, your Lucky Three Ranch news for September 2017 has arrived!
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Message From Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,

Having an early spring turned out to be a blessing for us this year, although it wasn’t great for the fruit farmers. Our hay crop came up and we had a window to cut, bale and stack all of our hay fields just as they were first beginning to seed, which is optimum for non-stemmy hay. With 112 acres to cut, it is always touch and go to get it all in at once. But, last year we invested in a second baler and that made quite a difference in the baling time, so we were able to get it all in dry and pretty. It wasn’t overly tall, but that is when it gets stemmy and the fields still yielded a good crop of hay to put in the barn for us, for Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Stable and to sell. We are noted for our weed-free brome and orchard grass hay and we no sooner got the hay put up, that what could be, was all sold out.
The mules have spent the summer mostly in turnout because we have been so busy with all the responsibility that comes with the expanse of all that we do. Up until now, we have been partnered with different production companies in Colorado and California over the past 20 years to produce all the TV Shows, books and videos that we have done to date. We are now at a point where new production really is not necessary except for the ongoing Training Tips that appear on Facebook and YouTube, new music videos and webinars to post on the website at www.luckythreeranch.com.  All of that can be done here in Colorado. Two of our “LTR Mule Girls” flew to Hollywood, to the vault, to pick up all of our intellectual property that has been there for ten years and drove it home to Colorado. Reorganizing here was a bit of a bump in the road, but I have an extraordinary team of amazing people, who have been working with me for many years, so the transition has gone smoothly.
Tour at the Lucky Three RanchOur tours have been numerous this summer and it is always such a joy to meet so many new people and watch the smiles that wash over their faces with each new discovery on the ranch. They love to meet all the animals face to face and are pleasantly awestruck by the numerous Longears statuary that is dispersed throughout the property. We always talk about the things that make our training program more comprehensive and successful, and how we manage the land and maintenance of all the buildings and equipment to keep this ranch as pristine as it is. Simply put, we are well-organized and use common-sense methods in our endeavor and love to share our success with others! We hope everyone will put us on their bucket list and can find the time to visit. We would love the opportunity to share what we have learned with all our Longears-Lovin’ friends!

Best wishes and Happy Trails,

Meredith Hodges

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LTR Training Tip

Ground Driving Straight Forward Obstacles

Ground driving your equine through the straight forward obstacles is a process of turning fear into curiosity, then finesse, coordination, competence and, finally, confidence.

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Hi, Meredith. My little mule, Zippy, lost her left eye last Monday. Her veterinarian said she would lose her sight even if he treated it. He said we could either let it rot out of her head like people do that won't spend money on a mule or remove it. I told him to remove it so he put her to sleep that afternoon and surgically removed her eye. So far she's healing well. My question is if you have ever worked with a mule that lost an eye? And do you know of any thing I can do to help her adjust. She's really sweet. When I went to pick her up at the clinic the vet didn't think we would ever get her in the stock again because she had become so resistant. I wanted her to have another pain shot for the ride home and she followed me right into the stock. After her pain shot, even though she was right on the edge, she loaded into the trailer perfectly for me. I want to do the best I can for her like she did for me. Thank you for any advice you can give.

Yes, I have dealt with this and still am doing it. One of my yearlings, Lucky Three Magical Merlin poked his left eye on a tree and blinded himself. We opted to try to keep the eye and are still doctoring him to this day. He is now 23 years old and has gone through our training program and done very well (see photo and note the cloudy eye). He is one of my very best saddle mules. Here is the outline of our training program. When you take things slowly, logically and sequentially, they don’t have issues. If you try the current horse training methods, you will be disappointed because they certainly don’t work in this situation, but if you follow our program, there is no reason for your mule not to lead a completely normal life.


Saturday, September 30

Lucky Hearts Casino Night has become one of Northern Colorado’s premier charity events. Our guests tell us that they have never had so much fun while contributing to an outstanding, Northern Colorado, nonprofit. This year we’re anticipating approximately 650 guests – come join us for an evening you won’t forget!
Click this
LINK to purchase tickets or to learn more about Hearts & Horses. 

Or for more information contact: 
Jan Pollema, M.Ed. Executive Director

2013 Non-Profit of the Year!
Hearts & Horses - 163 N. CR 29 - Loveland, CO  80537
Phone: (970) 663-4200 x 310   

Susan Mayer 7-27-17

Story time! So some of you have known me for a few years and you know that I am an avid trail rider. That's what I do. All over the country; and on my Mule...not many places I won't go that he will take me. 

But many of you don't know some of my history as far as my equine experiences and my love of horses that turned into a burning passion for Mules. 

