June 2012
In This Issue
What's New?
Featured Product
Guest Contributor
Longears Limelight
Training Tip
From Our Readers
Bonnie's Bit
Greetings From ADMS!
What's New?


Roll was devastated at the loss of Rock on December 27, 2011. He really didn't know how lucky he was to be in our loving care 

at the time, but continuing with a well established, loving and respectful mainten-ance and training routine seemed to give him solace and, in two weeks, he began to reciprocate our unconditional affection for him. We then moved him into Rock's stall, which also gave him a sense of security, and he seemed to find comfort in Rock's scent.



Like Rock, Roll spent many lessons on the lead line, doing his core muscle exercises and measured time in the round pen for further strengthening, in hopes of rebalancing his body enough to do some light driving and riding. In March, he was doing so well that I figured it was time to mount him and start doing balancing exercises from the saddle. He had not exhibited any lameness in the year and a half he had been with us, but just to be safe, I had the vet come out and x-ray his feet to make sure he would be sound enough for these kinds of activities.



Everyone here at the ranch was surprised when it was discovered that he had side bones not just in the right hind feet (which was already known), but in all four feet! It was found that he also had some traces of upper and lower ringbone. The vet felt that, because of the core muscle and balance training Roll had received, he had not aggravated the conditions in his bones and joints which is why he never exhibited any lameness...only a slight twisting in the right hind. When I asked about riding Roll, my vet agreed with me that he could probably safely carry my weight at walk and trot, but that the canter could possibly pose some problems because of the tremendous natural concussion of the gait. He also agreed that, once Roll's new posture had been more securely established by riding, he would probably be able to do some light driving while hitched to my Meadowbrook cart.


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Featured Product


There's a mule in the pool! 

 Jasper the Mule's latest animated adventure, Jasper: A Fabulous Fourth

is headed your way and available for preorder now!!


This time, it's the Fourth of July, and 

Jasper and the gang are up to their ears in red, white and mule high jinks! When Jasper and his buddy, Moxie the Dog get loose and crash the big Fourth of July party, they get a lesson in what freedom really means! All the fun, celebration and splendor of our country's big day comes to life in this exciting adventure cartoon your little ones will love!


And be sure to check out Jasper's BRAND NEW, better-than-ever website! Now kids can visit their favorite animated mule and play games, learn fun facts about 

mules and donkeys, and even submit their own longears stories and photos to share! Just go to  jasperthemule.com!


Guest Contributor


Equines & Massage


Equines are just like people. During their lifetimes, equines will experience bumps and bruises, injuries or serious trauma. Sometimes, however, after injuries are treated and healed by a veterinarian, your equine may continue to experience residual negative effects. These effects may include incorrect posture and movement, a decrease in muscle flexibility, decreased performance in an athletic equine, or other issues that may compromise well-being and longevity. It's also important to remember that most of the equine body is muscle and if you don't address the muscle tissue, you are only addressing parts of the body. It can be a wonderful preventative measure.


Massage is also a bonding experience for you and your equine. Your animal will learn trust to you in a different way than they are used to-you are more aware of your equine as a whole and they are more aware of their own bodies.


Joanne Lang is a professional massage therapist for equines, canines and humans, and founder of The Lang Institute for Massage. If you would like more information, 

visit her on Facebook or visit www.langinstituteformassage.com.


Longears Limelight


Hannah Fewox and her wonderful donkey jennet, Jennie.


"Friends that play together, bray together!" 

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Dear Friends,


Spring is always the busiest time of the year here at the Lucky Three Ranch. Although we no longer do any breeding, there are still a lot of senior animals and rescues to care for, as well as preparing the hayfields for the coming crop of weed-free, brome/orchard grass hay for all the equines. All together we have 112 acres in hay and 31 equines to manage: Little Jack Horner, two mini donkeys, one miniature horse, our teaser stallion, four retired broodmares, one draft mule, two miniature mules and nineteen saddle mules. The amount of daily activity needed to just maintain the ranch means that we have to stay organized and plan our time strategically.


