December 2010
In This Issue
What's New?
Featured Product
Jasper's Corner
Longears Limelight
Training Tip
From Our Readers
Greetings From ADMS!
Bonnie's Bit

What's New?

Look for us on Facebook and Twitter. Join the fun!

Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFind me on Facebook

Follow Lucky Three Ranch on Twitter and get the lowdown on what's up!
And be part of the Longears community-share your thoughts with Meredith on Facebook. Be sure to click "like" to join both the Lucky Three Ranch and the Meredith Hodges fan pages.

Check out our foreign translations of the Equus Revisited DVD and manual.

AND ...

Jasper is also excited to announce his new Scene Maker Game in Just For Kids, on his website at This game can not only give you wonderful coloring book or story pages-it also tests your skills as a longears competitor in Barrel Racing, English and Western Pleasure, Jumping and Driving!


Featured Product

Jasper: A Christmas Caper

We are excited to announce the arrival of Jasper the Mule'snew sequel DVD, Jasper: A Christmas Caper. This time, Jasper and the gang make some great new friends, solve a real mystery and get to be in the big Christmas Parade! This is a "must-have" for getting the whole family into the Christmas spirit, or as a special gift for under the tree.  Order your set online at


Jasper's Corner

Jasper's Corner

Jasper wants to send out a big "Wahoo!" to McClintock's Saddlery in Descanso, California, and to Pierre's Costumes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for making him a new pair of wooly chaps and a 10-gallon hat! "Thanks, Pardners!"

Looking for a gift for the kids that's wholesome, positive and fun? The Jasper the Mule books series offers five delightful tales of adventure; each designed to help develop young minds and build character. These stories, beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Shields, educate as they entertain. Meredith has included some challenging vocabulary words and a detailed glossary in each book.


She's also peppered in information about proper equine training and care. And she's made sure that each book gives kids something they can take out into the world with them: a lesson about love and friendship and encouragement to always do your best. A book for every season and made to last for generations, the Jasper the Mule book and DVD series is sure to make you and your child smile.


And now-yours to own on DVD!
Jasper: The Story of a Mule, Jasper Goes to Bishop, and Jasper: A Christmas Caper. State-of-the-art animation, exciting stories, unforgettable music and Jasper! What a combination! What a great Christmas gift idea! And coming in time for Valentine's day - Jasper: A Precious Valentine!

Longears Limelight

Cady Ness-Smith and Seymour were so honored to be chosen for the World Equestrian Games They were there Sept 29-Oct 2, and were on the schedule for the Equine Village arena each day for the BLM. 

            Seymour was a huge hit with the crowd, especially spectators from other countries. Seymour is a 13-year-old Jack adopted by Cady from the BLM 11 years ago.  He rides and drives, and he has spent the past six years competing against horses in carriage driving, combined driving, and distance driving.  He loves driven dressage and cones. 


Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Forward to a Friend

Meredith Hodges
Dear Friends,

I can't believe we are at year's end already! Time flies when you're having fun. Actually, I think the older we get, the faster time goes by. The great thing is that, no matter how old you are, your mules and donkeys will continue to love you. They don't seem to care about wrinkles!

We had a wonderful four days at the World Equestrian Games! There is no doubt that we saw some beautiful equines and incredible horsemen! The night that we arrived, we met up with interviewer Wayne Williams from the TV show Speaking of Horses, airing on satellite. The next day, he interviewed Leah Patton, registrar of the American Donkey & Mule Society, and me. We witnessed truly gorgeous and impeccable dressage driving with four-in-hand and the incredible show jumping finals.

On Saturday afternoon at Equifest in downtown Lexington, Leah and I were invited to have a booth and do a presentation about donkeys and mules. Bob and Jenny Arnold of Frankfort, Kentucky, donated their 16hh Mammoth jennet, Remedy, for the exhibition, and she did an extraordinary job of representing her breed.

On Sunday, it was back to the farm to catch up on everything after being gone for four straight days. That is always a BIG "not-so-surprise," and it took me a good week just to get caught up on the office work. You think it is a chore to go to the dentist yourself...well, try having dental appointments for 29 equines! After several weeks, we finally got through all the equine dental work.

