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Sept. 2015
In This Issue
Jasper The Mule 

Get a Head Start on the Holidays with Jasper!

Jasper: A Turkey Tale
finds Jasper & Moxie in the middle of a mystery, where they learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

In Jasper: A Christmas Caper, our heroes are at it again as they learn about family and trust, and save the big Christmas parade!  

Or bring home all the Jaspers with our
complete, book and dvd packages!

Order yours today!




Its not too late to visit Lucky Three Ranch!
Tours close for the season on October 30. 

Explore the beautiful grounds of Lucky Three Ranch on a guided tour with world-renowned equestrian, Meredith Hodges. Meet her champion mules and other equines on site—from a pair of miniature donkeys to an 18-hand draft mule! 

Click here to schedule your visit today!



Already visited Lucky Three? Leave a review at
Trip Advisor!


Featured Products

Training Packages with Free

Lucky Three Ranch training packages come in four different levels for

Horses & Mules and for Donkeys. Choose from Starter, Basic, Foundation or Complete and let Meredith help you find the perfect partnership!

Longears Limelight

 Boxcar Willy and BLM burro

My mule, Boxcar Willy, and my BLM burro, Chili Bean Burrito, are always checking this site (LTR) to make sure they are training me correctly. One has to have a sense of humor when owning and training asses and half asses. Im also a member of the group Wild Ass Women (women who have adopted wild burros from BLM), so I think I
ve heard—and been the butt of—every ass joke around. 

Here's another photo of Chili winning the Coon Jump at the Wild Horse and Burro Expo last weekend. He also earned three other blue ribbons with his 12-year-old rider in under-saddle classes, with fewer than 20 rides since I started conditioning him for the Expo. Not to ignore my wonderful Willy the mule, who is gaited and loves trails and working cattle. – Lin O’Kelley of Half Ass Acres (Yes, that IS the name of my property!)


Do you have a picture that you’d like to see in our newsletter?

Email your photo to info@luckythreeranch.com
Video On Demand!
All of Meredith’s
award-winning shows and videos are available anytime, with video on demand.

 Use coupon code MULEPOWER to rent
Give Your Equine the Athletic Edge
at 50% off.

Build the ultimate partnership with Give Your Equine the Athletic Edge

We have all six Jasper the
Mule animated films
available for kids!

Watch the equine
documentary series

Those Magnificent Mules


Get started training your
equine with 
Training Mules & Donkeys

 Click here to see all the available episodes and rent them whenever you want!


 Admissions Closed – Welcome New Students! 

As summer winds down and we get ready for a new school year, we want to welcome our new students! 

If you missed the admissions deadline, we will begin accepting applications again on January 18, 2016.
Contact us by
email or call 800-816-7566 for information about next year and get a jump on preparing for admissions.

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Meredith HodgesDear Friends,
Welcome El Nino! I don’t think I have ever seen so much rain here since I moved here 35 years ago! First, we had all the flooding in the spring, making turnout a real challenge, and then it just kept raining all summer with only a very few dry days. Our hay just kept getting taller until it began to lie over. By the time we were finally able to cut, it was between five and six feet high. We cut our 17-acre section and the 2.5-acre jump course and it seemed to be okay. So we decided to cut the 25-acre field as well and that was when we discovered that the field still had puddles in it and white mold throughout the field. Upon consulting with hayfield experts, we discovered we had to cut ALL the hayfield sections (112 acres) to get the moldy hay off the fields or they
could be completely ruined and would need to be disked under and replanted. After struggling to find a neighbor with a large baler and a tractor big enough to pull it, we did manage to salvage our fields, but with no horse hay for the first cutting. We had to trade out the work to get it off the fields and at least get the moldy hay which could still be fed to our neighbor’s cows  Luckily, we had saved enough from last year’s crop to feed our stock for a whole year. We are praying for a good second cutting, so we can also provide hay at a discount for the Hearts and Horses therapeutic riding stable, as we always do.

In addition to being wet, this summer has also been very HOT! This made working with the mules difficult as well. Most of the summer temperatures were between 90 and 100 degrees, and since my mules are mostly aged, we just let them have turnout with no forced exercise. Heat exhaustion or heat stroke was a very real consideration! When we did do any exercise, it was mostly balancing and core strengthening leading exercises. We also had the film crew out for a week to get footage for our promotional projects. We took pictures of the horses and mules in pairs, moving in balance with each other and with me. We also took pictures of the ranch in general and even used a drone to do overhead shots! The mules weren’t too sure about the drone at first, but they soon got used to the noisy thing that sounded like a swarm of bees flying over their heads.

