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: Train Your Own Mule!

By Meredith Hodges Mules and donkeys are wonderful animals. They’re strong, intelligent and what a sense of humor! But training a mule or donkey is different from training a horse. They require love patience, understanding and a good reward system. Negative reinforcement should be used sparingly and only to define behavioral limits. The result is an animal that is relaxed, submissive, obedient, dependable and happy with his work. Mule and donkey owners find it difficult to find trainers for their Longears because most horse trainers are unfamiliar with the psychological ...
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MULE CROSSING: Introduction to Behavior Modification, Part 1

By Meredith Hodges “Throughout history, mules and donkeys have been pegged as being stubborn and therefore stupid, but I have found just the opposite to be true. They are intelligent, sensitive animals, and they have a particularly strong survival instinct. They’ll go to great lengths to avoid danger or what they perceive as danger, and the process of training a mule or donkey is the process of earning their trust.” —Meredith Hodges, internationally recognized mule and donkey training expert When I began working with mules and donkeys, I quickly realized ...
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What’s New with Roll? Ground Driving the Pasture

8-31-18 Roll needed another core tune-up today, but every time we take him out, we need to document everything in photos and video. Normally we would work in the hourglass pattern, but we wanted better pictures than just the arena sand and fences so we decided to do some ground driving today in the 5-acre pasture instead. I had to tighten the reins that were tied up to the surcingle because he thought it might be nice to just lower his head and graze...that was not in the program! ...
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MULE CROSSING: Suitability of Donkeys and Mules For Children

 By Meredith Hodges  Many have inquired as to the suitability of mules and donkeys for children. As with any equine, choosing the right individual for your child is of primary importance. However, as a general rule, we find that donkeys make excellent mounts for beginning riders because of their patient, quiet nature and good common sense. They can be the best possible babysitter. There are things to consider when choosing a donkey for your child: The first rule to observe is never get a donkey jack for your child! Though ...
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From the SWISS BULLETIN: The last packer of Zermatt Belvedere

Please enjoy this article from our friend, Josefine at the SWISS BULLETIN. Mules have made their mark helping people with their tasks all around the world and their stories are nothing short of amazing!  Loving Longears is something special that we all have in common despite our different languages. Read it, below: The last packer of Zermatt Belvedere Mules in the service of transport and travel in ancient times  By Alban Lorenz The Valais lies in the southwest of Switzerland and is our little California. This canton is known for ...
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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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