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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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Hearts & Horses  |  Historical  |  Interviews  |  Jasper

Longears People News  |  Longears Videos  |  Lucky Three Ranch

Military Mules  |  Mule Talk! Podcasts  |  Pack Burro Racing

Showing  |  Statues & Exhibits  |  Training  |  Training Tips

 

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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 & Horses Virtual Tour

Haven’t made it out to the Hearts & Horses ranch yet? Here’s your chance, thanks to our brand new virtual tour! Discover all of the state-of-the-art facilities designed to heal minds, bodies, and spirits at our 23-acre ranch in Loveland, Colorado.

Latest Podcast

MULE TALK! PODCAST: Getting Down with Minis

Getting Down with Minis

Learn about:

  • How to earn their trust at their level.
  • Approaching your mini in a non-threatening way.
  • Haltering and leading your mini.
  • Lungeing your minis.
  • Keep your lessons short and fun!
  • How to introduce object to your mini.
  • Ground driving your mini.
  • The do’s and don’ts are so important.
  • Grooming is not all that easy.

LISTEN NOW

Learn more on Mule Talk podcast.

All Posts

MULE CROSSING: Riding Side Saddle (Aside)

By Meredith Hodges INTRODUCTION I was born LOVING horses in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1950. I got a pair of chaps and a “bouncing” horse when I was six years old. My Grandmother was always teaching me about Good Posture and Good Manners. She once wanted to take me on a shopping trip to the local mall and requested that I put on one of my frilly dresses. She told me that all the little girls would be wearing them and I flatly refused! You don’t ride horses in frilly dresses! ...

MULE CROSSING: The Equine in Motion

By Meredith HodgesI have done extensive work in training equines for many years and it seems you can never learn enough. If you learn how to ask the right questions, there is always something more to learn just around the corner. It is no secret that things can happen when you push limits and you can get what might seem to be the right results, but then you have to ask yourself…really? You may, for instance get your young Reining prospect to do a spin, but then you should ask ...

WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Wrangler’s Runaway: 9-1-20

Wrangler has been a happy camper since we acquired Chasity. Before that, he was so rambunctious that there was no one else that could be in turnout with him and I had limited time to work with him. He and Chasity are the same size and the same age, so they do get along very well. I still have to make training judgments when working with them. He helped me to get Chasity moving freely in the Round Pen during her first lessons, but lately, he has been annoying her while lunging which does ...

Melinda’s Masterpiece “Lindy”

LUCKY THREE MELINDA'S MASTERPIECE was one of our brightest "Stars" here at the Lucky Three! She was a loving, calm and intelligent mare mule, foaled here in 1990 by "Little Jack Horner" and out of "Lucky Three Mytikas," a registered Thoroughbred mare. Lindy never gave us a bit of trouble...ever! She was three years old when we were filming Tapes # 4: Basic Foundation for Saddle and Tape #5: Intermediate Saddle Training. She learned EVERYTHING that she did on those tapes on camera for the very first time in only ...

MULE CROSSING: Leverage Versus Abuse

By Meredith Hodges “Leverage” equipment refers to any restraining device or substance that is used to get an equine’s attention and obtain compliance, but many leverage practices often have the reverse effect and have the potential to cause distress and pain. This includes harsh bits, chain leads, twitches, hobbles, stocks and even medications. There are times when our equines can really be a handful, so having a little leverage when needed can be a good thing. However, deciding which equipment to use and learning how to use leverage without it ...

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 ...

MULE CROSSING: Driving Activities

By Meredith Hodges With the introduction of the automobile came decreased interest in horse-drawn vehicles. Tractors replaced equine-driven vehicles in the fields. It seemed as if equines had been put out of a job! But, as with any change, this was only temporary. Modern society still has need of equine participation, especially from donkeys and mules. The well-schooled driving donkey or mule is much safer and more reliable than any horse. The reason for this is the donkey and mules' natural sensibility and their positive response to verbal communication. Once ...

MULE CROSSING: Showing in Harness

By Meredith Hodges Now that you have spent many months teaching your mule to drive and he is doing so well, you have decided that it might be fun to show him in harness. So, what are that kinds of things that a judge looks for in a driving class of mules? Well, it's basically the same as it is with horses. The first and foremost consideration for a judge is your mule's manners. His manners will exhibit just how safe your mule is for driving. As with people, a ...

MULE CROSSING: Jumping Mules

By Meredith Hodges In 1986, when I first began using my mules in Dressage, you would never have convinced me that I would follow it up with jumping. I was fearful of jumping because of a few bad experiences I had with horses. However, once I took the time to learn to ride and train properly with Dressage and experienced the overall stability of a mule, my fear disappeared. Nowadays, when people find out that I jump my mules and my donkeys, the response is often, “I didn’t know mules ...

MULE CROSSING: Hauling Long Distances

By Meredith Hodges Hauling long distances needn’t be a problem with your Longears, if you use a little common sense and consideration. Their natural durability and good sense make them basically easier to haul than horses. When hauling for more than four or five hours, there are a few things to consider. Be sure to have your Health Papers and recent Coggins tests done for the trip. You will need them to cross state lines. If you need to carry firearms with you, be sure to look into the state ...

MULE CROSSING: Breeding Quality Mules

By Meredith Hodges In the past, mares unsuitable for improved horse-breeding programs were the mares used for mule breeding. Looks and conformation were of little concern, since the animal that was produced had limited use for draft and farm work. In 1967, with the founding of the American Donkey & Mule Society, a new type of mule began to emerge—the American Saddle Mule—limited only by the imagination in his uses. As the mule’s popularity grew, so did the need for more carefully organized breeding programs to try to produce only ...

Breeding

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Donkey Training

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Farewells

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General Interest

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Hearts & Horses

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Historical

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! (You may need to reload the page when you get there.) ...

Veterans Day and Longeared Soldiers

Today we honor the sacrifices that our brave enlisted men and women have made to protect and serve our country. Throughout history, mules have also played an important part, serving alongside soldiers. One occasion where their value cannot be underestimated was the Burma Offensive of World War II. The 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) or more commonly known as Merrill's Marauders was a US Army long-range penetration special operations jungle warfare unit. In addition to its specially trained soldiers, it also included mules. The mules came from Missouri, Texas and Tennessee and ...
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Interviews

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Jasper

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Longears People News

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Longears Videos

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Lucky Three Ranch

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Military Mules

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Mule Talk! Podcasts

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Pack Burro Racing

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Showing

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Statues & Exhibits

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Training

MULE CROSSING: Choosing the Right Jack

By Meredith Hodges When choosing a jack to breed to your mares and jennets, there are many important factors to consider. Conformation is the most obvious, but size, type, disposition and genetics are equally significant. As a direct result of the donkey’s evolution our choices in jacks are considerably limited these days. In the days when donkeys were widely used as beasts of burden, conformational soundness was an important consideration in their ability to do physical work. Today, the donkey is not as widely used in this manner, becoming more of ...

Training Tips

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