It is truly amazing that we can even get it done when you realize how much time and effort it takes. It's just a good thing we only have to do it every other year. I helped with so much "dental work" on the equines that I was compelled to cancel my own dental appointment and reschedule in January!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Meredith Hodges

Training Tip:

Question: My four-year-old donkey bites and nips. I have tried everything! I tried smacking him and saying, "No." I have tried spraying him with water and saying, "No." He doesn't run away. He keeps going at us! He already bit a big chunk off my brother and I don't want my friends to be afraid of him. He's just so stubborn! Any suggestions?

Answer: This donkey sounds as if he needs VERY SPECIFIC ground manners. Contrary to popular belief, feeding a reward for doing things correctly does not encourage biting and can actually prevent it when executed correctly. I have described the approach below. Just remember that he should be given a treat of crimped oats -and that is what he should be getting fed and not horse feeds, as they will promote biting, too-and only when he completes a task.

If he becomes aggressive about getting his oats reward, you will need to use negative reinforcement to correct this. Limiting behaviors, or negative reinforcement, is covered in DVD #2 of our resistance-free DVD training series. If your equine gets too close or pushy, you should slap him firmly on the side of the mouth with a flat hand, say, "No" very loudly, and turn your hand over and up like a stop sign. Then he will step back, fling his head sideways and back, at which point you should tell him, "Good, Boy (or Girl)" and give him a reward for giving you your space. The next time, you should only have to put your hand up and say, "No!" The animal should then be willing to back up for the reward when you put your hand up like a stop sign, but you still need to be very meticulous and consistent about when the reward is given and when correction is truly needed. Equines who receive the crimped oats rewards will also learn to be very careful about biting fingers while taking things from your hand. Animals that don't get this kind of practice may not be as careful.

From Our Readers

Dear Meredith,

Thank you again for letting us visit your wonderful ranch. We both enjoyed it very much and were excited to learn about the gift you have to offer your equines, as well as being able to educate and inform us folks in such a friendly, knowledgeable manner. Hope to visit you again.

Pat and Dave

Greetings from ADMS!

Fall turns to winter, and our thoughts turn to...?

Greetings from Texas, where the temperature and weather are never predictable. One day it's in the high 80s, the next, we won't see 37 for a high. This makes for some miserable humans with colds, allergies, and never knowing when you'll need a coat, mittens, long underwear or shorts!

Our animals don't seem to be as bothered by all of the changes as we are, but occasionally you will see a donkey, mule or horse that has true allergies. Itching, hives, runny nose, watery eyes: these can be symptoms of an equine with allergies, or, in some cases, of a sick animal. It's important to try and see which it might be!

Have you switched hay types or suppliers? If you pick up a flake of hay and shake it, is it dusty?  Does it smell clean and fresh or sour? Is the center of the bale still bright, or is the hay all drab and colorless? How is it stored? How do you feed it to your mules?

You'll find as many suggestions as there are owners when it comes to feeding. Some prefer hay racks, some feed off the ground, some use rubber tubs. A head-down eating position is normal for equines (think grazing), but feeding in a rack helps prevent waste.  Racks can be the cause of some "allergy" symptoms in mules or donkeys, if the bits of chaff fall down into their eyes. If your animal has a hay dust-covered face, you might want to reconsider the height or type of hayrack used.

Also be sure and evaluate your pastures, even in wintertime. What kind of grass and weeds are still above ground? Do you have more weed than grass? Can you even identify some of the plants? There are dangerous plants that can cause injury to equines in small amounts. These often take over pastures that are stripped and over-grazed. Looking at the condition of your pasture all year round can help you make a decision as to maintenance. Re-seeding is often necessary, as is pasture rotation.

If you are in a climate where there is going to be wet snow covering your pasture a good portion of the winter, make sure your mules and donkeys have access to a dry area, such as a barn. Blankets may not always be necessary, but relief from the cold and wet are!  Make sure you don't have soggy hooves from standing in wet for days on end!

