March 2012

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

What's New?


On January 14, 2012, there was a dedication ceremony to celebrate the finalized construction work on the new Port-A-Stall barn that was donated by Meredith Hodges and the Lucky Three Ranch. When the barn was donated, it prompted others in the community to pitch in and help in a variety of ways that have really upgraded the functionality of therapeutic riding opportunities. We hope to continue to act as a role model for other non-profits across the counrty. Hearts & Horses has been able to expand their programs to include not only disabled riders, but also At-Risk Kids and Wounded Warriors. They are also putting in a new sensory trail and have expanded 
the program yet again to include Alzheimer's patients. We are proud to support such a worthy cause and such committed people.




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Featured Product


Jasper and his pals are at it again! And this time it's TWICE the fun! 

Jasper: A Turkey Tale  and  Jasper: A Precious Valentineboth winners of the Telly Award, are now available on DVD and ready to order! Gather the kids, the grandparents, the neighbors and the family dog for two rollicking, adventure-filled movies that the whole family can watch and enjoy together.


In A Turkey Tale, it's Thanksgiving and the whole gang is getting ready for the big feast at the local orphanage. But, as always, Jasper and his BFF Moxie the Dog land smack in the middle of mystery and mischief as they come across a new kind of "critter." Will he be friend or foe?


A Precious Valentine  finds Jasper and his friends celebrating Valentine's Day with a trail ride and picnic high up in the mountains. It doesn't take long for Moxie to get into some very smelly trouble, while Jasper and his human friend Kylie learn the true meaning of unconditional love.


To order these titles or any of the Jasper animated DVD series, log on to

and then visit our Jasper Store!


Longears Limelight


The Lucky Three saddle mules love working in their newly remodeled indoor arena. Got the post-Superbowl blues? 

In honor of the Denver Broncos, who did so well this year despite losing their Super Bowl opportunity, Sir Lancelot ("Lance") decided that he wanted to do 

something special---and here he is!  

We love the Denver Broncos and believe in "Tebowing" all year long!  


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Dear Longears Lover,


The Christmas holiday of 2011 brought a mixture of great joy and devastating sorrow to us here at Lucky Three Ranch, and to many of our friends and family, but it has reminded us of the value of our precious time together with our friends and loved ones. It is so important for us to focus on the positive and take the time today to make the memories we would like to have tomorrow.


Our hearts go out to the family of Trenton Cain Beaver, otherwise known as "Dozer." This amazing twelve-year-old boy and longears lover put up a very brave fight against cancer, and finally went to meet his Lord on January 14, 2012. We can all learn by his example of courage and tenacity during the last days of his life. God bless you, Dozer! We will miss you!


We have also been reminded of the value of our special relationships with our four-legged friends. Everyone who has followed the story of Rock and Roll knows it has been an uphill battle, especially for Rock. With great sadness, but continued inspiration, we regretfully announce that this will be the last update to include our gentle giant. Rock had to be euthanized on December 27, 2011.


Every day for the past year, I had prayed for a miracle for Rock, and each time I prayed, he got better for a while. Now I wondered if God wouldn't grant us yet another miracle and let him live. But then I realized that I HAD gotten one more miracle. Not only had our courageous and noble Rock been able to live a quality life for one more year, he had proven our therapy can work, and he lived long enough for his half-brother of 20 years, Roll, to be able to bond with people who would love and care for him the rest of his life. God bless you, Rock! We will all miss you and are thankful for all you have taught us.


This life is salt-and-peppered with good and bad, and to accept the lessons that are presented to us during the bad times is to open the doors to great joy. We learn to mourn loss with grace and dignity and go forward stronger and more determined for good than ever! The rewards do become apparent over time.


