KYLE, your Lucky Three Ranch news for June 2019 has arrived!
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Message From Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,

It seems we have all experienced some very erratic weather! We had some summer weather in January, then winter in February, March and April. Spring finally arrived in late April and carried through May! Flowers didn’t know whether to bloom or not, trees began to bud (but not all of them!) and the Longears’ shedding schedule was really strange! A mass of comments and questions flooded the social media groups!

Spring finally arrived with promised rainstorms that will definitely help our hay long as they stop long enough in June to harvest the hay! It is Bishop Mule Days 50th Anniversary and we spent most of the spring preparing to go on the trip. Since everyone on my staff usually has to stay home to take care of the ranch, I thought this of all years I should take them to this awesome mule and donkey show! We left the ranch in the capable hands of my Assistant Ranch Manager, Steve Leppert. His duties generally include cleaning the stalls and runs for 18 equines every morning, working on all kinds of ranch projects and harvesting the hay (among a zillion other things!). He’s a BRAVE MAN to offer to take care of this 127-acre ranch by himself. He told me the hardest job was feeding all the cats!

We graced Bishop Mule Days with 11 people and JASPER! Although the show actually began on Tuesday, we arrived in Bishop on Thursday afternoon, just in time to get checked into our motel and meet with our saddle pals and Grammy Award winners, Riders in The Sky who have done all the music for our Jasper videos. Their concert was amazing as usual! It was at that time we met up with our friends from Switzerland who publish the Maultier IG Bulletin. 

After the presentation of the flag to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA," a short prayer and the National Anthem, JASPER showed off his incredible dancing ability on Friday afternoon in the Musical Tires class while protecting the riders from the T-Rex and a very odd ostrich! The crowd went wild!

In the booth, Bonnie Shields and I were happy to introduce our newest JASPER book, Jasper: An April Mule’s Day that includes the Borax 20-Mule Team! We were so excited to finally have a chance to ride in the beautiful new and complete replications of all three Borax wagons. We had sponsored the building of these wagons and made history since they have never before been replicated, doing it the way they did hundreds of years ago. As we were able, we slipped out to see the performances after the parade during Saturday and Sunday. We made our way home on Memorial Day as we reverently remembered those who gave their lives that we might enjoy the privileges of today! The crew took lots of photos and videos that we will be posting on social media throughout the month of June for our family, friends and fans to share!

Riders In the Sky - Meredith & JoanneRiders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
        Riders In the Sky - Mer & Joanne                  Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri

Meredith & Swiss FriendsRiders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
              Meredith & Swiss Friends                      Riders in the Sky -  Meredith, Bonnie & Dianne

               Meredith & Swiss Friends     Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
                                                                    Fun With Jasper

                                                 Flag Presentation

Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & TeriJASPER Musical Tires
                                 JASPER Musical Tires   

Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
          Parade - 20-Mule Team Borax Wagons with Meredith, Jasper, Bonnie & Chad

                               Roeser Aqueduct Pack Mules                              
LTR Videographers – Robbie & Blake

Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
            Bridleless Western Pleasure                  Bridleless Western Pleasure Winner Tim Phillips

                   Team Pack Scramble                                             Team Pack Scramble

Riders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & TeriRiders In the Sky – Kristen, Bailey & Teri
                            Team Roping                                                         Donkey Race
Chariot Race
      Lady Muleskinner Docking 8-Up Hitch                                      Chariot Race


Best wishes and Happy Trails,

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Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback?
LTR Training Tip #14

Teaching Good Manners When Training

For more information on good manners, check out the Training Mules and Donkeys DVD series at, or TMD Episode 2: The Mule Foal, 15: Showmanship Review, and 17: Donkey Training, Part 1 at, and download the Training Tip Tutorial at

View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.


Question:  How do I stop my mule from bolting on the lead line?

Answer: Be clear and consistent with your equines. The Lucky Three equines (including our horses and ponies) are all trained to come when they are called, stand back to wait their turn, and to come through gates and turn around to have their halters put on easily upon request. Always negotiate gates exactly the same way every time no matter how many animals you are leading.

