Erica, your Lucky Three Ranch news for September 2018 has arrived!
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Message From Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a really great summer! It has been a busy one for us here at the Lucky Three! We got an inordinate amount of rain through the spring and during the first part of June, which resulted in a bumper crop of hay for the first cutting. 

We had a problem with our swather right off the bat. My ranch manager had only made the perimeter passes when it suddenly bogged down and began to smoke! When the mechanic arrived, he told us that our new swather (with only 4 hours on it from last year) was rigged for normal use and that we needed an accessory to handle the thicker crop of hay. Luckily, we were only down for a day to fix this situation and were right back to work. We cut the fields in sections and then raked to get it to dry quickly. 

We then ran two balers and got it all up right before it began to rain again. In our banner year, we totaled 11,000 bales in TWO cuttings. This FIRST cutting, we pulled 9,600 bales from our 112 acres! If we get a second cutting, we could easily beat our yearly record. 

The weather got really hot in July, so I just picked the hottest days to give all the equines their yearly baths. That made the heat a whole lot more tolerable. Roll continues to stay sound at 26 years old after his bout with White Line Disease in 2016.  His mane just keeps getting longer and he is looking so handsome from his core strength leading exercises. Email me at and I can send you detailed information about how to do this! 

What a grand surprise we had on July 25th! Our saddle pals, “Riders In The Sky,” performed right here in Loveland, Colorado at the Rialto Theater downtown.  We decided to make it a “field trip” for my crew and their families. Bonnie Shields was also here from Idaho to consult with sculptor Robin Laws on our new project (sorry, we’re keeping it a SECRET until the launch!). They were both thrilled to be able to go to the concert, totaling about 20 of us. The next day, "Riders In the Sky" came out to the Lucky Three Ranch for a tour and lunch since they had not been to the ranch since 2008...and you know how fast things can develop around here! As always, we had a fabulous time! Hope you all had a great summer as well!

Best wishes and Happy Trails,

Find our latest sales for the month of September
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Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback?
LTR Training Tip #87

Bending and
Lateral work

It is important for your equine to sustain the ability to stay erect and bend through his rib cage through arcs and circles.

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I want to improve my riding skills, but I don’t have a coach or a round pen, and I don’t have anyone to help me. What can I do?


I’ve found that if you use a neck strap to steer and stop your equine, you really come to realize how important—and useful—your legs and your body are in communicating what you want. Have your equine bridled, but add a neck strap. Keep the reins handy for safety, but use the neck strap to enforce your leg aids and seat. 

As you ride by the “seat of your pants,” you will encounter less resistance because you aren’t relying on your hands—and the bit—for control and direction. Your main goal now is to cultivate an equine that is between your aids, and responsive to your voice, your seat, your legs, and lastly, to your hands.

Practice the half-halt, a full halt, and a rein back. Do patterns and changes of direction in an enclosed arena. Work on circles, serpentines, turns on the haunches and turns on the forehand. Then...bring on the obstacles! By going over familiar obstacles, you will perfect your body position and your balance.

By using the neck strap (and only using the reins for small corrections), you will enhance your riding skills and fine-tune the communication between you and your equine. Learn how to become the most effective rider you can be! Detailed neck strap training is covered in DVD #5 and in our Training Without Resistance manual that can be found in the STORE on my website

“I have been associated with Meredith Hodges for many years and know her to be a renown world equine professional specializing in mules. She has spent a lifetime of dedication and focus on the improvement and advancement of this breed. She has always concentrated on educating through patience, kindness, consideration and respect for her students and her mules. No one is more highly respected in this field, and I know that her knowledge is a must for every person who owns and loves their mules. She has definitely “raised the bar” for the standard of excellence in equine educational books.”

Richard Shrake,
A.Q.H.A. Judge & Clinician

“I used to watch her program on RFD TV years ago. She said if anyone had any questions, to give her a call, so I did. She answered the phone, much to my surprise, and we had a really nice visit. What a smart gracious lady. She has done so much for the equine industry. She is a treasure!!”                                   ML

Beyond Expectations - Unimaginable, A Must See!

Reviewed by Travel_Purdue
5 Stars

“I hardly know where to begin. It was the most fascinating, educational, and informative experience that went far beyond our expectations! We spent 4 hours with Meredith, her staff and of course her 'longears'. Beyond belief how her philosophy, and love regarding the care, treatment and training of these wonderful animals has made champions of them. After meeting Meredith's longears, and learning about their remarkable abilities - I can no longer think of mules as dumb or stubborn but rather as amazing. This is a MUST for anyone in or near the Loveland area. You simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity! Meredith, thank you for allowing us into your life and that of your precious longears. What an unforgettable experience. I wish you continued success.”

Purdue Visitor



and ready to view online!


Are you a fan of our RFD-TV shows?

If so, you are in for a totally NEW experience.
WE are about to reshape your training and equine adventures.