In 2000, I was in a very serious horse accident, I broke my shoulder in three places, my collarbone, separated my sternum three inches.  Not to mention, broke seven ribs, and many other bruises, and a concussion. You name it, I probably had it. It took me approximately a year to heal and even longer before I could even think about riding without throwing up. My fear and anxiety was unmeasurable. I sold the horse that hurt me but I had another one. 

So, fast forward two years. I never rode my other horse, simply because I never could get past putting my foot in the stirrup. I would throw up and go into full panic mode. I had met a man, we were dating, and he happened to have Mules. Simultaneously, I started watching Meredith Hodges on RFD-TV. 

I never made the connection for about six or eight months, and then my boyfriend, at the time, decided he was going to get me riding again. So, he introduced me to Ned. Ned was about 13 to 13.2 hands, little blue roan Appy Crayola, train-wreck mess!! Droopy eyes, broomtail... But, he was my Life’s Saving Grace and my HERO! I started riding with Steve leading him just around the yard; I would cry every time we would change level ground. I was so afraid. I also continued to watch Meredith Hodges and....Whew!...had to take a little pause here because I’m tearing up..but, I started watching Meredith Hodges and her level of self-confidence was contagious, even through the TV.  Her self-confidence, her expertise, her training methods, and her calmness, all helped me regain that inner self confidence that I needed to move on. AND I DID!

Steven gave me a mule of my own her name was Molly, and at the time she was in her twenties and just a couple years ago at 37, I let her go to wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge. Molly would take me anywhere I wanted to go, she and Meredith Hodges, led me into my forever lasting, loving passion, of mules.  So, Thank You Meredith, for being that icon in my life, as I am sure you are for so many others. Thank You for giving me the Greatest of all things...The Ability to Be the Mule Woman I am today!

**I should also add. Without the courage and trust of my Blue Mule, I probably would have stopped riding in 2009. We (he and I) were blind-sided on a bluff and shoved off the edge. We slid/rolled 30ft down. Him on top of me... I broke more ribs and my left leg in six places. I also, to this day, have nerve and cartilage damage in both shins. Without the self confidence I had learned from Meredith, I would not have been able to ride two miles back to camp...and continue on.... 
(Yes trip to the ER was a bitch after the adrenalin wound down...lol).



Back to school savings!

Save $130 and get the
Horse and Mule Foundation Training package
when you purchase the Basic package.  
September only!




A "Back to school" deal to give you a smart ass....

Save $130 and get the
Donkey Foundation Training
package when you buy the Basic package.
September only!



Fall savings worth a gobble!

Treat your kids and save a bundle
Buy the Jasper: A Turkey Tale book for
just $19.99 and get the DVD,
as well as a FREE Jasper CD.
Sale starts October 1st and ends November 30th



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20-Mule Team
Borax Wagons Visit the Lucky Three Ranch

Lucky Three Ranch sponsored the replication of the old 20-Mule Team Borax Wagons just in time for the New Year’s Day Rose Parade where they made their first debut. Owner of the 20-Mule Team, Bobby Tanner, has been exhibiting them at Bishop Mule Days for many years with re-makes of the old Borax wagons.  But, these current wagons are an actual replication done by Dave Engel, Wheelwright, Blacksmith and Carriage Restorer from Montana.  With help from multiple sponsors like Garon and Donna Stutzman of Maryland, including myself in partnership with the Death Valley Conservancy. Their second appearance was in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July. On the way home back to Bishop, California we had the honor and privilege of their company for two nights and a day here at the Lucky Three Ranch. We all had a wonderful time together, and several people from the community were able to come here to view the 20-Mule Team and the new wagons! What fun!

Bonnie’s Bit

Did I tell you all about our trip to Nova Scotia late in June?  If so, ignore this part.  If not (failing memory and other things) here goes.

Several years ago my dear Terry asked me where in the world would I like to go and I answered Scotland.  He swallowed hard and bought the tickets and I went in search of my heritage.  I was born a Wallace, which is a magic word in Scotland, and the trip was like going home to me.  It also boosted my desire to know more about the Scots in the new world, which came up with Nova Scotia on the eastern coast of neighbor Canada.  Nova Scotia means “New Scotland".

It was all I anticipated and much more, and I (and Terry) thoroughly enjoyed it all. History, culture and people. I highly recommend a visit to this sweet and historic land.

