Monday, March 27, 2017

Mules and More's 7th Annual Trail Riding Index

Here are our favorite suggestions for trail riding clinics, campgrounds, and trail riding vacations!
Pick up our April issue of Mules and More to see our full 7th annual Trail Riding issue!

Trail Riding Clinics

Building a Better Trail Partnership with Clinician Karen Lovell

August 5, 6 and 7, 2017
Rocky Mountain Mule Ranch, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
This clinic is designed to improve the communication between you and your mule. You will work towards achieving this goal by building a strong and trusting relationship that will produce a willing and confident animal. Come stay at the ranch. 
Rocky Mountain Mule & Saddle Co.
Rocky Mountain House, AB, Canada

Overcoming Challenges with Your Horse or Mule with Wild Bunch Mule Co. 

April 28-29, 2017
Whiskey Ridge Ranch in Malvern, Arkansas
Address bad habits, fear, personality conflicts and obstacles in this clinic hosted by Mark and Jennifer Bailey. Instruction in the arena and on the beautiful trails of the ranch and surrounding properties Cost is $300 for two day's instruction with all meals included. Entertainment is proved for Saturday evening. Please RSVP for a clinic participant spot. Spectators are welcome and admission is $24 for two days. 


Fort Valley Ranch Horse & Mule Campground

Fort Valley, VA
Whether you are looking for a guided horseback ride on one of our sure-footed trail horses or bring your own horse, Fort Valley Ranch, nestled in the Massanutten Mountains of the National Forest, has the perfect setting.  We have miles of marked trails on the Ranch as well as direct access to trails in the George Washington National forest.  Hourly, half and full-day rides, as well as multi-day Ranch Packages, are available.  Centrally located in the Shenandoah Valley, minutes from Luray Caverns in Luray, VA and only 1.5 scenic hours from Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Whiskey Ridge Ranch - Malvern, Arkansas

Whiskey Ridge Guest Ranch features guided and non-guided rides on scenic trails and ponds for fishing and swimming areas. Stalls and trailer hook-ups with water and electric are available. There is a 150 x 250 covered riding arena with bleachers with a full team roping set-up, barrels, poles, jumps and obstacles. Riding lessons are offered. Come ride with us!
Whiskey Ridge Guest Ranch

Buck Fever Camp Trail Rides - Southwest Colorado

Be on your own on trails, or be guided. Move cattle from one pasture to another. Camp in our wall tent, next to a pond with trout, or stay in our cabin. Or you can bring your living quarter trailer and stay in our camp with full hook-up, with a nice fire ring for your group, or put up your own tent.
Arrange for a chuck wagon dinner prepared for your family or group.
Arrange for a wagon ride, this would be an early evening ride, this would be an early evening ride to get a better opportunity to see elk and other wildlife and a beautiful sunset. 
Our ranch is 1,200 acres and borders BLM Land, so there is plenty of riding available. 
Bring your own mules and horses.
Call for details (661)303-0005. 

Turkey Creek Ranch - Newcastle, NE

Turkey Creek Ranch is a dream destination for horse riders. We offer two fully furnished cabins and a campground with electric hook-ups, picnic shelters, shower house, and horse pens. We have miles of mapped trails and an obstacle course you won't find anywhere else!
Call to reserve your spot today! Weekends fill up quickly! 


Riding Vacations

U-Trail's High Adventure Destinations

High adventure destinations and wilderness pack trips enrich and renew your spirit! Reconnect with the natural world on horseback: Gila Wilderness alpine adventures in southwest New Mexico; Unique and stunning destinations each day, including historical sites; Experience Ancient Indian Cliff Dwellings; Pristine solitude, clear running creeks and endless vistas; Observe elk and deer in camp

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Attitude vs Strength

Stephanie proved to Ginger that, despite her physical size and strength, she was a strong, dependable leader that would follow through and not pussyfoot around about her intentions.  They have a relationship built on mutual respect

by Susan Dudasik, Salmon, Idaho

Physical strength isn’t everything, especially when dealing with mules. Some folks still believe that to handle a mule you need brute strength, bigger bits and chains on the halter. But that theory doesn’t apply to all mules, though granted, there are those that may need some stronger input. Often, one of the most basic things folks overlook when handling equines in general is attitude and follow through. 
Stephanie Middlebrook is one of my riders. She just turned 28, has cerebral palsy and might weigh a hundred pounds dripping wet. She’s been active with horses since she was five and believe me, this live wire doesn’t take any guff of any of our equines. She doesn’t have the physical strength, but she sure has the attitude of a lead mare, and the equines know and respect her. Though she is non-verbal and just communicates through sounds, Stephanie gets her message across. They also know she will follow through on any corrective action she might have to use.

