<<First Name>>, your Lucky Three Ranch news for June 2020 has arrived!
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Message From Meredith Hodges

Dear Friends,

We have all had a very lonesome and trying spring this year with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the strict rules we have had to endure for the sake of our health and the health of those we love. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of you who have endured the excessive hardships and losses. Like many of you, I am truly grateful for the animals that surround me and the opportunity to enjoy the environment in which I live. Some are not as blessed. We were fortunate enough to keep our operation going with the exception of the tours. Since we were considered an “essential agricultural business,” I was able to keep my employees working. Luckily, there were not a lot of us. Having to shut down the tours has left an empty feeling for the past couple of months. We missed hearing all those enthusiastic voices and seeing the smiling faces of those in our tour groups, but hopefully, we will be able to open up and resume again soon! We miss you all! We are excited to be able to offer something new to our tours when they finally do resume. We decided to build an OLD WESTERN TOWN front and are calling the town ASSPEN!

I don’t want to give it ALL away just now, but here is a sneak peek photo of what we have done so far!

I acquired another donkey as a friend for our Large Standard donkey, Wrangler. Her name is Chasity and she came to us with a lot of problems. I could have bought a perfectly conformed show donkey, but I like to give new homes to those that really need them. I enjoy the challenges that come with them and try to make them the very best that they can be. Chasity has posed quite a challenge with her poor posture, obesity, Lordosis (swayback), cataracts in both eyes, unbalanced hooves and an old bacterial infection in her teats and udder. In just one month, we have been able to reduce the fat on her enlarged neck by 50%, enhanced her postural core strength, balanced her hooves and reduced the infection by 70% with our feeding, management and postural core strength training program. I figure in about five more months, she won’t even look like the same donkey!    

Right now, she is still in quarantine, but Wrangler is nearby so they can get acquainted with each other without touching. She is very sweet, extremely intelligent and learns quickly. We love her and so does Wrangler! He will soon have a turnout playmate! You can read the details about how I am rehabilitating her on my website at under TRAINING/CHASITY’S CHALLENGES and on my “MEREDITH HODGES” Public Figure page on Facebook.

The flowers are blooming and the hayfields are growing with the promise of a beautiful summer! Hopefully, we will be able to reopen soon and again share the Lucky Three Ranch with all of our family, friends and fans. In the meantime, please take care, stay safe and God bless you all!

Best wishes and Happy Trails,


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Have a question for Meredith or want to give us feedback?

LTR Training Tip #1

Training Donkeys

Meredith gets a lot of letters and emails from people with training questions about their equines. Here, she offers some practical advice for training your donkeys.
View many more training tips on our YouTube channel.


Question:  Thank you so much for the information!! I really appreciate it. Would using a muzzle be beneficial or harmful to his training? Or should I say my training? I grew up raising and showing horses. The donkey is a new concept. He is with my quarter horse gelding I rescued. I wanted the donkey as a companion for my horse. Was that a bad idea or is this something that will pass (following your advice) as time passes? Again, thank you so much for helping me through this.

Answer: Thank you for your email. You are so welcome!  I believe that muzzles are a lazy person’s answer to good management. They just want to be able to put the animal on pasture and feed (and manage) when it is convenient for them. Donkeys are very smart animals and although they readily accept you putting on a muzzle, they will often figure out a way to get it off, or adjust it so they can eat what they want with it on anyway. Besides, having a halter or muzzle on their head puts them at risk of it getting caught on something and causing injury. I guess you would have to ask yourself…”How would I feel if someone tried to muzzle me to control my eating habits?” This is why it is important to use a mutually satisfying management and training program. Even Pat Parelli agrees that horses SHOULD be trained, the way that Longears MUST BE TRAINED for the best results.

If your horse does not kick at the donkey, then it is probably all right. However, if there is any kicking going on, I would separate them. One well-placed kick could snap the smaller donkey’s bones.

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

“Thank you for your quick response. I wish I had found out about you when I got back into horses. I have always thought that people push out horses way too fast. Out of all the research and books that I have purchased starting back to 2001, not one person had the knowledge you have. I am so very appreciative to have a teacher like you.”

“Thank you for posting your wonderful training videos! I am a teacher at Ridgetown College, and while I state these things to them, and show them with our school horses, it is a great repetition for them to hear it from someone else! Your equines are fabulous! I enjoy the videos even more because of the mules.”

"This is just a quick email to let you know that my donkey, that you helped me with recently (advice on feeding regime, etc.), is now looking like a million dollars.  She has lost weight in her stomach over her crest and her rump and above her tail.  She is charging around with much energy.  I have done some in hand with her but not a lot but lack of exercise aside she has really got a great “figure” and seems very happy. Although she still seems prone to thrush, she has lost the puss from frog problem (I wonder if that was the processed food?)”


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Keep checking back on our new and
improved website for regular is constantly being updated with new and interesting information!

It is the place to visit for all things equine!