On July 10, 2015, after a long bout over the winter with fusing hocks, stroke and a number of management issues, we were forced to put our super champion Lucky Three Mae Bea C.T. out of her misery. “Bea” was the offspring of Colorado Poncho and out of a registered Appaloosa mare named Sam’s Nickey. She had two half sisters (“Ciji” and “Desiree”) and one brother (“Eclipse”), all by Little Jack Horner and out of Sam’s Nickey. Bea rarely lost a halter or showmanship class. She was my Combined Training (Dressage, Stadium Jumping and Cross Country) and Combined Driving champion. She also had multiple championships and experience in nearly every equestrian activity that is offered: Western and English Pleasure, Gymkhana, Western and Ranch Riding, Reining, Pleasure and Obstacle Driving, Trail, Western Riding, Side Saddle and actual working ranch cattle work. She participated in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade in 1988 and the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. in 1993. She did numerous local parades and exhibitions in Pas De Deux Dressage with her sister, Lucky Three Ciji. She served as an incredible ambassador for Longears everywhere during her lifetime, and gave mules and donkeys a real purpose in today’s world. She was my most versatile mule, truly a “lady” with the greatest temperament, and my very best friend! She will always hold a very special place in my heart and will be terribly missed!

On a happier note, we are excited to announce that, after dodging rainstorms and crazy temperatures since January, we were finally able to finish the Jasper Bunkhouse, a new and exciting addition to the LTR Children’s Tours! You can read more about this below. I hope you all had a wonderful and enjoyable summer!
Best wishes and Happy Trails,


Training Question: 

Question: Hello. I have been on your email list for years, but have never asked a question before. My question relates to my 13-year-old Thoroughbred molly mule, who suffers from laminitis. The question is: What is the normal range for the digital pulse of an adult mule? I take my mule’s digital pulses every morning (due to a laminitis issue), but I am being given very different ranges for the pulse from different veterinarians, and have had difficulty finding believable information on the Internet. That’s when I thought, “I wish I knew someone who had mules.” But here in Upstate New York, it is harder to find mules, and the veterinarians are not experienced in dealing with mule health issues.

Answer: The average pulse for an adult equine would be 26-40 beats per minute. Digital pulse is the same in rate (beats per minute) as the heart rate, unless there is some pathology with the circulatory system. We typically assess the quality of the digital pulse when worried about inflammation in the foot, such as an abscess or laminitis. With an inflammatory process, the strength of the pulse will increase. Again, this is a qualitative assessment, which can be difficult to interpret unless there is a unilateral condition (abscess), when the other side can be used as a “normal.” If the question is in relation to rate, then an average would be the same as the animal’s heart rate, which varies with age, temperament, athletic condition, etc.
You can find this information in my book, A Guide to Raising and Showing Mules. Also, proper feeding and core muscle leading exercises can help strengthen and balance your molly in good equine posture and will help to alleviate the stress on her hooves and minimize laminitis symptoms. (Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian, so I always consult with my veterinarian on the answers to these kinds of questions.). 

Video Training Tip

LTR Training Tip: Proprioception 

Equines are not born with an awareness of their own bodies, or proprioception, so they must be taught how to orient themselves.


For more information on proprioception, check out TMD Episode 11,Advanced Skills.” or learn more from this episode’s by downloading the Training Tip Tutorial.

Subscribe to the Training Tips!

Whats New?

Children’s Tours now include the Jasper Bunkhouse!

  • Length: 2 1/2 Hours
  • Watch the animated film, Jasper, the Story of a Mule 
  • Explore all the fun of Jasper’s Bunkhouse
  • Question and Answer session with Meredith Hodges! Find out all about equines, especially "Longears" (mules and donkeys)!
  • Visit with groups of mules and donkeys in turnout areas
  • Guided tour of sculptures throughout ranch

The ranch is handicapped accessible and we provide tour carts for our visitors who may have medical issues or who might not otherwise be able to make the trek on foot around the property.


Lucky Three Ranch souvenirs, training materials, and Jasper the Mule books and DVDs are available for purchase at the end of the tour for purchase.


Beginning in 2016, Jasper’s Bunkhouse will be is available for special events and parties with an option of Jasper’s attendance. Send us an email or call 800-816-7566 or 970-663-0066 for more information and rates.

Book Your Tour!