We have just released all NEW and Revised versions of The Training Mules and Donkeys Training series. The BEST part is they are NOW ready to view online.

If you have never seen any of these shows before, now is the time! DON'T miss out!

Training Mules & Donkeys is a logical and sequential approach to training where you and your equine can "Learn Together and Excel Together"

In the NEW video-on-demand versions we’ve included updated Training Tips and supportive therapy for equines. We’ve also added testimonials telling more about Meredith Hodges and her experience in equine management and training. Finally, we’ve dug up some humorous and entertaining historic clips of the Lucky Three Ranch. This amazing experience gives equine lovers a simple and easy approach to all their training questions. 

So, Hoof it on over to and check out
these invaluable updated videos!

visit now

The Donkey Sanctuary in the
United Kingdom

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1969 by Elisabeth Svendsen. It was registered as a charity in 1973. By 1973 Svendsen was caring for 38 donkeys. In June 1974, she received a phone call from a solicitor who was the Executor of the Estate of the late Miss Violet Philpin, who had been running the Helping Hand Animal Welfare League Donkey Sanctuary near Reading, Berkshire. The solicitor explained that Svendsen had been left a legacy of 204 donkeys. At that time, advertisements were appearing regularly in UK publications, appealing for financial support for Violet Philpin’s Donkey Sanctuary, to the extent that the name Violet Philpin became very familiar in Britain with the care and welfare of donkeys. 

After the UK Charity Commission allowed the two charities to merge, the Donkey Sanctuary purchased Slade House Farm near Sidmouth in south Devon. Since then, more than 14,500 have passed through the Donkey Sanctuary's gates in the UK and Ireland. The charity operates in UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. It also conducts international operations in Africa and Asia. In 1980, Svendsen was made an MBE for her services to animal welfare. The Donkey Sanctuary is managed by seven trustees who are responsible for the charity, its assets and activities. In 2011, the Donkey Sanctuary founder, Elisabeth Svendsen, died aged 81.[4] 

The Donkey Sanctuary also provides a permanent home to more than 4,000 donkeys. Currently, there are sanctuaries, holding bases and foster homes in nine European countries: United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain

Many donkeys arrive at the charity because they are unwanted or have been neglected. But, others are donated because of health reasons, companionship or the owner’s circumstances have changed. More than 40 welfare officers offer advice and support to donkeys owners throughout the UK.

Bonnie’s Bit

I must say, this summer has been both engrossing and boring at times, as I spent the biggest part of it illustrating another one of Liz Hughey's mule-packing tales (Trash Talk).  It is scheduled for release in November.  Now, I am back in the harness with sketches and ideas for Meredith's up-coming new Jasper story!!  YES, JASPER LIVES!!!  And, he will be back with a new book.  Getting familiar again with the look and the action only a Jasper story can pull off.

May ended with the incredible experience of Bishop Mule Days one more time with my buddy, Debi Gullo from just up the road.  And, Liz Hughey flew in from way off in southern Indiana and we sold 90 books over three days!!  Talk about writer' s cramps!!!  Next year will be Bishop's 50th year and plans are already in the works for some really special happenings for the 50th so stay tuned.

July 20th, while trimming brush off my walking trails behind my house, I nearly cut off a finger on my left hand with the hand saw!  Right over the first knuckle of the 4th digit on the left hand.  SO lucky it was the left.  Anyway, it happened at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday and just forget getting medical help at that hour and day.  So, it was Saturday afternoon before I got it looked at and the poor Nurse-Practitioner kinda swallowed hard and sewed it up as best he could and sent me off with a prescription for antibiotics.  Remember--this is Saturday.  So, I scoot off to the drug store to get the thing filled and they didn't have enough pills to fill the thing and wouldn't until late Monday.  No problem, you say?  Well, Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. I am in the truck peddling off to Spokane airport so I can fly to Meredith's to work on this sweet project she has Robin Laws and I working on--AND to attend and enjoy our friends, "Riders In The Sky," at their local concert.  One-handed in the Denver airport is NOT fun!

Anyway, I survived all of that, but the finger had gotten a "bad" start on healing. So, it was back to the Doctor to deal with infection.  Then one more trip the next week to get stitches out.  The finger is mostly healed now but it is rather permanently bent at that knuckle.  I am just glad it didn't hafta come all the way off!!!

Been on my sweet Iris mule only once all summer--the morning after cutting my finger.  Rode with "Sweet Sue" Padelford again.  My sanity restored.  Iris loves it as much as I.  Gave my new/old two horse trailer it's maiden voyage and everything worked like a charm.  Had to have SOME good luck in there somewhere.

Now, we in the NW are engulfed in great clouds of forest fire smoke once again.  It is a pattern up here anymore.  Most of our smoke is coming from British Columbia, but we DO have an active fire in the neighborhood--about 20 miles to the east.  Horse shows are being canceled again and we are all hunkering down in our houses to escape the smoke.  It is BAD.