The LTR BLOG has stories from around the world. ABOUT LTR tells about Meredith and the Lucky Three Ranch, under TRAINING you will find Ask Meredith with commonly asked Q & A’s, Mule Facts, video TRAINING TIPS, VIDEO ON DEMAND (RFD-TV Shows and more) MULE CROSSING articles, LONGEARS MUSIC videos, Misc. Music Videos, What's New With Roll? (Story of the Rescue Draft Mules, ROCK & ROLL), Another Augie & Spuds Adventure (Training miniature donkeys), Wrangler's Donkey Diary (Management & training of our new donkey gelding) and a new category has just been added titled CHASITY’S CHALLENGES!  Check out our TOURS (personalized clinics) and keep up with the latest developments in the equine industry with RESOURCES/NEWS (Longears Calendar of Events, Classifieds, Longears Clubs, Therapeutic Riding, Equine Rescues, Equine Welfare in the News, Wild Mustangs/Burros Campaign and Horse Slaughter facts & FAQ's). And of course, you are welcome to peruse our STORE. This website is like no other!


Longears Limelight

Fort Bliss
 is a United States Army post in New Mexico and Texas, with its headquarters in El Paso. The Rio Grande was about a mile south of the camp at that time; water was hauled daily by mule team to the camp. This photo was taken at Fort Bliss in 1942.
Bonnie’s Bit

Spring of 2020 is not being good to the Mule Artist!  (except I am virus free so far!)  I have used this time off to get things accomplished and more on that in a moment, but a “biggie” is my husband (Terry Steiner) had a BIG heart attack on Wednesday, May 13!!!  He actually “died” twice and had to be resuscitated both times and wound-up in the big hospital in Coeur d'Alene for 4 days.  He is home now and doing OK but not great.  They had to put him on one of those awful ventilators and it has torn-up his throat and voice box.  Now, he is a dramatic actor in his real life with a demanding and booming voice and it is disconcerting to not hear that sound when he is trying to talk.

As to the attack itself, it turns out it was the meds he was taking for the back pain.   Twelve of them.  Four contained potassium!!!  Critter lovers know potassium is what the vet shoots into the heart to euthanize our animal friends!  It kills.

But, before all this happened, I decided to tackle a daunting project for a customer--painting 27 mules on one of those incredible ground-driven combines. It turned out pretty fine and I just might make a print from it later this year.

Otherwise, things are fine on the brass ass and my mule is shedding like crazy.

Like every mule-freak, I am missing Bishop Mule Days terribly, but how grateful I was home to handle the husband’s emergency. 

KEEPING MY TRACES TIGHT!                         

 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 needs your help to resume their life-changing programs safely and strongly.

At Hearts & Horses, the herd and programs they offer are so important to the well-being of their participants, volunteers and our community. The organization pivoted quickly to adapt to the changing landscape to offer remote learning classes with videos and live lessons with instructors, and also worked to reduce expenses by finding vacation homes for some members of the herd during the pandemic. 

The financial impact of COVID-19 has been substantial for Hearts & Horses. The cancellation of the Spring and Summer Sessions has created a loss of over $100K in program and fundraising revenue that they depend on to keep staff on payroll and continue the utmost care for their amazing herd. As they look to the future of reopening, their new safety and sanitation measures will be robust as they plan a slow-phased approach to resuming programming. 

Hearts & Horses needs your support more than ever to reopen with confidence, peace-of-mind and on sure footing so that they can continue their life-changing programs long into the future. A gift of any amount will help carry their mission forward to provide Horses, Healing and Hope in Northern Colorado. Thank you! 

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!




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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 specials are available with special features.

Three day rentals and all videos have closed captions!


Hello all from the strange reality of 2020.  I hope it has been kind to you. 

In my small, isolated county, there have been a number of cases and a few deaths.  Luckily, we're rural and can stay distanced most of the time.  What this means for many is normal trips to the grocery (twice a month) and a lot of normal time spent doing farm chores.  Fences always need mending.  Animals always need tending.  My routine right now has been expanded as I finally did a bucket-list item and got two LaMancha goats.  Who would have thought, loving donkeys and mules with those great big ears, that LaManchas with practically NO ears would be my favorite goat breed? 

The Registry is hanging on, only by way of being remote.  So many people have lost jobs and income, we know everyone is struggling.  We're trying to keep a bright outlook for the future, hoping some normalcy will return in the fall, and we'll be able to show, to ride in groups, to visit friends.  It's a good time, though, to look at your breeding plan.  That jennet that has always had a little bit of a hard time recovering from foaling?  How about give her this year off.  If you have yearlings and weanlings in the pasture right now, why not give everyone a little break, spend that extra time working with the little ones and doing some more advanced training?  While we sincerely hope the market will swing the other way, there is winter to think of - hay, grain, upkeep... will you make it through?   

Also, another good time to mention that if you don't have a will, PLEASE make one.  Make sure people know what your plans are... and who takes care of the animals in the horrific event of untimely death. Been there, had to deal with that, and it's not something that's fun.  Make your wishes plain, make sure your executor knows where to find important paperwork.   And this isn't just because of COVID-19, the unfortunate fact is we could go at anytime.  Take a day and make the life of your kids and relatives easier just in case something does happen. 

We wish you all long life, preferably worry free out on the porch in the evenings, boots up, sipping your favorite beverage, but being custodians to animals means we have to think ahead.  Get all the bad stuff out of the way and planned for, so you can have the time to sit back and enjoy the good! 

Stay safe, hug your longears, 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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