<<First Name>>, your Lucky Three Ranch news for December 2019 has arrived!
Jasper The Mule Products Tours LTR Blog Training
Message From Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,

Fall is always a beautiful time in Colorado and this year was no exception! We did get a second cutting of hay again this year, although it was very late in the season! We had lots of wonderful tours with a lot of engaging people. In case you are not aware, each one of our tours is customized to be your own personal clinic, as well as, being privy to what I would talk about if I were on the road doing clinics. The difference is that when I do them here, you are able to see the amazing results of my management and training program. My guests learn all about the fundamentals of my postural therapeutic approach to training for core strength and balance, and then get to see the improved equine athletes that have gone through this program with sustained health, energy and longevity. It is well worth the time and effort spent to know that your animals will have a longer and healthier use-life with you. 

Our guests also enjoy the bronze sculptures that grace the ranch like this Longears fountain done by Robin Laws. Our champions each have their own sculptures. We did this particular one because the Longears that did not have their own sculptures got jealous! So, we put them ALL in this Circle of Friends! Everyone is happy now!

With the launch of Bonnie Shields’ and my new book, JASPER: AN APRIL MULE’S DAY, we thought it would be appropriate to find something special to add in the backyard of the Jasper Bunkhouse for the children’s (and adult!) tours. This was quite an extensive project that has taken the better part of a year and a half to complete!

I enlisted the collaboration of artists and sculptors, Bonnie Shields and Robin Laws, complimented by the creative construction artistry of my Ranch Managers, Chad & Steve Leppert, to erect a miniaturized Jasper Carousel

The first stages were to build the structure from steel so it would withstand any harsh weather through the years and to install small garage-type doors to protect the artwork within.  It took truckloads of concrete for the base! The gals began by making smaller clay models of Jasper, Moxie, Okie Dokey and Valentine to be the figures on the turntable. The smaller clay models of the carousel figures would serve to be the model for the larger ones. They would also go to bronze  and would finally be on display in the dining room of the Jasper Bunkhouse. During the tours, the kids would see the small maquette inside the Jasper Bunkhouse on the dining room table and the larger one would be just outside the sliding glass doors. 

Once Bonnie and Robin deemed the characters ready to be enlarged, they were enlarged and again done first in clay to allow for any adjustments that might need to be made. Robin was responsible for the basic sculpting of the figures, then Bonnie came out from Idaho and stayed with her for a week to animate the figures. 

The guys built the structure with the aid of a few sub-contractors for such things as the electric, siding and protective doors while the artists did the work on the bronze figures that would go onto the turntable. 

Bonnie Shields came out from Idaho twice more and spent weeks painting the characters on the center pole that were not represented on the turntable as well as those that were. Since the 20-Mule Team and the Borax wagons were in our new book, we opted to put them on the center pole as well. The top and bottom of the center pole will frame Bonnie’s work with vertical red and white stripes, with a blue band around the top and bottom of the stripes, to represent our American flag. We enlisted our video crew to document the entire process and will produce a documentary for television and for our website.

I want to thank my crew for their contributions, dedication and hard work to make this ranch such a very special place to be! We are only ten people that manage this entire operation, including all the social media, websites, ranch management with 18 equines, hay production, etc., but we are all extremely creative and motivated to do the very best we can, each and every day! The Jasper Carousel project will be wrapped up by the end of December and will lend even more whimsy to our tours for next year! We hope that you will put us on your bucket list (and tell your friends about us!) and come to enjoy this unique contribution to our community and to the world...the Loveland Longears Museum & Sculpture Park at Lucky Three Ranch! You gotta LOVE those LONGEARS! Hope to see you here!

                    Best wishes and Happy Trails,


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Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback?
LTR Training Tip #120

LTR Training Tip #120: Combined Driving

Combined Driving is similar to Combined Training in that there are three elements that will be scored: Driven Dressage, a cones course in a confined space and the cross country ‘hazards’ course.

View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.


Question: I am looking for a friend for my donkey, and I would like to get a mule to ride too. What should I look for and what should I do so it won’t cause any problems? Can they all be pastured together?


You can be your donkey's or mule's best friend if you do the exercises I outlined in my management and training program, which focuses on building core muscle strength. It is easy to execute and will not only keep your mule healthier, but will also give you the right things to do to become your mule's best friend. If you do, he won't necessarily need another equine companion. If you see him morning and evening for feeding times and then do leading exercises with him for 15-20 minutes once a week, it will give him the socialization he needs. 

