of their hooves allows them to track the rough mountain terrain being much more surefooted than their counterpart, the horse. A mule’s superior intelligence and strong sense of survival help him to carefully negotiate the placement of his feet, insuring the safest ride possible. This is both important and comforting to know when heading for the mountains. The mule’s strength and endurance are sometimes unbelievable, but always dependable. On a hunting trip, he will take ...

MULE CROSSING: On the Trail with Mules

By Meredith Hodges With the hectic schedule of spring and summer slowly tapering into fall, thoughts of cool, refreshing mountain streams, the sight of a massive bull elk, or the quiet majesty of the rugged mountain peaks on a relaxing trail ride, mountain hunt or pack trip begin to ease their way into our minds. What better time to share with your mule or donkey? What better place for him to show you what he was born to do? A mountain trail ride or pack trip are both perfect ways ...

Wrangler’s Donkey Diary: Second Lesson Day

6-4-18 Even though Wrangler is nearing ten years old in this post, and has been ridden before, my approach to training is always the same way with all of my animals…as if they have never been trained. They need the highly structured Core Strength Leading Exercises in the Hourglass Pattern first, followed by adding Coordination over and through obstacles, straight through them to oversome fear and build confidence, and later, broken down into very small Balancing tasks. Once they have solidified their good posture and ideal body carriage, only then ...

MULE CROSSING: Donkey Training, Part 6

By Meredith Hodges By walking your donkey through all the different phases of training, and before going on to the trot, you have given yourself and your donkey an opportunity to learn to negotiate and perfect your movements before you ask for speed. This allows for a lot more perfection of coordination to take place, so things are less likely to fall apart when you do add a little speed. This is the most obvious difference between mules or horses and donkeys. Horses and mules are difficult to slow down ...

MULE TALK! PODCAST: Surge of Mule Shows

Mule shows are now so numerous that it is becoming very difficult to decide which ones to attend. Years ago, our mules were not necessarily welcome at horse competitions, and today that has changed as well – making our decisions about where to compete is even more complicated. It is truly amazing to see the tremendous growth in popularity of the mule over the past 30 to 40 years, but then I guess it was inevitable given all their redeeming qualities! It really isn't that unusual that people would begin ...

MULE CROSSING: Surge of Mule Shows

By Meredith Hodges I remember back in 1982 when summer came and we had to search high and low for shows in which we could compete with our mules! As they say, "You've come a long way, baby!" Mule shows are now so numerous that it is becoming very difficult to decide which ones to attend. Years ago, our mules were not necessarily welcome at horse competitions, and today that has changed as well – making our decisions about where to compete is even more complicated. It is truly amazing ...

MULE CROSSING: Donkey Training, Part 5

By Meredith Hodges By now your donkey should be getting much better at his turns on the forehand and haunches on the lead line. He should be leading easily at the walk and trot and squaring up while stopped. He should be lunging at the walk and trot in the round pen, and ground-driving at the walk in the round pen, both straight and through turns and reverses. He should be walking and trotting with a rider in the round pen, without the assistant. He should be both ground-driving and ...

MULE CROSSING: Donkey Training, Part 4

By Meredith Hodges You have, thus far, begun to teach your donkey several things: how to begin to execute the turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches, how to walk forward in a round pen from the lunge whip without a saddle or harness (then with the saddle and harness), on the drivelines, and while being ridden. He has also begun to learn how to “trot on” from the lunge whip while tacked up, and how to walk and trot on the lead with an assistant aiding from ...