JUNE 2013
In This Issue

What's New?

Have You Heard

Featured Product

Longears Limelight

Training Tip

From Our Readers

Bonnie's Bit

Greetings From ADMS!

What's New?

Have you been thinking of a career in equine management?
Enrollment is now open for the fall 2013 semester of Meredith Hodges’s TMD Equine University! This new, certified, online university program provides extensive courses in the care, maintenance and training of equines—particularly  mules, donkeys and other equine hybrids. This intensive program is approved and regulated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education Private Occupational School Board. Visit tmdequineuniversity.com 
for more details.

Featured Product

We’re proud to announce that some of our most popular and beloved series are now available for rental on demand through Vimeo. It’s the perfect way to introduce yourself to the series or finish up any episodes you may have missed. Or maybe you need to brush up on Bishop Mule Days before you head out of town, catch a Jasper holiday special with the family, or review a certain aspect of your equine training… now it’s up to you!

Click below to visit each series’ on demand page.

Training Mules and Donkeys - the award-winning, long running training television show seen on RFD-TV.

Those Magnificent Mules - the documentary series that explores longears and the people who love them.

The adventures of
Jasper the Mule, perfect for kids of all ages.

Longears Limelight
Our friend, Ovidio Osario of Criadero Villa Luz, Girardota, Antioquia Colombia, leads a group of mule riders through the breathtaking Colombian mountains. They breed some of the most beautiful Paso Fino mules and hinnies
in the world!
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Meredith HodgesDear Friends,
The normal things that come with livestock and a ranch in the spring will keep you busier than most people, but we wound up in construction again! While examining the patio on top of the tack barn, we found that, after ten years, the roof was beginning to sag. We decided that, since we had to fix it, we would would also create a solarium on the top space. The hammering, noisy saws and things flying from the top of the building did not appear to bother the animals at all, even though today we were in the tack room right below the construction. This again proves the value of a training program such as mine that develops a healthy relationship with your equine and turns fear into curiosity. They learn to trust their handlers and react accordingly.
Of course, as happens in most construction remodels, replacing the roof produced a domino effect and, because the second story decking on the house was getting old, we also decided to replace that. The new construction will create a nice big room and second-story decks for seminars and gatherings, with an incredible 360-degree view of the ranch! It has been a little tricky giving tours during this construction, but our first spring tour groups didn’t seem to mind and were excited to see more new things being done at the ranch. They enjoyed our new pre-tour 
video that covers the fascinating history of the mule and the significant contributions he’s made to America, and also includes my story and the development of the Lucky Three Ranch. 
Tour members loved the “Rock” Exhibit (named for our late hero, Rock the rescue draft mule), which supports and illustrates all the educational information discussed during the tour. The Lucky Three Ranch tours are designed to provide people with a chance to learn and see first-hand the end results of my program in the care, maintenance and training of the ranch equines. Guests can ask questions and get prompt answers, and are able to discuss with me any problems or challenges they are having with their own equines. My biggest issue with equine clinics has always been that too much gets thrown at the participants’ equines in too short a time to really be physically fair to the handlers and their equines. After all, you can’t fit what amounts to eight years of training into a four-day clinic in a healthy way. I also feel that, if I was on the road doing clinics, I would not be as readily available to those who have questions and need answers to their training questions right now. Tour guests with mules (and even those who don’t have mules) get a broad overview of just what it takes to train equines in a healthy way. Our tours are like a personal clinic. And—they’re fun!
Once again, we made our way to Bishop Mule Days and Bonnie Shields and I were thrilled to find out that we were once again to ride on the 20-Mule Team Borax wagons with Jasper the Mule. It is so amazing to be able to experience this modern yet historical event! My ranch manager, Chad Leppert, Robin Laws (commissioned sculptress of my mule and donkey champions, and contributor to our Loveland Longears Museum & Sculpture Park at Lucky Three Ranch) and, of course, Jasper accompanied me this year and everyone had a great time. I met with American Mule Museum founder Lou Roeser and discussed in more detail what would be needed going forward in order to aid the museum and its exciting future projects. 
They will document for posterity the mule’s contributions to the building of this great nation.
I also spoke with Henry Galos, the Donations, Financial & Production Manager for the Death Valley Conservancy, and Bobby Tanner, owner/teamster of the 20-Mule Team of Bishop, and their Technical Advisor.
  We discussed the reproduction project for new Borax wagons that would be based at the American Mule Museum in Bishop and would become a traveling exhibition. We all agreed that the contributions of the mule are important enough to document and preserve for future generations. Wishing you all a relaxing and rewarding summer with your longears!