Equines have as many personality types as people and there is no real way to predict what friendships will occur. It would be like having someone else pick out a friend for you. In general, mules do better with other mules. Donkeys do better with other donkeys. Still there are responsibilities you have that requires your interaction with them on a routine and consistent basis if you do not want to see adverse behaviors arise, and if you want to keep them happy. Just getting another animal will not solve this problem. You could end up with two animals that both need other suitable companionship even if they are housed together. 

I keep my mules, donkeys and horses separated from each other and in age appropriate groups. Male mules can drive the horses crazy with their need to be near them and will often chase aged mules from the herd. Donkeys prefer family groups of their own kind. Male donkeys would be the same as male mules, especially if they are not castrated. Female donkeys are not as aggressive, but I have found that size matters and all mules and donkeys don’t necessarily bond with those of a different size.  Mare’s and gelding horses are generally much happier by themselves in the pasture without Longears. It is unwise to put any younger (2 years and under), older (18 years and older), or smaller animals in with mules or donkeys (especially males) because it is instinctual for them to chase them, and possibly cause injury or death.

Smaller animals such as cattle, goats, etc. should never be pastured with male mules, donkeys and some molly mules. When supervised, Longears can be taught not to attack your dogs, cats, goats and even calves, but if left alone, it IS in their nature to run these animals down and they will often kill them for sport. This is not as often seen in the females (it depends on personality as well) as it is in the males, but it is, nevertheless, present and should be heeded. 

Training Question Cont.

The best companion for a mule is another equine of a comparable size and age. Animals of another species (especially a smaller species) are never really completely safe with mules. They can get too playful and sometimes will injure, or kill the smaller animal. 

Draft equines should never be pastured with any other kind of equine, or other smaller animal, as they are so large, they can snap another smaller animal’s bones with one well-placed kick with no effort at all. Donkeys do the best when kept in gender groups (jennets/jennys together, geldings together and jacks by themselves with adequate fencing) and groups of animals of the same age. It is the same with mules. Mid age male mules will often bother the molly mules during breeding season.

From Our Readers & Visitors

“I have been associated with Meredith Hodges for many years and know her to be a renown world equestrian 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 for equine educational books.” – Richard Shrake


“I visited your ranch May 7th with the Greeley Adult Center. The beauty of your animals and your dedication to their training and care of them is wonderful. When you spoke to your precious animals, I could see and hear the sincere love you have for them. Thank you for having us visit your ranch.”


"We had a great time at the Lucky Three Ranch! It was educational and fun. We loved meeting the mules and donkeys and hearing their stories. They are amazingly smart, talented and funny. The best part was seeing how happy they are on the ranch and seeing the connection they have with Meredith Hodges, the owner, and her love for them. The animals were beautiful and had definite personalities. Many were memorialized in statues that were truly works of art.”



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Author, Meredith Hodges, and illustrator, Bonnie Shields,
are proud to introduce a brand new book "JASPER: AN APRIL MULE’S DAY!" to their JASPER THE MULE series of books and videos.

And don’t forget to visit 
for lots of fun, entertainment and the ultimate Longears Learning experience!


Bonnie’s Bit

Well, fall was a bust here in North Idaho.  Matter of fact, it got by-passed almost entirely.  Had our first snow September 28th, during the annual Rendezvous of my Cowboy Cartoonists International up the hill from me at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.  The "newbee" was from Indiana and he was impressed to say the least, as were the guys from Texas.  Yeah, we're tough up here.

Since then it has snowed twice, but nothing serious and to us country folks, the lack of fall moisture is concerning.  But, it is early and mama nature could just slam us any day now so I will quit complaining.  Iris is well and eating regular as are the dogs and kitties on the place, and ole BS is working her you-know-what off getting sketches of the next childrens' book I am illustrating.  It is interesting and stretching my "pucker string" as it is a small boys dreams of all the horses he wants to ride.  Eleven of them, to be correct.  Pray for me.

Otherwise, things are good on the "Brass Ass" and I am staying warm and dry so don't worry about BS.  It is GOOD to have my work and my family and my critters.  Wishes are that things are good for all you longears fans, too.  Hug your asses!!!  Bonnie

                       Hug your asses!!!

 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!


The 19th Annual Lucky Hearts Casino Night! 