I worked hard to establish a good system of organization and scheduling, and today the entire 127 acres of Lucky Three Ranch require only a small but exceptional crew. This is what affords me the time to produce our books, videos and TV shows, and to personally answer all the letters, emails and calls I receive about training. I feel it is important to give folks the correct answers to their questions at the time they need them. It also allows me to do the training and rehab of the rescues and conditioning of the other animals, and oversee the sporadic weekly visits from their health professionals. What we are able to accomplish on a daily basis here at Lucky Three Ranch continues to amaze me, but when you work from a carefully structured daily routine, you eventually discover how many more meaningful things you can actually fit into your life!


Springtime also marks the start of tour season here at Lucky Three Ranch. We love being able to show off the grounds, and it's very gratifying to get positive feedback about how clean the ranch is and how easy it is to get around--for both children and senior groups, and everyone in between.



As if there wasn't enough to do, preparations had to be made for Bishop Mule Days, held over Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. Although I no longer show at Bishop Mule Days, I have been attending since 1979 and still go to rendezvous with old friends and their longeared companions. It is always an enjoyable time together. I am able to meet a lot of the people with whom I correspond and speak to them in person about their mules and donkeys.


This year Jasper, Bonnie Shields and I had the great honor of riding with the 20-mule team hitch owned by Bobby Tanner and pulling the old Borax wagons in the Bishop Mule Days parade and Grand Entry. It was a thrill to say the least. Jasper was honored this year by being named the official mascot of Bishop Mule Days! Go Jasper! And as always, he was a hit with the kids and even the adults, and a hoot (as usual) in the Musical Tires class. Although attendance was down a bit from previous years, we still had a fantastic and exciting show! As always, the best part of Bishop Mule Days is the opportunity to rendezvous with our mule-lovin' friends!

Best wishes and Happy Trails,


Meredith Hodges

Training Tip:


I just recently got a Molly mule. She is 7 yrs old and has only been ridden a few times and she does fine. I was told she will walk and trot all day, but when you ask her to canter she will buck. Do you have any advice on how to train her in the future to avoid that behavior? I am not a person that wants to canter a lot, but if it happened I would not want the bucking to start. Thanks, J. M.



A mule that bucks to align its spine is similar to you twisting your own body when your back gets out of whack. It isn't the only reason for a mule's bucking, but it is one of many reasons for bucking. Other reasons include insufficient training to build up the body correctly for equine activities, ill-fitting tack, an unbalanced rider, the saddle slipping too far forward (failure to use a crupper), confusing signals from the rider, pulling too hard on the reins and soreness from an injury, just to name a few. It sounds as if this mule cannot balance the rider at the canter due to insufficient muscle strength. Also, the tack may not fit well, particularly the saddle, which may not be placed in the correct position on the mule's back and held in position with a crupper. I would go back to the beginning with leading training to build core muscle strength and forget about riding her for a while. If you go through the logical progressions of exercises that are outlined in my training series, she will soon be in good enough condition to carry a rider efficiently and the bucking will cease. 


From Our Readers:

Thank you, Meredith, for your response. I have always appreciated your "being there" any time I have had questions. You are an amazing woman, I love all that you do.


Thank you.


Bonnie's Bit


It's been a wild and wooly spring for the mule artist. Let me explain.


It started back in November when the fellas from the Peckerneck Trail in Alma, NE called me up and asked me to do a drawing of the "Peckerneck Canary" for their latest money-raising scheme. These are the ones that have revived and restored a trail system in their community all on their own initiative and mostly on their own dime. Their latest is selling bogus "stock" in their fake mine on the trail and the drawing is for the stock certificates.


So, I loaded my antique mule, Cookie, with old leather panniers and piled them high with dynamite, and I show her resisting being drug into the mineshaft. The guys liked it enough that they invited me to come ride the trail with them on my way to Tennessee late this March, and what a hoot it all turned out to be. What a wonderful bunch of people in Alma, NE, and much success to them with their Peckerneck Trail. Google it. You will not be sorry.


