July 2010
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Dear Friends

Dear Friends,

Summer is always a very busy time here at Lucky Three Ranch. Now that Bishop Mule Days is over, the tours and summer ranch work begin! This past season we were able to forego the initial irrigation of our hay fields and jumped right into cutting hay, due to an inordinate amount of rain throughout the spring. This was good in some ways, but we find ourselves with irregular weather patterns and the dry days we used to have simply are not as numerous anymore, which makes drying the hay for baling a real challenge. Somehow, we manage to get it done. After all, we want our mules to have the very best in grass hay!

I love the days we schedule the tour groups. We have been fortunate to have a multitude of longears lovers parading through the ranch on a fairly regular basis throughout the summer. We began our tour season early this year with several tours in March and April. On May 23rd and 24th, we had the privilege of entertaining our new friends, Ovidio Osorio and family, from Criadero Villa Luz mule farm in Colombia, for two days. We truly enjoyed sharing our mutual love of longears and they were able to witness the extraordinary results of my resistance-free training program first hand. They were thrilled to be able to ride the Lucky Three mules!

Then, on May 25th, the day before we left for Bishop Mule Days, we had a group of 50 4-H Club members from Mule Capitol of the World, Missouri, and their five chaperones for a tour. There was no shortage of longears conversation that day!

Bishop Mule Days is never a disappointment. Lots of folks, lots of mules and a rendezvous that will live on in your heart forever. Bonnie Shields and I were filmed by Video Mike and interviewed by Susie Dobbs, Country Western cowgirl singer and producer of Beyond Rodeo on RFD-TV. She was Grand Marshall of the parade, and her band opened for the renowned Lonestar concert on Thursday night.

Once again, Jasper, Bonnie Shields and I had the pleasure of riding on the Rolling Thunder Priefert wagon, pulled by their phenomenal Percheron hitch in the Bishop Mule Days parade. It is always an honor!

I am constantly reminded of what a small world it really is when you are a mule lover. Tell your friends to join up with this unique group of animal lovers and have some fun. There's never a dull moment with longears!

Happy Trails,

Meredith Hodges

What's New?

Most of you have discovered that we are no longer on RFD-TV, after ten years of airing our Training Mules and Donkeys shows. It doesn't mean we are no longer doing television, just that we took a short break to refocus our efforts. With much prodding, we have finally increased our exposure on the Internet with the Meredith Hodges and Lucky Three Ranch Facebook and Twitter pages ... however, I'd still rather be riding a mule!

We are pleased to say that, this summer, Equus Revisited was translated into French, German and Spanish for our foreign friends. The work on the Jasper sequels is moving forward and Jasper: A Christmas Caper will be available by November, just in time for Christmas shopping! With hard work and a little luck, we should have Jasper: A Precious Valentine ready by Valentine's Day 2011.

The life-sized bronze of Lucky Three Eclipse is scheduled to be ready for the Loveland Sculpture Show, and it is Robin Laws' best work yet! This jumping mule is a spectacular piece and will be added to the sculpture park at Lucky Three Ranch after the Loveland Sculpture Show.

Hello to all from the ADMS!

This year is going to be another up-and-down in the economy. Every time there is economic change, the equine industry is affected. Remember that old adage about "for want of a horseshoe nail"? Sometimes we do not sit back and take a good look at just how much our hobbies and real-world situations are interlinked. If you have a trailer, it uses tires, and those are also connected to the petroleum industry. Think about that chain of how things work.

Another thing that does have an impact on the equine world is movies. We've all heard and seen what happens when a dog breed is featured in a movie. Dalmatians were all the rage for a while-but they aren't the dog for everyone. There are a number of movies out this year with some excellent horse "actors" featured. Most are "period" films (i.e., based in pre-modern times) or fantasy based.

Monthly Training Tip

Question: I purchased a 13 yr molly mule last May. She is beautiful and a joy to ride, but she is really scared of bikes and ATVs. I ponied her around our area, which is full of the above-mentioned offenders, and she makes sure the horse is between her and them. On different trails where we have encountered bikes in the past, she is nervous always looking behind her. I would like to ride her by herself, but I am worried we will encounter the evil things. Any suggestions as to how I can help her conquer her fears (and mine)?

Answer: I would suggest going back to the beginning and perfect your groundwork with this mule before you do any more riding.

Most people are in such a hurry to ride that they either completely overlook, or rush through groundwork. Groundwork training is probably the most important part of your equine's training. It sets the stage for your equine's physical ability, mental processing and emotional stability. Equines are born with natural instincts (i.e., flight, kicking, biting, etc.) as a response to fear. When groundwork exercises are done correctly, their physical structure and natural instincts can be modified and refocused to produce an animal that is confident, trusting and obedient to your requests. When you take adequate time and pay close attention to good posture during leading training, core muscles that support the bony columns become strong, and movements that are required become easier for the animal to do. When it is easier, there is less stress and frustration between you. When he is afforded time to process what you ask, the occurrence of anxiety and fear is practically non-existent because this approach prompts thought rather than an instinctually quick response to any situation. He will learn to think before he acts.

Emotionally, he begins to see that you have his best interest at heart and this fosters mutual trust and cooperation. It is a common misconception that you can desensitize animals to particular "things" such as ATVs, bicycles, etc. If you really want to have a calm and safe partner, you would teach them a way to handle their fear in ANY situation by teaching them to look to you first for support and direction. Extensive groundwork exercises can do this. Then if they see anything that bothers them, they will stop, look to you and listen! Does this sound a lot like raising children...well, it is!
From Our Readers

Hi Meredith:

...Your formula has worked wonders on my 26 yr.old mule. Before I started her on the oats, oil and sho glo she could barely walk and I fed her lying down. She was on monthly injections and bute daily for her joints. Two weeks after I started her on the formula, she was walking with the rest of the herd and I even saw her running and jump in the air last week, she is feeling great again.


Kay Baker
Upcoming Events

Check the Events Calendar at www.luckythreeranch.com. If you know of an event that is not on our list, please let us know.
Featured Product

Equus Revisited, the new standard of excellence in equine training, featuring Meredith's revolutionary approach to athletic conditioning, is now available in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. Don't enter the arena without it.
Jasper's Corner

Everybody's favorite little mule, Jasper, has five adventure books the whole family can enjoy! Written by Meredith Hodges and illustrated by Bonnie Shields, each book takes kids on a new and exciting journey full of laughs, thrills and lots of heart. Join Jasper as he gets in and out of scrapes, makes new friends, solves mysteries, and learns some very important lessons. These timeless classics are perfect for families to read together. And as your little ones grow, they can read the stories themselves, which will take them on a whole new adventure! Make the Jasper the Mule collection a part of your family's library.
Longears Limelight

Spring roundup is a colorful sight at Jehnet Carlson's DJ Bar Ranch in Belgrade, Montana!


We want to know what you and your long-eared friends are up to.

Please submit your 300dpi jpeg file and a little information about yourself to newsletter@luckythreeranch.com.
Bonnie's Bit

Let's go down "Memory Lane" with BS. But not too far down.

First off, the weather in the Northwest has been absolutely awful for months now, and not only has summer not poked her face over the mountains, spring has only shown us her backside this year. It is cold and rainy and grey. Still snowing in the mountains occasionally, even. We are mossed over and sick of it, but what can you do?

Mid April, I loaded up the van for my first show of the year, the Small Farmers Journal Spring Auction at Madras, OR. This is a wonderful event and WAY more than just a farm-related auction. Folks come from all over the country and even some foreign places to attend and buy, and to meet friends.

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Lucky Three Ranch

phone: 800.816.7566