Stephanie’s first mule encounter was with John, an older john mule that has now passed on. She rode him a bit and did lots of in-hand trail with him. Since they were doing so well together, we thought it might be fun for Stephanie to do an in-hand demonstration at the Salmon Select Mule Sale. So she was going to step up to Ginger, my show mule who’s an opinionated, aged molly. For me, Ginger has always been solid and does what she’s asked. So I thought she would be a good match for Stephanie. Ginger thought she was going to have other ideas.

We were in the trail area where Stephanie was going to lunge Ginger for the first time in the open. Stephanie had lunged her a little in the barn and that went alright. The open area proved to be a different story. Since things went well in the barn, I didn’t hesitate having Stephanie try in the open since the demonstration would be in a big arena. Stephanie held the lungeline and whip and I held the line about six feet behind her, basically to keep it from tangling around her. Stephanie always knows that if anything happens, she’s just to drop the line. Well, Stephanie sent Ginger out on the line and started her going around to the left. Suddenly Ginger snatched the lead and took off across the field, surprising both Stephanie and I. We both let go of the lungeline.  I hiked out, got Ginger and brought her back. Stephanie sent her out again and at the same spot, Ginger snatched the lungeline and was off again. She had never done anything like this before. 

I gathered her up again and Stephanie and I reviewed our strategy. Once was a fluke, twice was planned so we had to be ready for her. I told Stephanie to send her out again and at the spot she took off, to snatch the lungeline as hard as she could and yell “WA,” her sound for whoa. Stephanie sent her out again and at the same spot, we could see Ginger’s nose tip outward. That instant Stephanie pulled on the lungeline with all her might and as Ginger’s nose came inward she yelled “WA” at the top of her lungs! Ginger hit the brakes, her eyes grew big as saucers and she looked at Stephanie. I was trying hard not to laugh at Ginger’s expression.  Stephanie puffed up to her lead mare attitude, looked at Ginger and motioned her to come to her. Ginger did exactly as she was told. Walked up next to Stephanie and stood like a perfect lady. 

Stephanie sent her out on the lungeline again and as Ginger neared her escape spot, Stephanie shook the line, gave a verbal reminder and Ginger politely continued around the circle. Ginger got the message! It didn’t take brute strength, just attitude and timing. Stephanie proved to Ginger that, despite her physical size and strength, she was a strong, dependable leader that would follow through and not pussyfoot around about her intentions. Before long they were working various in-hand obstacles including very tight back throughs and bridges. And, for their demonstration, Stephanie worked Ginger on the lungeline, changed directions and even sent her over a small jump.

Last fall, Stephanie started working with Bonnie, first in the barn doing in-hand work and some obstacles. She’s been on Bonnie twice and this spring hopefully she will be riding her more often. This is a challenge for both of them. Because of Stephanie’s physical condition, she sits differently in the saddle, her leg cues are different and she uses her reins differently than we do.  Bonnie isn’t quite sure what’s expected of her and is having to learn a new set of rider cues as well as to understand Stephanie’s vocal language. And, Stephanie will have to figure out how to communicate her intentions to Bonnie. 