Yes, BS returned to the "scene of the crime" so to speak, and I drove to Columbia, Tennessee for their big Mule Day event. (I do this every third year to remind the home folks I am not dead yet.) My JR, Elizabeth the Dog, accompanies me-for protection, you know-and I get to stay with wonderful friends and see more wonderful friends. We racked up 5600 miles, and with gas prices they way they are, we pretty much broke even when it was all over.


I played catch-up when I got home and just barely made it by the time I had to leave for Bishop. This time, I had to leave the dog home and take my friend, Debbie Gullo, instead, to help me handle the work and the sales (hopefully). For me, Bishop is just a hair over 1000 miles one-way and I load the van to the gills and add the pop-up and the "stuff" two women need to survive. Kinda like a modern gypsy caravan.


Bishop was better attended this year, with the Equine Virus behind us, and most of the regulars were back with their mules. Meredith showed up along with Jasper himself, her ranch manager, Chad and Miss Nell Wade, the gal that works on this website. I think a major highlight for Meredith and me was getting to ride in the Borax ore wagon behind the twenty-mule hitch in the parade. And Jasper was there, too. Just getting IN that huge wagon was an adventure.


Now, I am back home and behinder again. Assignments and projects are piling up and I look at my Buddy mule longingly, wishing I could chuck it all and just ride. Buddy, in the meantime, is counting his blessings. I am hoping I can get a handle on all of these distractions eventually, and my hubby and I can take our mules up a mountain or two before too long. I need a clone.

Keep Your Traces Tight. 


Greetings from the ADMS


It's going to get hot, hot, hot! Are you prepared for another hot summer?


Looking at today's weather forecasts, it's raining buckets and hailing in drifts in Texas, but friends report 38 degrees up North. This reflects that the year's weather patterns may be as bad as last year. Everyone take your hand off the mouse and cross your fingers that it is NOT.


Experts are saying not to restock your livestock herds at this time. Cattle prices plummeted, as everyone tried to sell off herds so that they could continue to feed what they did have. Equine prices dropped and you couldn't give away a donkey.


This year the hay crops look good so far, and the possibility of decent hay is facing many. Huzzah! But be sure to calculate in advance how much hay you already have on hand, how fast it will get gobbled up by your hungry herd, and how much an additional supply might run.


When hay runs short, farmers have to turn to grain-which is expensive as well. While it seems a terrible thing to many breeders, think about cutting back on breeding for a year or two. This is actually a very sound breeding practice. Everyone wants to at least recoup a little cost with the foal (or calf) crop, but if you are feeding two years worth of colts (or worse, three), then you aren't making any money, you are losing money. If you have two-year olds, yearlings and weanlings just hanging around and not getting any training, give mama a rest and don't rebreed her this year. Work on getting a more solid price for a trained colt. Even yearlings can be well trained to halter (even ready for the show ring) with a little practice.


When you do get ready to sell, make your marketing count! Choose your advertising venue, and then make the most of the space you are provided. Make your ad clean, clear, easy to read and precise. Don't use words that won't help as selling points, and do use the right words in the right places. Proofread your ad before posting-a poorly worded ad full of errors can hurt your business. So too can terrible photos. Use the photos to your advantage and make them clear, sharp and well posed. If in doubt as to how your ad would look to the average person on the street, send it to a friend and ask what the high and low points of the ad are. Do they understand the ad? If they ask questions, note those as points that should be addressed. Rewrite if necessary until you have a sparkling ad that will grab the attention of your potential buyers.


The equine market has weathered hardships before and will again. Hang in for another year, and look for a hopeful rebound to come!


Good luck,


Leah Patton, office manager, ADMS



The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc. PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067 (972) 219-0781. Newsletter: the BRAYER magazine, 100+ 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 www.lovelongears.com.