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


Sad Loss for Longears Industry: Goodbye to Crystal Ward

A professional trainer, judge and animal inspector, Crystal Ward owned the Ass Pen Ranch in Placerville, California, where she raised and trained horse, mules and donkeys. The first year she came to Bishop Mule Days was in 1979. She happened to be coming through Bishop on vacation and it really intrigued her. She thought the mules were simply outstanding. Crystal had a show career with horses, but the following year she decided she had to own a mule. She showed up the next year with a horse trailer in tow, and ...
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John Henry: Rocking Mule

My good friend, Tennessee mule artist Bonnie Shields, recently introduced me to sculptor Dennis Page from the Rocking Horse Ranch in Riverton, Utah. Dennis is working on a hand-carved “rocking mule” that is modeled after Bonnie’s ceramic sculpture of Kathleen Conklin’s Champion Driving mule, John Henry. I am so impressed with Dennis’s work that I decided to purchase the wood-sculpted rocker. What an amazing addition it will be to the Loveland Longears Museum and Sculpture Park here at Lucky Three Ranch! Kathleen Conklin sent me some really nice pictures, his ...
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Jasper: A Christmas Caper on Rural TV

Jasper the Mule stops by your TV screen once again this Christmas! Celebrate Christmas with Jasper and all his friends as Jasper: A Christmas Caper airs on Rural TV (Dishnet Channel 232) on Christmas Eve. It's the Christmas season and Jasper and his human family are in high spirits as they travel to visit far-away friends a few towns over. When Jasper and his pal, Moxie the dog, get out of the yard and wander down a strange alley, the two friends are headed straight for one big adventure! Presents ...
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Jasper: A Turkey Tale on Rural TV

Jasper the Mule returns to your TV screen this holiday season! Celebrate Thanksgiving with Jasper and all his friends as Jasper: A Turkey Tale airs on Rural TV (Dishnet Channel 232) this week. As the gang prepares for the big Thanksgiving celebration, Jasper the Mule and his pal, Moxie the Dog, are hot on the trail of adventure! A mishap with a truckload of turkeys turns into a real live mystery, as the boys solve the case of “The Beady Eyes in the Bushes!” When they make a new friend who is ...
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Goodbye to Homer

Our hearts go out to Connie Bartels for the loss of her beloved Homer, longtime friend and loyal companion. He will be missed. “Sunday when we rode while I was taking his tack off I was talking to him telling him what a good boy he is and what a good ride we had. Then I hugged him tightly as I always do....he knew me, and he liked me a lot. To think that I will never ride him again is heart wrenching to me. He was my good ...
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Modern Day Mule Train

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, artist Lauren Bon, in collaboration with Metabolic Studio and the LA Department of Water and Power, is retracing the steps of the aqueduct's original construction, from Owens Valley to LA--with a 100 mule pack train. Their journey started on October 18, and the convoy is expected to arrive at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Griffith Park on November 11, with stops along the way at the Lone Pine Rodeo Grounds, Jawbone Canyon, and the Hansen Dam. The mules are ...
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Romulus and Remus, A Big Pair of Asses…

(Equus africanus asinus, to be exact!) This is a special entry by Phil Yellott, owner of Romulus, who has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Largest Donkey. Cara and I wanted to get a couple of donkeys for guard animals. We saw a couple of mammoth donkeys on Craigslist, who were very skinny and underfed. We contacted the owner, and were able to negotiate a price so we could get them. We named them Romulus and Remus after the legendary founders of the Roman ...
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Goodbye to Buddie Stockwell

We were sorry to hear about longtime mule skinner Buddie Stockwell. We appreciate all the work that Buddy put into mules in Colorado with the Rocky Mountain Longears Association. Here is one of my favorite stories about Buddy. In the fall of 1984, Loveland, Colorado muleskinner Buddie Stockwell and horseshoer Jerry Banks, along with a few friends, decided to make a hunting trip into the Rocky Mountains. Packing in, the weather was beautiful with warm temperatures, calm breeze, and nary a hint of what was to come. After setting up ...
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Biggest Equine Parade in the World

Mules and donkeys have a way of bringing folks together no matter where you are from. Here are our friends from Criadero Villa Luz in Colombia riding in the Cabalgata feria de las flores parade on their lovely Paso Fino mules, with friends from the British Mule Society. There were 8,333 horses and 1,600 mules in the parade--wow! ...
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Going for Gold

We are very excited to announce that our gorgeous revised edition of Training Mules & Donkeys has won the GOLD medal in the Pets & Animals category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards. We're very proud of the work we've done on the book, and it's great to see it being recognized. Many congratulations to our hardworking staff and to the longears that inspired the book! ...
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Happy Hinnies!

This story comes from our friend, Luzma Osorio, of Criadero Villa Luz in Colombia. You may remember her previous posts about the mule mother on their ranch! Very little has been written about Hinnies--most of the time it is unfavourable comments and myths due to lack of knowledge about them. Until now, very few people have bred Hinnies because of speculation about their size and behavior; they are said to be very small and difficult. Typically a breeder or a farmer may only have one Hinny and several mules; ...
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One Size Fits All? Not for Equines

An article in the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports that one-third of recreational riders are too obese for their equines, putting the animals at risk for health problems including lameness and back pain, citing a study from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. This is a big issue for equine health, as an equine expected to carry a rider that is too heavy for him can cause both physical and behavioral problems. Rules like "the rider's weight should be 10% of the equine's" are often used as a general guideline, but are ...
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Extreme Cowboy Race Washington

We love seeing people with great relationships with their equines, and here's a thrilling example of what training and teamwork can really accomplish. Ray Woodside and his mule, Willie, made a great showing in the Extreme Cowboy Race at the Washington State Horse Expo--check out the video below, and thanks to Jehnet for passing it along! ...
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Little Jack Horner and “Caramelo” Critique

To the untrained eye, “Caramelo’s” performance might seem quite amazing! However, to those of us who know the elements of dressage training, it is evident that this jack is not doing all these amazing movements correctly. The saddle has not been placed properly over his center of balance, so the rider is putting undue stress on his front quarters. This is why you can see over-development in the neck and shoulders while the hindquarters show some comparative weakness. The rider’s position is actually prohibiting correct engagement from the hindquarters. It ...
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A Sad Goodbye to Our Friend Cliff

With heavy hearts, we at Lucky Three Ranch say goodbye to our good friend, Cliff Uber. Cliff was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. His grace, courage and sense of humor will be missed. A selection of the official statement from Hearts and Horses is below: It is with an incredibly heavy heart that we announce the passing of our rider, volunteer, trainer and dear friend Cliff Uber. For ten years he has graced us all with his beautiful presence, infectious smile, sense of peace and patience and a ...
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