Before the weather gets really bad, do a once-over on your fence lines, and especially in shelters and stalls. Make certain that the roof is sound and not leaking, or has loose shingles/boards. All boards should be solid, not loose. A loose board is an accident waiting to happen with equines. Run a hand over areas where nails or screws are used and make sure there aren't any protruding. A few minutes of preventative care will save you the heartache and money involved in an emergency vet visit if (or when) your animal is injured.

Everyone stay warm and safe and have a happy holiday season!

Leah Patton,

Office manager, ADMS

The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc. PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067 (972) 219-0781. Newsletter: the BRAYER magazine, 112 pgs 6X/yr, $23 US, $30 Canada, $45 overseas. We now accept Paypal, Visa/MC (+$1 courtesy fee appreciated). Reg info, forms, fees on our website at

Bonnie's Bit

Ok, I am gonna pick it up from September. The weekend after Labor Day is Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise, Oregon and my usual helper/change-maker/slave, Cheryl Mundee, and the fierce Elizabeth, the Jack Russell bodyguard, accompanied me again this year. This is steadily growing into a fine show with good mules and jackstock and events for just about everyone through the whole weekend. Mine was topped off by winning the game where squares are sold off on a grid and you try to pick the square the mule dumps on. I DID IT! It was "clean-livin" that did it, as I was about the last one to buy a square and there were only three left unclaimed. Not exactly like winning the lottery, but just as much fun.

The next adventure was the big draft horse/mule show held right there in Sandpoint, Idaho, the INTERNATIONAL. Once again, Cheryl came up to help me with all the cash (?) and the crowds. I have had a booth at this show since I hit Sandpoint some 30 years ago, and I get to do their shirt designs and lots of other souvenirs of the event. It is a good opportunity for the locals to see just what it is that I do all year long-­or so they tell me.

A week after that show, north Idaho was hit with one of those gorgeous fall days full of warm sunshine and blue sky. I just couldn't stand it. I HAD to ride my mule, Porter. So I saddled up, but noticed my old friend wasn't looking all that good, though he was, otherwise, his usual self, so off we set for a stroll over to the local general store for lunch.

About a mile from our destination, we were stopped in the road by a fella in a pickup, and he wanted me to know he had just seen a sow black bear and two cubs in an apple tree by the road about a quarter-mile further. I know he expected this old lady on this mule to turn around and retreat, but I knew my mule and I was pretty shure that bear had been disturbed enough by now that she and the kids were long gone. So Mr. Porter and I pushed on until he got wind of BEAR! I could see the tree by now, and for shure there were no bears in sight, but Porter was not that easy to convince. I had to switch him about every 10 feet, as he would stop and "blow," and peer up into the forest. But, true to his nature, he did what I was asking and I assured him I would protect him in all things, and we finally got past the "zone of death." When we got to the Pack River General Store, we had a tale to tell, while I chomped down on one of their incredible sandwiches and Porter enjoyed a candy bar and lots of pets from his fans. The trip home went without a hitch and, as I pulled his saddle off, I made a note to call his doctor for a check-up.

To make this story as spare as possible, the news was very bad. Porter was in serious heart failure and he was now quickly going downhill right before our eyes. I had taken my last ride with my great old friend of twenty years. Another long and hard north Idaho winter was staring us in the face, and the only kind thing I could do for him now was not make him endure any more hardship. We put him down the Friday before Thanksgiving and the day after the deed, north Idaho got hit with sub-zero temps and 40 mph winds out of the Arctic. God was looking out for his special mule.

I shed a lot of tears, but they were for me. I know Porter is hock-deep in green grass and sunshine now. You were loved and trusted by everyone you met, Mr. Porter. You were a credit to your fellow mules and the best friend I could have ever had.

Now, I am on my way to Las Vegas and the Cowboy Christmas show at the Convention Center for the NFR. I will meet up with my gang of cowboy cartoonists and we will have our usual grand time together. Quite innocently, I had designed and produced a mule "angel" tree ornament to sell this year. It will not surprise me to hear a little bell tinkle every time someone picks one of them up and smiles. It is one of the wonders of Christmas, my friends.

Everyone have a Grand Christmas and hug your mule special hard for me 'n Porter.