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


MULE CROSSING: Rewards, Treats, Coaxing and Bribing

By Meredith Hodges It is important to know the differences among rewards, treats, coaxing and bribing in order to correctly employ the reward system of training called Behavior Modification. Rule Number One: Treats and bribery should never be used during training. However, the appropriate dispensing of rewards and coaxing will produce the correct behaviors. In order to reward your equine correctly for performing tasks, it is important to know the difference between a reward and a treat, and between coaxing and bribing. Let’s begin with some basic definitions of these ...
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What’s New with Roll? Body Language & the Hourglass Pattern

7-2-18 Roll and I both needed some exercise, so we did a quick vacuuming, left the Tack Barn and headed for the dressage arena. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we opted to navigate the hourglass pattern on the lead line in his surcingle and “Elbow Pull” and did some core muscle work. When you routinely execute gates the same way, your equine will know what to expect... ...and he can always respond accordingly. Consistency breeds consistency. Accuracy breeds accuracy. Roll is so cooperative that he wants to help me ...
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MULE CROSSING: Owning an Equine Is Serious Business, Part 3

By Meredith Hodges As discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this article, there are many more things to think about before purchasing an equine than you could have ever imagined—from the actual purchase of the equine to the management considerations you need to be aware of on a daily basis. It is so important to always keep in mind that an equine is not an inanimate object like a car that you can tune up, drive (or, in this case, ride) at will, and then put back in the ...
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Another Augie and Spuds Adventure: Shenanigans in the Hayfields

6-6-18 Do you need some help with the lead ropes?    The saddle mules are headed for turnout. Where do you think we are going, Spuds? Looks like we’re headed for the hayfield, Augie! Looks like you were right, Spuds! Isn’t it beautiful, Augie?! What is that big yellow thing, Augie?! That’s Chad, Spuds...oh, you mean the swather?! How do you do, Augie? Now smile for the picture! How do you do, Spuds? Not so sure? WOW! That big thing sure makes a lot of noise! Now where are we ...
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Mule Finds at Theodul Pass

Swiss Mule Magazine 2018-1 This article is written by Elke Stadler and from my friend, Josefine, editor of the Swiss Mule Bulletin in Switzerland! Since we share a love for Longears, we like to share each other’s respective mule historical experiences with our friends and fans. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did! Thank you so much, Josefine! In the future, we look forward to more news from Switzerland in support of Longears: The Theodul Pass The name is derived from St. Theodul, the first ...
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Sybil Ludington: The Female Paul Revere

This article is a repost of Valerie DeBenedette's article at Mental Floss.   "… the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five: Hardly a man is now alive …" Yes, the famed Paul Revere set out on horseback on this day in 1775 to raise the alarm that British troops were on their way from Boston to Lexington. Revere rode about 20 miles through what is now Somerville, Medford, and Arlington, Massachusetts, knocking on doors to raise people to defend Lexington. Another rider, William Dawes, was sent by ...
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Compassionate Training – A Historical Example

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! Let’s go forward loving and learning together with our equine companions! When kindness is used in training, greatness can happen. That is the story of Beautiful Jim Key. The sickly colt was adopted by “Dr” William Key, a freed slave and self-taught veterinarian. Using his veterinary skills and training with no force, the colt grew into a healthy adult with some special abilities - he could read, write, spell, do math, tell time, sort mail, cite Bible passages, use a telephone and cash register. Together, they ...
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Mules and Donkeys in the Bible

When I posted this on Facebook about mules in the Bible… Origins: The mule is mentioned in mankind’s earliest records. Consider this passage from the Bible: “And Absolom met the servants of David. And Absolom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the Heavens and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away.” (II Samuel 18:9). If you choose to ride a mule, you ...
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Dressage Mule Slate Helps Spread Awareness of Working Equines

This is a repost from Brooke USA. Lexington, Ky.  - November 15, 2016 - Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Vicky Busch and her mule "Slate" continue to spread awareness of the plight of working equines in the developing world and the work of Brooke USA. Most recently Slate and his young rider, Busch's student Isabella Rodwig won their Training Level Test 3 class at the dressage schooling show at Amen Corner Farm in Folsom, LA. The pair did so in style and with a nod to Brooke USA, with ...
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Laura Hermanson & “Behold the Desert” to Compete in USDF Finals

While dressage has long-been regarded as a horse and Pony Club sport, Meredith Hodges opened the doors to mules in dressage in the United States Dressage Federation Schooling Shows in 1986. With the help of Carole Sweet and Leah Patton of the American Donkey and Mule Society in Lewisville, Texas, they were formally accepted by the United States Equestrian Federation at their convention in Los Angeles in 2004. Laura Hermanson has since taken full advantage of this amazing opportunity. In 2015, she qualified for the United States Dressage Federation Finals with her own mule, “Heart ...
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Breeding Letter from George Washington

A letter from George Washington, written in 1786, was recently put up for auction by bookseller William Reese. The letter is in regards to a donkey sent to Washington's Mount Vernon ranch for the purpose of breeding. Washington is well-known for his agricultural brilliance and for breeding the first American mule. The correspondence was written a during a breif period of retirement and a few years before Washington became president.  Washington writes: "Dear Sir, When your favor of the first inst., accompanying the she ass, came to this place, I was from home - ...
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The History of the Missouri Mule

The Missouri mule is a well-known symbol of American strength and perseverance, thanks to its significant contributions both within the state and throughout the country. Today, the mule still serves as Missouri's official state animal, so the connection remains strong. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has put together a great photo slideshow about the history of these iconic equines and their role in the Show-Me State—click here to see the full slideshow! ...
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Prey or Predators?

Are equines prey or predators? Although some trainers base their methods on the idea that equines should be approached as "prey," this blog post by Sara Annon explains that the answer may not be that simple. An excerpt: The real lesson in this is that the predator/prey model of horsemanship is inaccurate. Rodents are prey animals. Horses are herd animals.  Their enemy is the weather (click here  and here). Horses die from hypothermia in winter, drought in summer, and starvation when grazing is scarce. Weakened animals are picked off by ...
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An Ode to Days Past, Colorado Burro Racing in Full Swing

The following story is an excerpt from The Gazette. IDAHO SPRINGS - Long ago before his long beard and long hair turned white, Bill Lee thought about what to be. An oral storyteller, yes, because that, he felt, was a noble profession. That was needed in the ever- urbanizing West. But what to be? "I decided on the mountain man," said Lee, 67, reflecting in his log cabin, "because it was a really short-lived era in history." So he would go as the mountain man, fur coat and musket and ...
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