When we got back to Idaho, it was get-down-to-business for me, as I had thirteen full color 10"x20" illustrations to do for Liz Hughey's next book about a pack string.  She wants it out by November, and that means this ole girl had to get right on it.  My family, two-legged and four, barely saw me for days--unless they peeked into the studio where research material was piled everywhere and paint was flying.  I got ten of them done before I had to leave for Boulder, CO and the '17 Rendezvous of the Cowboy Cartoonists International, at Leanin Tree publishing.  Since I am the Treasurer/Secretary, I thought it was best I go, you know.  Plus, it was an opportunity to visit Meredith at the Lucky Three, and to also, rendezvous with my daughter, Laura, and grand daughter, Magdalena Nero.   Meredith, so very kindly, lets us stay in Jasper's Bunkhouse for the family thing.  Thank you, my good friend.  While there, we visited "Hearts and Horses", the handicapped riding facility Meredith has supported for many years.  It is making improvement right and left, and is truly an organization to be proud of for the good works it provides for handicapped children and adults in the Loveland area.

I started the the drive home Wednesday before the eclipse, and the mania was already getting ramped up. The Interstates were flashing messages about no over-sized loads and traffic problems. I drove north on I-25 to Billings, MT that first day, and was sweating being able to find a sleeping room for the night.  Once I got there, it was not only the eclipse mania, but the height of tourist season, and I have had to scramble for a room before at this time of the year.  I lucked out and finished my trip home the next day.

Eclipse Day was quite interesting here in north Idaho.  Although south Idaho was where the complete eclipse was, we still had the experience here that Monday morning.  As it began to darken, my three mollies trudged to their little red barn and lined up to watch the phenomenon--which they did.  When it began to lighten up again, they returned to their pasture.  Animals are the bestest, don't you think?

I just got the last illustration done and have only some glossary sketches to do and the cover.  However!!!  It is Canyon Mule Days’ time, so off I go next week for some mule fun with good friends.  Then it is time for the big drafthorse and mule show (The International) here in Sandpoint.  If I make it to October I will be exhausted--but happy.

Keep Your Traces Tight out there.  

                                      Hugs, Bonnie


Meet Wrangler!

Wrangler is a 9 year old Standard Donkey gelding that came to us from New Mexico. When I saw him advertised on Facebook I could not resist. He was the riding donkey for a 9 year old girl for over five years and taught her how to ride. At first, the child’s mother would lead her around the arena.  But, soon she was able to just go into the corral by herself, jump on his back and ride him without tack. Sadly, the girl decided she wanted a horse to ride and Wrangler had to be sold to buy her horse. But that kind of disposition is priceless, so I bought him sight unseen knowing he would now have a forever home with us. Of course, I did have a pre-purchase exam done by a veterinarian in New Mexico and we were thrilled to meet him in person! He is a lovely boy with nearly perfect manners. I have to admit, he looks an awful lot like our own, Little Jack Horner.  L.J. was the sire supreme of most of my mules and had passed naturally at the age of 34 years in 2014.

Leah’s Corner:

Can we have a reset please?  2017 doesn't seem to be going as planned for many. Half the US seems under flood threat, half is on fire, and our European friends aren't having the best of times either. 

Looking around, it seems sometimes you might have a pearl of peace just sitting in the pasture communing with your longears. Or, you might be enjoying an evening indoors, listening to the rain and catching up on your favorite training articles. Then the "guilties" hit. "I have a roof, a warm dinner, time to sit and read a magazine...and those people don't".  

First rule is be thankful for what you have. Second,  IF you have a way to share it with others - monetary donation, volunteering, sending a small goods donation to a fund or charity - by all means, please do so.  BUT DO NOT feel guilty that you have managed to make it through.  Some people have made it to a comfortable place by hard work and their share of misfortune as well. We can only hope that people we know are not in the middle of this, have a way to recover.  But, please don't feel guilty because you are happy and healthy right now. Tables can turn all too fast.

It's a good time to make sure all your affairs are in order - life insurance. A will signed and on file with your attorney. Money put aside to run the farm for a few weeks in case the worst should happen and your beneficiaries have to limp along for a few weeks. Many of us never think of that bit. 

Fall is in the air, the nights are getting cooler and the days shorter.  Watch the longears for wooly coats, and be sure to check body condition under the fuzz. You don't want them overfat, but fuzzy fur can hide when one loses some conditioning.  

Check your hay supply, snug up the barns for winter, make sure there aren't loose screws or nails standing proud, and ride the fencelines. 

Have a wonderful Fall and enjoy life!

Leah Patton


The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc. PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067 (972) 219-0781.
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Watch Anytime, With Video On Demand.
Did you know you can watch Meredith's award-winning training anytime, on all your devices? Watch all the episodes of Training Mules and Donkeys plus Give Your Equine the Athletic Edge.

More in the mood for some entertainment? Catch Those Magnificent Mules or let the kids go have an adventure with Jasper and his friends. All six Jasper the Mule
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