The 19th Annual Lucky Hearts Casino Night, benefiting Hearts & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center was a huge success for the organization with record breaking fundraising of over $355,000 (net) for their programs. The event on September 28 boasted 750 guests at the Embassy Suites Loveland and had a robust Live and Silent Auction that added to the evening’s festivities. The program consisted of stories of impact that Hearts & Horses has on their riders including veterans, youth-at-risk, and therapeutic riding for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. The Live Auction, led by auctioneer John Clatworthy, brought big numbers for highly sought-after items. One item in particular, was a hand-made mosaic of their late Therapy Donkey, Raymond. Meredith made a pledge to Hearts & Horses that she would win the piece in the auction and donate it back so that the memory of Raymond remained on the ranch. It was Meredith’s generosity and persistence that outbid all others in the room and it was a heartfelt moment that will not be soon forgotten. The guests were entertained by dueling pianos while playing in the bustling casino while the Silent Auction bidding came to an end. It was a wonderful night full of fun, inspiration and hope for all people involved with Hearts & Horses.  



From the auction lot, frightened and untouchable, to a steadfast, trustworthy therapy donkey, Raymond touched many lives during his time at Hearts & Horses.  Sadly, Raymond died on September 27, 2019, but during his time with us he made a huge impact.  His memory will live on in this beautiful mosaic which, thanks to Meredith Hodges, will grace the walls of the Lucky Hearts Arena.  The mosaic was created by a small group of dedicated Hearts & Horses volunteers.  

 Please visit the Hearts & Horses website at:

Kathryn Yuma, Development & Communications Manager

Give the Gift of Joy and Healing
Through an incredible depth and breadth of programming, Hearts & Horses impacts every life we touch. Support the wonderful effects of therapeutic riding for individuals by supporting Hearts & Horses today!

Longears Limelight
Katie Wetteland and Mjolnir

Howdy y’all, I'm the girl taking her mule to an English jumper show at the end of this month (October). I've decided to petition the U.S.E.F. for a rule change very similar to what changed in the U.S.D.F. I plan to submit my proposal at the end of the month after I compete and have solid evidence of a mule’s ability to share an English stage with horses. That being said, I made a petition so it would be active for one month (that has been extended a lot longer upon request) to see how much attention this can garner and submit those numbers in the proposal as well... please if you can spare some time head to the link and share it with your friends. Let's start something great, together!

Link to sign petition

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!


When is the last time you ran a backup on your computer?  We do chores in the house and barn as routine, but is paperwork and electronic filing part of your routine?  Sure, most computers remind you (at the most annoying times) when you need to run an update (which many of us feel is not necessary, truly, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it") but do you think about it every day or even every week? 

Not every one has a computer, but you have an electronic device if you are on this website.  Chances are you use that device for some record keeping as well.  Do you back up photos?  Make copies of important documents?  Have thumb drives or portable hard drives in your safe?  Do you scan (or take a photo of) important paperwork and save it on a separate external drive?  You should!  It's important!

In the case of an emergency - as are going on with flood and fire in some part of the world on any given day - you may think of grabbing essential clothes, your meds, and your wallet/purse, but do you remember to grab the papers for your animals? Papers are replaceable, but having copies makes everyone's life much easier!  You can access your stored files, and get info.  Voila, all the info at your fingertips, on a little brick smaller than your phone. 

DO take a nice cold day (or a super hot one if you are on the other half of the world that's in summer now) and get all your records up to date.  Some registries have time deadlines (not ADMS) but you will always want to make sure you've done your end of paperwork and gotten it off to the next stage - registration, mature updates, transfers, stud reports.  That way you won't have to stress about it later.  Sit back with that cup of favorite hot beverage.  Sort things.  Do some of it.  Don't let it overwhelm you - but don't let it get overwhelming either.   Do a bit, then go lean on a nice furry neck and hug a longear. Your lives will all be better for it! 

Stay warm and dry this winter, 

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


Give the Gift of the Perfect Partnership!

Purchase the Donkey Foundation Training Package 
and get the

Donkey Complete Training Package!

And a special GIFT TO YOU
we are including our NEW BALL CAP!

Purchase the Horse and Mule Foundation Training Package 

and get the

Horse and Mule Complete Training Package!

And a special GIFT TO YOU
we are including our NEW BALL CAP!

and get the complete Jasper Set 

Including our fun Music CD, Coloring Book and
a bonus JASPER BALL CAP!!! 

Sales runs the month of December

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