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: Handling Your Mule’s Ears

By Meredith Hodges Just how sensitive is a mule about having his ears touched? If a mule is handled often and properly, he should be no more sensitive about his ears than he is about any other part of his body. However, if he is rarely handled, mishandled or handled roughly, he can become quite sensitive about any part of his body and in particular, his ears. Bearing this in mind, take the time to desensitize your mule to touch and handling by paying attention to how he likes to ...
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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Chasity’s First Chiropractic Adjustment: 5-21-20

Although we were working on uneven ground in Chasity’s last lesson which made getting in sync very difficult, it was clear that it was time for a chiropractic adjustment of her skeletal system. Doing chiropractic adjustments can put the practitioner in very precarious positions, so it is wise to build trust with the animal before attempting to do these kinds of adjustments to their body. After more than a month of intensive care, Chasity has learned that we have her best interest at heart and is more than willing to cooperate with anything we ...
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WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Lunge Line Lessons: 7-22-20

I have found that Wrangler and Chasity truly appreciate my consistent and predictable way of dealing with them. Donkeys can be very difficult sometimes, but in my experience, when they know what to expect, there is a lot less resistant behaviors. They appreciate verbal interaction and like to be told when they are doing well, and respond very well to a consistent and firm “No” when they are not doing what I ask. Donkeys do not like confusion and chaos! Lunging a donkey on a lunge line in an open area may seem like an ...
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MULE CROSSING: Differences Among Horses, Mules and Donkeys

By Meredith Hodges After discussing this with my veterinarian, Greg Farrand from Fort Collins, Colorado, we both agree that since horses, mules and donkeys are all equines, it would be difficult to make any distinction among these three types of animals with regard to their vital signs: pulse respiration and temperature. They would all fall within the designated ranges below that are excerpted from my book, “A Guide to Raising & Showing Equines." The only real differences would be with regard to each individual equine and not among groups of ...
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MULE CROSSING: Shoulder-In and Lengthening the Trot

By Meredith Hodges In order to perform the shoulder-in properly, it is important to understand its purpose. The shoulder-in causes the equine to engage his hindquarters so that they carry the bulk of his weight, giving him more freedom and suppleness in his shoulders and front quarters. A strong base must be established to carry this weight forward while the shoulders remain light and free to proceed forward while tracking laterally. The shoulder-in is done on a straight line. Normally, an animal traveling in a straight line makes two tracks ...
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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Circles and Stretching: 5-19-20

5-19-20 Chasity is continuing to gain core strength, balance and even has a little “prance” in her step these days. The bacterial infection is almost gone and she is eagerly waiting at the stall door for her lessons each week. She gets structured leading exercises in her proper postural “gear” and in between, she has other things happening on other days like daily “soaking” of her infection, vet appointments and the farrier. Today, we will add circles at every cone to increase the intensity of her workout. Stretching is done more frequently now ...
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MULE CROSSING: Dancing with Mules

By Meredith Hodges Lucky Three Sundowner was foaled at my mother’s Windy Valley Ranch in Healdsburg, California in June of 1980. Two weeks later he and his dam, Candy Etta, an AQHA registered mare, were shipped to the Lucky Three Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, where we continued the superior mule breeding and training program that my mother had started. Sunny was a tall, gangly little bay mule foal with an affectionate and willing attitude. His show career began at halter and progressed to Western Pleasure and Reining by the time ...
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WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Ground Driving with Chasity: 7-7-20

Wrangler is really beginning to enjoy his time working with me and helping with Chasity’s training! I think he is also happy to have someone he can be with in turnout after three years of being by himself... although a gelding, he’s just too rambunctious to be turned out with any of the others! They definitely form groups and it is wise to pay attention to the groups they choose...mid-aged mules together, minis together, older equines together and donkey families together. Wrangler LOVES his new friend, Chasity! They both truly enjoy the workouts we do ...
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MULE CROSSING: Hoof Differences in Horses, Donkeys and Mules

By Meredith Hodges The old saying, “No foot, no mule” is literally true, as it is in any nomadic animal. If the hooves are not trimmed and balanced properly, it will offset the balance of the equine’s entire body and can compromise longevity in the animal because his entire internal structure will be compromised. Most equines will need to be trimmed or shod every 6-8 weeks whether horse, mule or donkey. Horse’s hooves in general are proportionately larger, rounder and more angled than that of the donkey or mule. The ...
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CHASITY’S CHALLENGES: Stretching the Spine for Optimum Flexibility: 5-5-20

5-5-20 Chasity was very stiff and compromised through her whole body when she first arrived. She was extremely rigid over the top line and could not flex from the poll at all, much less through her entire spine. The “Elbow Pull” self-correcting restraint and work in the Hourglass pattern has helped her to be more flexible in her head and neck, and has produced some flexion through her back. Now we are going to ask her to extend that flexion the whole length of her spine. She has been learning how to stay ...
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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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From the SWISS BULLETIN: The Mule as a Workhorse in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages

By Elke Stadler The history of mankind is closely connected with the use of the working force of animals. Animal power was of special importance in transport and traffic - before motorization it was the only available movable driving force, almost at any time and versatile. What people themselves could not wear or pull; oxen, mules, horses and donkeys carried or pulled. In the past, despite their essential importance for working life and the economy, the working animals were hardly noticed in literature. The work of the animals was so ...
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