Best wishes and Happy Trails,

Have You Heard?

I'm proud to announce that the brand-new edition of my book, Training Mules and Donkeys: A Logical Approach To Longears, has just been awarded the gold medal for Animals in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards contest! A big thank you to my talented team for helping me bring home the GOLD!

Training Tip:

Question:  We have a 9-month-old mule foal that we have tried to give the West Nile vaccination. We have tried to do it in her morning routine that my husband does with her. We have tried countless ways, including pinching her neck, poking her neck and she never flinches for that, but stick her with a needle...it is over. Do you have any suggestions as to handle this or what else we might try? We are in mosquito season here in Oklahoma and she really needs this shot.
A. D.

Lots of mules don’t care for needles and I use a safe restraint I call the “Face Tie” that works well in this situation. Over time, some animals get over it, but others will need to be in the face tie every time. If you employ this properly, they don’t mind and it will keep both you and the vet safe. For the sake of safety, tie your mule to a good stout hitch rail. (Nylon halters work best for this purpose because they fit more snugly.) Then use my face tie technique (as illustrated in “Preparing for Performance: Groundwork,” disc #2 from my DVD training series, Training Mules and Donkeys: A Logical Approach To Longears), by running the lead rope around the hitch rail and back through the noseband of the halter. Then come around a second time and loop it through the throatlatch part of the halter and around the hitch rail once more, and then tie it off.

This should be done while your equine is standing parallel to the hitch rail, so that when you pull the rope tight, it pulls his head tightly sideways to the hitch rail. This will keep him from being able to swing his rear end around to block you. Let him quiet down in this restraint before approaching with your syringe (Make sure it is capped until right before you’re ready to give it!). If he manages to keep you off the clear side, you can always go to the other side of the hitch rail and give him the shot from that side without fear of injury. You can do this along a stout fence, provided that the rails are sturdy. If you do this correctly, it will simply restrain him in a safe manner and keep you out of the line of fire. When he is being quiet, you can reward him. He will soon learn to quiet down immediately when his face is tied and, at best, will seem to be saying, “Dang, do we have to do this again?!” But he will learn to comply. This is a humane restraint for mules and donkeys, but do not use the face restraint on a horse.

From Our Readers:

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my question, I am so grateful it was not a quick answer but an in-depth answer. I have had Melody for quite some time and I know she and I have a bond, but I have been going about trying to rehabilitate her the wrong way. I would not have known otherwise if not for you.

I hope to be successful and will let you know if any improvement is made.

Thanks again,

J. P.

Bonnie's Bit:Bonnie Shields, the Tennessee Mule Artist

Surviving winter in North Idaho, I got giddy and acquired a new dog. A pup—actually, a BIG pup. His name is Baxter and he is a German Wirehair Pointer. He was three months old and about 25 lbs when I picked him up April Fools Day and he had feet like Sasquatch!!! He still does. He’s about 45 lbs now and growing almost perceptibly. Oh, and I adore him.
German Wirehairs are known as clowns and this one has it honed to an art form already. Never a dull moment around Baxter and very few quiet ones. The old Golden, who Baxter is supposed to be in training under, can barely tolerate him and he, in turn, harasses her without mercy, so little is getting learned in a positive direction. The two Jack Russells share the Golden’s disgust at this turn of events and Elizabeth, the JR bitch, has to regularly “rip his lips off.” Boo (the male JR) gets all he can take and finishes off the rest of Baxter’s face. The kicker here is that Baxter is very smart and I expect he is now doing this harassment for his own amusement.
On the plus side, a pup like this has to have LOTS of physical exercise every day, so I am now taking all four dogs out into the woods behind our place daily and my health is improving in the meantime. And, I am being entertained by Baxter’s antics and his awkwardness in his journey to maturity. His braking system consists of stumbling over his own front feet and skidding to a stop on his fuzzy chin. None of this embarrasses him—he just picks himself up and careens off like nothing happened. Good lesson, I’d say.