So, that is my story--for now.  We are praying for rain and rain.  Hope your summers are working out better and you and your critturs are hitting your trails.  Nothing like it! 



 Visit our Lucky Three Ranch 

to purchase new art from 
 ​Tennessee Mule Artist 
Bonnie Shields

And don’t forget to visit her website to find out more
about the Wild and Wonderful World of Bonnie Shields,
Tennessee Mule Artist, Cowboy Cartoonist and True Artist!


Hearts & Horses Ambassador Program

Over the past couple of months, Hearts & Horses launched an ambassador program! Hearts & Horses is a therapeutic riding center in Northern Colorado that serves people who have disabilities. Our programs are tailored to meet the needs of individuals who have physical disabilities, at risk youth, the elderly, veterans, and others who have special needs. Hearts & Horses currently serve 180 riders a week with the help of about 250 volunteers who commit their time to our program, riders and equines weekly.

The goal of the Ambassador Program is to spread awareness about the great work we do at Hearts & Horses. Each of our riders, along with their families, were invited to participate in the Ambassador Program. We have had a tremendous response to this program, and currently have 37 active ambassadors! Each ambassador is given the opportunity to participate in a professional photo shoot with his or her favorite program equine, share their stories during an interview with the Hearts & Horses team, and receives an ambassador shirt and nametag.

As an ambassador, our riders and their families have the opportunity to share their experiences at Hearts & Horses with the community. They have the chance to attend various events to represent Hearts & Horses, share their stories and answer community members’ questions about our programs. In the past couple of months, our ambassadors have had a great time participating in their photo shoots and interviews. They have also attended close to ten events! They have assisted with public tours at Hearts & Horses, manned a booth at the All American Car Show in Loveland, assisted with a UC Health Tour and Activity, volunteered at the Juni Fisher Concert, and have helped with multiple presentations! 

Meet an Ambassador:

Neal Jensen is a rider at Hearts & Horses and joined our ambassador program in May! Neal participates in the therapeutic riding program and was wanting to find a way to lose weight, but had a hard time finding motivation. Since starting the program, he is walking 3 times a day and is motivated to exercise more. “Hearts & Horses has given me more confidence to do things and its fun too!” Neal stated during his interview. Not only has riding helped Neal physically, it has also helped him make connections and form relationships with the volunteers, riders, and equines he encounters during his time at the ranch. Hearts & Horses has benefited Neal in so many ways since he started riding with us a year ago. Some people say riding isn’t a sport, but Neal would disagree with that!

As we roll into fall session, our ambassadors will be busy with classes resuming. Not only do our ambassadors participate in classes themselves, many of them volunteer in other classes and on our barn team as well! And on top of all of that, they’ll be at events around the community so keep your eye out for them!

Megan McEachron,

Program Coordinator, Hearts & Horses


Don’t Miss our

Purchase the 
Horse & Mule Basic Training Package
or the
Donkey Basic Training Package

and get the upgraded coordinating 
Foundation Package

And don’t miss
 Meredith’s entertainment videos!
All 50% off

Purchase the
Jasper: The Story of a Mule Book 
and get the
Jasper: The Story of a Mule  DVD 
and the Jasper Music CD


Sales run the month of September!

leah’s corner

Ever have those days where you totally cannot "people"?  All the questions, all the posts, they seem to be something overly simple, where a simple yes or no would suffice, but you cannot even bring yourself to that point.  Did your mama raise you to "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"?   Are those the days where you just want to go sit out in the pasture and watch the donkeys graze? 

We find a lot of solace in our animals.  It's one reason we keep them.  We just have to remember that in being their keepers, we are doing what is right for them.  Making sure they have shelter.  Vaccinations.  The right food in the right amounts.  A way to evacuate them if fire, flood or fall threaten.  Time spent brushing, picking hooves, mending fences.  Sometimes even this gets to be too much and we have to take a step back.  It's difficult to vacation when you have a bunch of livestock depending on you. 

Have a friend or helper you are willing to pay come and work with you. (Yes, I said pay.)  Get to know the animals, sit down with you and go over their history, their routine, feeding schedule.  Knowing you can leave for a few days for a personal reset and have someone that is familiar with your farm routine will help you keep your peace of mind as well. 

A day on the beach sounds good to me.  Step away from the phone, the computer, the fire ants, the creeping spurge, the goatweed, the black crickets...  watch the waves roll in, sand in the toes, then back again to the daily schedule, but much refreshed.  Plan ahead, take a day.    Happy Rest!

Leah Patton, office manager, ADMS 

The Am. Donkey & Mule Soc.
PO Box 1210,
Lewisville TX 75067
(972) 219-0781.
Newsletter: the BRAYER magazine 76+ 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

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 specials are available with special features.

Three day rentals and all videos have closed captions!
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