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In This Issue
Did You Know?
Our website is rapidly becoming the Equine Research Center of choice. There is much more to peruse than one might expect: Ask Meredith with answers to a wide variety of management and training questions, Video on Demand for those of you who miss having our weekly training and Jasper shows on RFD-TV, a library of video Training Tips, over 200 of my Mule Crossing articles, Equine Welfare News for updates and action alerts and a free Classified Ads section for our fans to buy, sell and exchange equines, tack, and equipment. 
Jasper The Mule 

Head to Bishop Mule Days with Jasper Goes to Bishop!
Jasper learns about confidence in the laugh-out-loud adventure Jasper Goes to Bishop. Get the award-winning video and companion coloring book!

Featured Product

Training Packages for Horses & Mules and Donkeys

Have a new equine and not sure where to start? Have an old equine and not sure where to start? Our training packages are perfect for any stage of your equine’s life, no matter their level. Find the package that’s right for you and your equine in our store!

Longears Limelight

Thank you to West Point for sending this photo of the 2009 cadets and their companion mule mascots! “Duty, Honor, Country” is the West Point motto. Our DUTY is to HONOR those who so unselfishly protect our COUNTRY! Thank you to all our military of today and yesterday! We owe our lives to you and your mules!

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

Email your photo to info@luckythreeranch.com
Video On Demand!
Watch anytime, with video on demand.
Get started training your horse, mule or donkey with Training Mules & Donkeys.

Snuggle down with the kids
and watch all six of the
Jasper the Mule animated movies!

Build the ultimate partnership with Give Your Equine the Athletic Edge.

Watch the equine documentary series Those Magnificent Mules.

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


Admissions Open

TMD Equine University offers a one year-online, course in equine management.
Contact us by email or call 800-816-7566 for information about applying and how TMDEU can help you with your career goals.

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Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,
I would first like to thank you all for your interesting and challenging correspondence! This was our 35th anniversary year, and although I have much to share from what I’ve learned, there is still much to learn and share going forward. Please keep those emails, letters and phone calls coming. Helping you all to build safe and enjoyable relationships with your equines is first and foremost on my bucket list. The joy I receive from your successes is the greatest joy in my life!

We have all been challenged with the crazy and unpredictable weather. This in turn challenges us to really think, sometimes making new and abrupt changes in our management and training practices. For instance, the snow we had this winter was persistent and stayed on the ground longer than ever. It is late February and we still have two feet on the ground in most places. The challenge now is to find a a sheltered and dry place for the animals to rest, as well as places they can stretch their legs and just MOVE. Our arena turnout worked for a bit, but the older animals became bored and eventually would just roll and then stand still for a couple of hours. Being in the snow is not necessarily dangerous if the terrain is cleared of debris and the ground underneath is not too icy or slick. Younger animals will do better in inclement weather than the older animals, who may be suffering from mild arthritis and circulation issues, which can affect their ability to balance correctly. Assess each individual daily to stay on top of these types of health issues.

Roll has been doing very well since we got him in 2010, but this winter in late December, he came down with White Line Disease. This is yet another challenge to be faced and hopefully overcome. There is very little known about where this comes from and how it should be treated. General knowledge dictates that this is a humidity issue, which would make sense given the increase in humidity in Colorado this past year. Each case must be dealt with individually, but we were lucky to get some information from the American Donkey and Mule Society’s 2007 Brayer magazine. We are documenting Roll’s case for posterity and the two parts we have posted so far can be viewed in “What’s New?” on our website
Part 1/Part 2). We will continue to do follow-up posts going forward.

Spring, summer and fall shows and events are now being scheduled (see our Calendar of Events), so be sure to take time to peruse your own possibilities and plan accordingly. Be sure to take the necessary time to properly prepare your equines to make this a safe and happy season! For the time of your life, treat yourself to the largest mule and donkey show in the United States (and maybe even the world!) at Bishop Mule Days in Bishop, California, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. We continue to support the rebuilding of the Borax Wagons through the Death Valley Conservancy, with the help of Bobby Tanner and the American Mule Museum. The museum was founded by his father Bob Tanner, who has recently passed and will be sorely missed. Learn more about Bishop Mule Days and its history at http://www.muledays.org/.  

Best wishes and Happy Trails,

Training Question: 


I got my molly (my first mule) from an outstanding mule trainer and she has been the safest trail ride I have ever had, very responsive, not reactive, and points out every possible danger to me whether it is a cloud of bees, deer, hunters, etc. Since she was trained for arena and showing I think this common sense is remarkable. But she has one fault that I need help correcting. She snacks during trail rides, pulling at grass and tall weeds, etc. She does not stop to do this, but it is very distracting and makes the ride unpleasant. After last fall's riding season ended I found myself with shoulder issues due to my corrections via reins. I have just finished physical therapy to fix my shoulder and so I would like to find a solution that will retrain her without stress to either one of us. Our trails are narrow with steep drop-offs that prevent circling or other maneuvers that might be useful when correcting on the flat. Thanks for any help.