Being clear and consistent in your handling practices with a carefully planned reward system - not bribery - will enhance the pleasure and safety you will experience during interaction with your equine! Carry a reward of crimped oats in a fanny pack strapped around your waist to command his complete attention. When we take the lead rope in our right hand and walk forward, we inadvertently interfere with their balance by subtlely pulling their head and neck from side to side. They balance with their head and neck. They get tired of being knocked off balance and most will eventually just LEAVE!

Always lead with your equine’s head at your shoulder, hold the lead rope in your left hand and point in the direction of travel with your right hand. This gives him something to follow forward with no interference with his balance and gives you a free hand to push him back into position should he try to pass you, or cross in front of you. Always walk straight lines and gradual arcs to enable him to keep equal weight over all four feet as he travels, and when he turns. Your equine should not lean, but rather, bend through his rib cage while staying erect in his body. Every single time you stop, square him up with equal weight over all four feet, reward him with the crimped oats and then WAIT for him to completely finish chewing before you ask him to go forward again. When you do things consistently this way, he becomes completely responsible for his own self-carriage and balance will no longer be an issue. The routine will become familiar to him and he will be happier to follow you wherever you want to go, keeping slack in the rope at all times. Our approach to training will help you to always get the very best from your equine and what's more...they will look forward to being with you, with or without the lead rope!

If you email me at,    
I am happy to send you even more details about this for FREE!




“What a delightful book! Creative story about Jasper the mule on another adventure by Meredith Hodges; illustrations by Bonnie Shields. Every child would love this book! Check it out at”

“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!”

“You know Meredith - you are incredible! Of all the thousands of people who follow you and heavens knows how many messages you received, and still you take the time to answer. You are a very special person.”

“Once again you mesmerized friends of ours with your knowledge, enthusiasm for your mules, sculpture, etc. As you can tell from the many questions asked, they were fascinated (not to mention your patient answers!) We love to take our guests there and no doubts, you will be hearing from us in the future!”

“Thank you so much! First of all, thank you. Both my husband and I are just stunned that a person of your stature and celebrity would personally answer us. Thank you so much!”


Since 1967, the ADMS is one of the largest donkey and Mule registries and provides an informative, bi-monthly magazine titled THE BRAYER for a nominal membership cost of $27.00 ($37.00 in Canada, $50.00 overseas US Funds only). Although we lost Betsy several years ago, she is always with us in spirit. We honor Paul Hutchins and Leah Patton, with the help of their crew, carry on the with the American Donkey & Mule Society registry and club obligations to our members. 

Thank you all for your enthusiasm for our beloved Longears and for your continued efforts on their behalf!

The American Donkey & Mule Society
PO Box 1210
Lewisville, Texas 75067
(972) 219-0781

Find Us On Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and pinterest!





Author, Meredith Hodges, and illustrator, Bonnie Shields, are proud to introduce a brand new book to their JASPER THE MULE series of books

Enjoy the hijinks of yet another JASPER & MOXIE adventure as they
experience the perils of April Fools’ Day!

Jasper the Mule, Bonnie Shields and Meredith reading the brand new book!

Bonnie’s Bit

The "faithful" all met in Bishop, Ca May 22 to the 26th.  Meredith, me and her "crew" were all there in the midst of the celebration of number 50 for Bishop Mule Days, and it wuz GRAND!  Unfortunately, the weather was iffy and cold and wet a lot of the time, cutting the grandstand crowd down for some of the performances, but parade day was just perfect.  

Some of you are aware of the famous 20 mule Borax teams and wagons, and that Bishop sports the new authentic re-creations of same for Mule Days. Not everyone is aware that our heroine, Miss Meredith, has been a major contributor and supporter of that recreation project, and this year, just in time, the final wagon was done and hooked to the rest of the wagons.  We are talking about the water wagon that brings up the rear of the string.  It is done and it is marvelous, just like the two big wagons it follows, and it followed Jasper, Meredith and I in the front wagon in the parade.  What an honor, and for a mule freak like me, looking up the backs of 18 mules and the two horses on the tongue and Bobby Tanner with that long rope to the left leader mule is something I will forever treasure.

The kick-off of the new Jasper book, “An April Mule's Day," was a success and feed-back is pretty much lots of grins and giggles.  Good job, Jasper.