From Our Readers

“Raven and baby”
As the director of the Virginia Equine Welfare Society, I am sharing a photo of our newest. His mother is a registered paint that was saved from slaughter by us and we were not aware she was in foal. We haven’t named our little mule colt yet, but he will have a name soon. – Alan White

Guest Writer: Michele Kane, Hearts & Horses

Many of you have read about our two wonderful mules at Hearts & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center, Allie and Sadie, who were donated to us by Meredith Hodges—Sadie in 2006 and Allie in 2009. However, you may not know how instrumental they are to our Hearts & Horses for Heroes veterans program.
Allie and Sadie, along with 10 of our other four-legged equine therapists, assisted us with our first ever Veteran’s Retreat on Sunday, August 23rd, to help veterans explore the mind/body connection with equines on a deeper level. Funding for this “pilot” was provided from PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International through a grant from the Veterans Administration.
Hearts & Horses was able to use those funds to invite 10 veterans from our community to participate, with each veteran partnering with their own equine for the entire day. Allie was given to T.J. Anderson, one of our long-time veteran riders. Although T.J. has ridden quite a few of our horses, he has developed a special relationship with Allie.

Photo by Paul Berger - Imageworksfc.com“Allie has taught me a whole lot about patience,” he said. “Sometimes when I get too much in a hurry with things in my life, I know that when I come here to ride, Allie is going to make me slow down and pay attention. When I rush, I forget things, so it is nice to be able to have Allie remind me by her reactions to just take it one step at a time.”
 Photo by Paul Berger - Imageworksfc.com

T.J. was able to give back to Allie by learning some wonderful equine massage techniques at the retreat, taught by Karen Orlowsky and Jackie Cooper of the Healing Warriors Program in Fort Collins.


“At first Allie was moving around a lot,” said T.J., “but after I started applying the techniques they were teaching us, she calmed right down, relaxed, and seemed to really enjoy my touch. It was a real bonding time for us!”


Sadie also participated in the retreat along with her veteran partner, Joanne Flaig. Joanne has worked with Sadie for one eight-week session and states that she always feels challenged by Sadie in a positive way.

Photo by Paul Berger of imageworksfc.com


“Sadie definitely has a mind of her own, and it is sometimes a challenge for me to focus and join her,” said Joanne. “When family or work issues get in the way, Sadie has a way of making me forget about all that during the time I am here, and just concentrate on her. It is so nice to just be in the moment and leave all that behind for a little while. Sadie helps me enjoy that time. And I love rubbing her ears!”


Sadie loves to have her ears rubbed, too! During the massage portion of the retreat, Sadie decided she felt so relaxed, she literally lay down and took a nap!

Both of these amazing mules contribute to the healing of so many here at Hearts & Horses on a daily basis. For our Hearts & Horses for Heroes program, Sadie and Allie are invaluable because of their consistency in teaching our veterans to stay present, focused and “in the moment.” We are so blessed to have them as a part of our incredible team of four-legged therapists!

Photo by Michele Kane

Warm Regards,  
Michele KaneVeteran’s Program Coordinator  - Hearts and Horses, Inc.

Hearts & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center
Loveland, Colorado

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

Been a long and dry and hot summer up here in the NW. Forest fires all around us and the smoke is unreal. No riding in the mountains or even down the road much. Grass is gone and hay is sky-high.


Not much good news from up here.

I did spend two weeks at the Lucky Three Ranch, painting a mural inside the Jasper Bunkhouse and painting the Jasper mailbox and decorations for the window shutters. The bunkhouse is SO cute and will be a real treat for the children touring the ranch.


While in Colorado, Leanin Tree publishers treated the members of the Cowboy Cartoonists Int. to a Rendezvous get-together and it was grand to be together again. Then, Meredith treated me and the gang from the Lucky Three to an evening with our Riders in the Sky. The guys have still “got” it. What a treat.


Now, it is time for Hells Canyon Mule Days in Enterprise, OR (Sept 11-13), and then the big Idaho State Draft Horse and Mule INTERNATIONAL here in Sandpoint, and you can believe I will be in the middle of that, too.


Meanwhile, I am working on art pieces for my program/presentation on my adventure last year in the Bob Marshal Wilderness. It is scheduled for November 20 here in Sandpoint at the POAC gallery, and will be up until Jan. 8, 2016. Wish you all could come.

The statements, views, and opinions by contributors are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Lucky Three Ranch and Meredith Hodges.

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