Although we begin our DVD series with “Foal Training,” you should always begin training with imprinting—no matter how old your equine is—and move forward from there with attention to feed as well. This will ensure a positive introduction and will help to build a good relationship with your mule. This is how they learn to bond and have respect for you and vice versa. If you do our beginning imprinting and leading exercises, it will foster more attention from your mule when you do ask her to keep her head up while riding! Our methods are meant to be done in a sequence and taking shortcuts or changing our method in some way will not yield the same results. After many years of training for other people, I have found that equines, especially mules and donkeys, bond to the person who trains them. When they go away to other people, they do not get the benefit of this bonding and can become resistant over time when they return home. After all, you wouldn't ask someone else to go out and make a friend for you, would you? This is the primary reason. But bonding is not the only consideration. In order to move correctly, they must also be trained correctly. I would suggest spending some time with our leading exercises in order to prevent any more undesirable behaviors from coming up in the future. Meanwhile, if you do not opt for the long term fix and just continue to ride (which you should not be doing during the groundwork exercises), the simplest fix (although NOT long term!) would be to ride in a western saddle, shorten the reins to the point where she cannot reach very far and keep the reins looped over the saddle horn, so if she pulls, you can just lower your hand a little more and let her pull against the saddle horn and not your arms!


There is something for everyone at Lucky Three Ranch with four different tour options. Explore the beautiful grounds of Lucky Three Ranch on a guided tour with world-renowned equestrian, Meredith Hodges. Meet the world-famous equines—from a pair of miniature donkeys to an 18-hand draft mule! We have a special tour for the kids and an intensive learning experience for equestrians.
Beginning this year, we are happy to announce that Jasper's Bunkhouse is available for special events and parties with Jasper himself! 

 Click here to schedule your tour today!



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Video Training Tip
LTR Training Tips: Showmanship Patterns

LTR Training Tip: Showmanship Patterns

It's time to get ready for the upcoming shows and to help, we have three new training tips built around Showmanship. Meredith walks you through what you need to know to be prepared and get the best from yourself and your equine. 

For more information, check out TMD Episode 3, "Showmanship” or learn more from this episode’s by downloading the Training Tip Tutorial.

Subscribe to the Training Tips!

From Our Readers


I can't bring myself to throw away my old Mules and More Magazines. I never planned on owning a young untrained mule but here I am with a 3 yr old. I love to read the old Mules and Mores during the winter months. I came across the May 2014 issue with “Trailer Loading the Difficult Mule.” I set everything up as described by Meredith for introducing my young mule to trailer loading. It worked beautifully! No stress on the mule and no stress between me and my husband! Thank you Meredith!


I wanted to update you that my 30 year Donkey, Betsy is doing well on the diet you recommended. She is gaining weight slowly and has more energy and a wonderful healthy coat.
Thank You so much, M-J


Fabulous tour!! Meredith, you are amazing!!  We so enjoyed it and learned so much! J.P.

What's New?

Celebrate the Lucky Three Ranch 35th Anniversary!

It's been an amazing 35 years at Lucky Three and we want to share the celebration.  Get your commemorative T-Shirt with a special discount of 35% off!

Bonnie Shields, the Tennessee Mule ArtistBonnie's Bit

It’s winter in north Idaho and things are pretty boring up here right now. Mules are bored, Donkey is bored. Husband is fed-up with it and BS is holed-up in the studio fighting poverty.

We HAVE had good snows and rains so far this winter and they say there is 97% of the water in the high country of our “normal” year, and that bodes good for grass and hay this summer. It is Winter Carnival week in Sandpoint and that means most of the snow in town is GONE and it is scheduled to rain big time. Typical. They used to have it like clock-work in the middle of January and it was almost always bare ground and rain that week. So, they put it off until the middle of February, and guess what???? Ha, I just can’t believe it!!!

Anyway, none of the mules have volunteered to entertain the hordes this year, so we are off the hook to take baths in the cold and dress-up. Whew.

I am working on two children’s books simultaneously. Double the Drama. One is a second book with Patsy Trigg of flying pig fame. This one is about two little dogs and two cats she has lived with and their antics and love. Just getting started on it, but will keep ya posted. And have come up with some more rediculous stuff for Mules and More magazine so stay tuned to that venue. What the heck, with all the politicians polluting the media, BS has at least 3 cents to add to the pile and mule jokes are pretty mild as compared to the pros on the campaign trail.

Looking forward to being at Bishop and hugging all my buddies, two-legged and four. But, that is still a ways off in time, so I guess I will just hafta stay locked in the studio and WORK! Gad, what is this world coming to?

Stay tuned.


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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