So, I now sit in my office and try to make heads-and-tails of the business end of this years adventure. Not the fun part, but it has to be done.  Lots of promised projects on my calendar to keep me occupied for months yet, so don't fear, I am not bored.  Hope your summer is good to you--and your mule if you are lucky enough to have one--or two or etc. 

                        Happy Trails everyone. 

 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!


Help Us Raise the Barn at Hearts & Horses!

Hearts & Horses, a therapeutic riding center, has been serving people with physical limitations, including veterans, youth at risk, and other special needs populations since 1997. These equine-assisted activities can improve their lives significantly with the help of PATH certified instructors and physical and occupational therapists. As their success has grown, so too has the demand for services. A new, larger and innovatively-designed arena will allow Hearts & Horses to serve more riders, reducing and ultimately eliminating their increasing waitlist. 

To meet the expanding needs of the community and enhance program excellence, Hearts & Horses initiated a $1.5 Million capital campaign to build this larger, more durable and safer insulated steel building. Slated for completion this summer, such a major achievement is accomplished only through the generosity of many. With only 10% left to raise to complete this transformational project, they are still in need of community support to get them over the finish line and open this new state of the art facility. To honor Meredith Hodge’s legacy and generosity toward Hearts & Horses, this new arena will be aptly named the Lucky Hearts Arena.  

Once completed, the Lucky Hearts Arena will double the available
indoor arena space with an industrial-sized divider that can split the space in two, allowing for multiple classes to happen simultaneously. The new high-tech sound system will also have smart technology allowing for microphone usage on either side of the divider and also control sound in the community classroom.

The community classroom will have space to seat up to 50 people in classroom-style arrangements, and also has one-way viewing windows so people in the classroom can watch what is happening in the arena without disturbing the horses and riders.  Both sides of the arena have interactive viewing areas where observers, family and friends can safely watch the sessions while feeling like they are in the arena with the participant. 

Recognition opportunities are still available, but time is running out to leave your mark on this special place that will support hope and healing for generations to come. If you are interested in taking a preview tour or making a gift that will help finish ‘Raising the Barn’ at Hearts & Horses please contact Kathryn Yuma, Development & Communications Manager at or 970-663-4200.

Meredith Hodges from Lucky Three Ranch has been an enthusiastic supporter of Hearts & Horses for decades.  

"After spending 20 years supporting Hearts & Horses, it wasn’t difficult to decide whether to help build this new arena.  They simply need more usable space for more classes to move people off the waitlist and into action!  Over the years I carefully watched how my money was being spent, the success of the initial program, the competence of the administrators, therapists, and volunteers who unselfishly gave of their time and effort, and I was duly impressed by their dedication and experience.  Words cannot express my respect and admiration for Hearts & Horses.  I am honored to be part of an extraordinary legacy.” 
                                                                                                 Meredith Hodges

For many of the riders at Hearts & Horses, this is the first and only place where teams of people believe in their abilities. It is not only a goal of the organization to make people better and happier; but it is also a core value that weaves a tapestry of commitment and energy throughout the ranch.  From the Board of Directors to the staff and volunteers, Hearts & Horses encourages all their riders to reach their full potential. They are changing lives every day.  

Interested in finding out more on the Raise the Barn Campaign?  

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!



Check out our completely new website
and see our latests sales!

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!


Change hits like lightning.  One can never be prepared for EVERYTHING, but one should be prepared for as much as possible.  Floods, fires, drought.  Pastures rotting.  Roads swept away...every day is a challenge, but equine owners are a tough breed.  Know your animals, know how they will react in a situation (that being said, no one can ever predict 100% what an equine will do).  Halter train them, even if they are pasture pets.  Keep up with their routine vet work - but try not to neglect your own health and well-being.  Make sure your neighbor/house sitter/best friend knows yours and their routine.  Make sure you have vital records stored in a safe location - and make sure your own papers are up to date like wills and trusts and beneficiaries!    

It's going to be a funny summer, after this funny winter (Parts of the country are still having winter)!   Let's do like our motto from the Renaissance Faire, where we are all improvisational actors.  Take what comes at you, grab it, wrestle it into submission, bend like a reed in the wind.  

We hope that everyone will have a LESS eventful summer and enjoy some trail riding, or at least water-skiing across your pasture behind your favorite mule. 
Until next time,

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

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