Roll mourned the loss of Rock for about two weeks, but Rock's courage through this past year gave Roll the opportunity to bond with others besides Rock. Both mules had leaned on each other through the difficulties in their lives until they were rescued and brought here. At first, they were both very suspicious and guarded, but Roll learned he could have other friends besides Rock. He is developing a bond with us that helps him to cope with the loss of Rock. Roll was in the habit of trashing his stall and we needed to get in to clean out the excessive urine beneath the mats, so we moved him to Rock's stall. Oddly enough, Roll seems more content in that stall and is keeping it clean and doing his business outside now. I think he finds comfort in the scent that Rock left there.


On the other hand, Roll is doing really well with his recovery from intense founder and side bones. His hooves have grown out for the most part, and with the help of hind shoes to support the side bones, he is traveling much better and has gained weight and strength throughout his entire body. He is really enjoying his lessons with obstacles now. I will be riding him soon to further strengthen him in good posture before I try driving him again. I do not want him slipping back into the old incorrect posture that could do him more harm.


Mini donkeys Augie and Spuds always enjoy their adventures in leading and obstacle training. Teaching them these things in a way that changes fear to curiosity has made an incredible difference in how they perceive spooky situations. This time, we tried on harness in the tack room. Just for fun, they tried on Rock and Roll's collars and found they could walk right through them! Then, they tried on the harnesses of mini mules Franklin and Francis and mini horse Mirage, and even that harness was huge on them! So, we went Internet shopping and ordered harness in just their size.


I had a great birthday in February and I think the present that "took the cake" was one given to me by my crew...a bronzed piece of poop from my 32-year-old, fourth level dressage mule, Lucky Three Sundowner! I don't think I have laughed that hard in a long time!



We wish you all the very best in the coming New Year.


Best Wishes and Happy Trails,


                                                     Meredith Hodges

Training Tip:


I have donkeys on our Big 40. My mom wants to plant some hazelnut in the Big 40. My question: Is hazelnut poisonous to donkeys? 



There is nothing definitive about hazelnut being toxic to equines, however it has been discovered (fairly recently) that black walnut is toxic to equines for sure and the other "nut" trees have not really been tested. The other thing is that equines, and especially mules and donkeys, are hazardous to the health of your trees. They will gnaw on them and strip off the bark, which will eventually kill the trees. They can co-exist with full grown trees, but still need to be watched, and often the trees need to be wrapped in chicken wire to keep the chewing down. So, if your mom wants to plant hazelnut in the Big 40, I would suggest creating a smaller place for your donkeys. They should not be left out on pasture for more than 5 hours a day anyway to prevent colic or founder. 



From Our Readers:

Dear Meredith,


Just a short note from 80 degrees here in Florida.


I am happy for you and your new barn. I know you worked hard for it. We are having a hay shortage also. "Good" hay is hard to find and our drought caused a shortage also. Many people are having to go to Alabama for their hay.


Shiloh has been a real treat to work with and train. Thanks to your guidance. She can do about everything now. Round pen, obstacles, driving and riding her around the area. She still needs more work, but she is getting the hang of it. We start rehearsal for our church nativity Sunday and this year Shiloh can carry Mary to the Manger. Last year Mary had to walk beside her. I will send you a picture.


Well enough of me for now. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.



PS. I like your new website. 


Bonnie's Bit


Getting home to Idaho a few weeks before Christmas, I had some catching-up to do with my little business and big Christmas, and getting back in the good graces with the mules. The latter didn't take long, especially with feed involved, and we were back on a first-name basis again.


Usually Christmas is post-card beautiful up here in Idaho, but this year, we barely had a skiff of snow on the ground. Not good conditions for the fat fella in the red sleigh. That musta been the reason I didn't get a new truck! Better luck next year. But Christmas did come off just fine and we survived and everyone got good stuff, so there. My present to myself was an arthroscopy on the left knee and a few days in bed like some grand queen. I am trying to put off getting a whole new knee and this is doing the trick so far. Riding my stationary bicycle every day, I am building up the legs for the coming spring riding.