May means Bishop, CA, Mule Days, and once again, Debi Gullo and I loaded up the van and camper and wandered down to participate and run my Mule Art booth. Meredith and Jasper and Robin Laws and Chad all came to join us and to try to keep Meredith and me out of trouble. I think they succeeded. Meredith, Jasper and I once again got to ride the 20-mule team wagons in the parade. It is still thrilling and humbling to look down that long string of mules and watch them work and contemplate all the history and the work they represent.
Got to ride my Iris mule ONCE in May. This HAS to improve. But, then, so does the weather, as June in north Idaho can be pretty rainy. My husband and another couple do have a pack trip scheduled for the last of July in Montana, so there is hope things will improve in the riding department. I’ll let you know how that works out. Happy summer out there. 


Greetings from the ADMS:Leah Patton, office manager, ADMS

It hardly seems possible that summertime is once again upon us. The animals are shedding out coats, farmers are trying to get hay cut and all of us are evaluating our herds to see what next year will bring.
One of the major concerns of anyone raising animals for sale is if the market is holding steady. If there isn’t a market for what you are producing, there isn’t much sense in continuing to raise animals. You will have an excess of animals on your hands, year after year, and will have to continue to feed, train and maintain them. If this occurs, it’s time to rethink your breeding program. If the types (gaited mules, colored mules, draft mules, spotted donkeys, mammoth stock, miniatures) aren’t as popular in your area now, are you willing to market to a larger audience? Is there a demand for this type further afield?  Or even overseas? Is the stock you are producing show and breeding quality and able to withstand the rigorous standards of an international market?

We always encourage everyone who wants to breed animals to join their local clubs, as well as keep an eye on what the horse market is doing. The longears market does just overlap the horse market, but the prices, trends and news in the horse world affect our realm as well. There is a huge difference between the regions and types of riding (dressage, hunter/jumper, eventing, Western performance and halter showing) that also affects the market and distribution of certain breeds. In the South, it’s all about stock breeds—the eventing (hunter/jumper) and dressage market is small.  It’s the opposite on the East Coast. The gaited breeds and types are another ball game as well. Know your region and what’s popular, and how the market is for that specific niche.
With summer and new foals come animals changing shape and weight. They might get nice and fat on spring grass. Mama donkey or mule mom that got a little ribby with baby might suddenly turn around and be fat and sleek. You’ll want to watch to make sure this doesn’t happen too fast. Remember that any sudden change is hard on a body, whether it’s a donkey, a mule, or their caretaker. Keep up with spring vaccinations, worming, and hoof trims. If you haven’t ridden for a while, check to make sure of tack fit before you start putting in long hours in the saddle. If your mule has gotten fat, the bars might not sit right on the saddle, leading to sores and an unhappy mule. Take it slow for both of you, while you both get back into riding shape.
When you do get back onto the trail or into the ring, don’t forget the essentials of safety.  Well-kept tack is safer tack. Leather rot is not your friend. Be safe and replace any worn equipment—especially your helmet. On the trail, DO carry your cell phone on YOU (not your mule), just in case. We hate hearing of any mishaps! 
Fourth of July will be coming up soon, and that will mean fireworks. Some will be far enough away it won’t be a bother, but others of us, especially in rural settings, will hear them a lot. Make sure your fence lines are sound and safe! This means the one post that could be a problem WILL BE—you know it will happen. Cap any dangerous posts, make sure tools are put away, and do not leave halters on! Think it might be bad that night? Put your animals in a corral with some extra hay and give them a portable radio blasting out some Sousa marches. We have found this often helps to mask all the other kerfuffle from over-zealous pyrotechs!  We hope everyone has a safe and fun summer with their animals!

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, $27 US, $37 Canada, $50 overseas. We now accept Paypal, Visa/MC (+$1 courtesy fee appreciated). Reg info, forms, fees on our website at 
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