Got my annual BS O-Gram written an off in January, plus an article on the wonderful folks of Alma, Nebraska and their Peckerneck Trail project. They are the guys that have restored a trail system in their part of the country (south central Nebraska). They do it all with their funds and contributions, and somehow came up with the grand idea to establish a fake gold mine on the trail as a "feature." Well, things being things, they then came up with an idea to sell bogus stock in the fake mine to raise funds to maintain their trail. But where does BS come into this plan? You had to ask?


They contacted me about coming up with a logo/image for their stock certificates and asked me to do them a mule "canary" for it. For those not familiar with such things, the old miners took canaries down into the mines with them to tell them if their air turned bad. If the canary turned toes-up, they got outta there. I guess these guys couldn't afford a bird, so they elected a lady mule, packed to the hilt with dynamite, as their canary, and I drew her portrait. What fun!


This March, I load the van and the Lizzy dog and head East for Columbia Mule Day, taking a precious detour through Alma to actually meet these guys. In the meantime, I have been busy working on commissions and designs for our local Draft Horse and Mule International show. Have two book illustration jobs firming up right now, so I will not want for things to do for some time. And all the while, we continue to work on the Jasper: A Fabulous Fourth animated DVD. This is my favorite of the last four books and I am having a ball playing with horse flies and beans in the swimming pool. Don't miss this when it comes out. Till then, Keep Your Traces Tight out there. 




Greetings from the ADMS


Greetings from the State of Texas, where as everyone knows, things change every five minutes. Last year our weather caused some tremendous hardships across the state. There was a first cutting of hay, and then the temperatures soared, the rain stopped and the fields and pastures dried up. There were fires to deal with. This resulted in much of the Southern states finding themselves with a terrible shortage of hay. If hay could be found, the price was sky-high. The market was flooded with animals being sold because their owners simply could no longer afford to feed them.


Luckily rain has returned to Texas, and winter grasses are thriving. The Northern states have had their share of heavy winter weather, but all in all considered, how has everyone fared? We know that registrations are down for all the major registries (Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint). Are people backing off on their breeding programs, or just not registering foals? The problem with the latter is that the large horse registries have time penalties-the older a horse, the greater the fees.


We have talked about disaster planning in the past. Do you have a plan of action? Do you regularly back up your computer files? Have you purchased small portable drives, flash drives or even a portable hard drive to house your vital information? While it is a chore to reconstruct and reorganize files onto a new system or drive, it's far less traumatic than losing your information (and we speak from experience)! Today's world of animal ownership isn't just keeping the animal in pasture; as the years progress the government has more say in how things are run (who can keep what and where) and records become more necessary.


Part of your weekly "catch-up" time should be making sure your tack room is organized, as is your desk. A few minutes to file bills, back up files, clean up email; all of this is part of the workings of the modern farm, ranch or hobby spread.


It's also the time of year for taxes, so if you use your hobby farm for any income, tax laws have restrictions and require paperwork as well.


In the midst of all the bad things (fire, flood and paperwork), don't forget to take a few minutes to just enjoy your animals. Even if you are rushed with deadlines and chores, just that extra two minutes spent grooming a donkey, brushing out your mule's tail, or just petting them while they enjoy a treat is good for YOU. Studies have long shown that interaction with animals--the simple act of petting a dog or patting a horse--lowers blood pressure.


Need to clean tack? Take it out on the porch where you can watch the donkeys graze. Got a laptop? Sit out in the aisle of the barn and do a little email cleanup (if you have wifi), and listen to the munching of the animals. See if you aren't more relaxed for those few moments you gain.


If you haven't been out riding this winter, give your tack a good cleaning and check before you head out for the trails. You and your animal both might need some time to stretch--get muscles back into shape before you do any serious work. You certainly don't need worn, stretched leather or a broken strap causing problems if your mount is feeling frisky from a winter off!


Relax, enjoy life and have fun!


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