Watching Stephanie working with the equines often reinforces the fact that they are comfortable and respond well to a confident leader. It’s not a person’s size or physical strength, but their heart and attitude that make the best training tools. 
Walk with me! Bonnie confidentially walks with Stephanie off lead

Stephanie and Ginger doing their demonstration at the Salmon Select Horse Sale

Getta and Stephanie helping Bonnie get used to Stephanie’s verbal and physical cues

Susan Dudasik is an equine journalist, PATH Intl. Certified riding instructor and a mule enthusiast. She's competed in numerous trail class events, holds clinics and teaches groundwork and trail classes at Misfit Farm in Salmon, Idaho. The advice given here is meant only as a guide. A professional trainer should handle any serious equine training problems.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Mules and More’s 7th Annual Trail Riding Guide


We are working on our 7th annual trail riding guide for the April 2017 issue of Mules and More. Do you have a favorite place to trail ride, a destination trip or local trip, that you would like to see featured? Send your story and photos to us! Email or mail to PO Box 460, Bland MO 65014. If you email photos, be sure to send them in their original file size and format, and at least 300 dpi. The deadline is March 1. Also - the last several years we have chosen our April cover from submissions to the trail guide. So this might be your chance to be on the cover of Mules and More!


Do you own a campground, trail ride or overnight campground? Let us help you start the season out on the right foot, by getting your business in front of the eyes of thousands of mule owners! Contact us for information on how to advertise in the Trail Riding Issue, which comes with a complimentary spot in our online Trail Riding Guide. This year’s deadline is March 1. 

Big South Fork, Tennessee: A Beautiful Fall Adventure

by Angie J. Mayfield, Loogootee, Idaho
Tennessee is a beautiful state, especially in the mountains when the leaves are changing colors and the air is perfect for a warm campfire. I physically mourned when I heard the gorgeous Gatlinburg area was on fire. As a kid that was our annual family vacation, and I have so many fond memories of the mountains and wildlife there. 
Another gorgeous area of Tennessee not, affected by the fires, lies further north, bordering Kentucky, and that is the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. It encompasses 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau and surrounds the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. With miles of scenic gorges and sandstone bluffs, there is a wide range of equine trails and other outdoor recreational activities. Rich with natural and historic features, it’s a great place to pack up the family and the long ears and spend a weekend or a week. 
There’s a lodge and several equine campgrounds in the Jamestown and Oneida, TN areas of Big South Fork. The first time we went we stayed at True West, which was very nice, but I must admit as an extreme trail rider I was a little disappointed at the wide, road-like trails. However, our November trip this year gave me a whole new appreciation for South Fork. This time we stayed at Honey Creek Campground, about 30 minutes north of Jamestown near Allardt. More secluded but with a bunkhouse, a clean, roomy shower house, and numerous stalls and electric campsites, we were impressed. And the owners are sweethearts who were so helpful and friendly. We even met some great mule Facebook friends from Nashville, Debra and Wilbur Brooks, who came over to visit, sit around the campfire, and listen to Tucker play the banjo.
The trails, however, really won me over to the Honey Creek area. The camp connects to 150 miles of scenic equestrian trails that vary from easy to OMG! We loved it. One trail was literally named the “Oh Sh**” trail, and some rock hopping was required. Little Tucker was with us, and he managed the trail fine, except when he lost his toy pistol and was quite upset. But we ended up finding it and then he was back to having a blast on his little mule, Booger. 
Many of the trails out of Honey Creek run along the beautiful winding White Oak River. The White Oak runs along the old O&W Railroad bed, which served the old mining and timber camps in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, and has since been turned into part of the park's equestrian trail system. After a firm swat on the rear, we convinced the mules to cross the old O&W railroad bridge over the river. It was quite exhilarating and great practice for our upcoming adventure to the Grand Canyon with our mules in March. 
Friday it was 73 degrees and sunny. Saturday it was 42 degrees and cloudy. And I thought 30 degree changes only occurred in Indiana! Thankfully I had packed our long underwear, gloves, and hats. The cold front didn’t stop us from riding 20 miles Saturday, making a big loop along the scenic overlooks and then following the river. Then we explored some of the more adventurous trails on the way back to camp, barely making it in by dark. Fortunately, it didn’t rain as predicted. The outcroppings, giant boulders in the river, and various flora from holly bushes and mountain laurel to pines and hardwoods were breathtaking and distracted us from the cold wind. Most of the trails were covered with a layer of colorful leaves or pine needles, and we didn’t see a soul on the trails all weekend. It was magical and one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in awhile. And oh, how good that campfire felt after the ride. 
Our trip reminded me never to let a first impression of a place be my last one. Big South Fork is definitely on our annual trip list now. It’s not far from home but offers great trails, scenery, and camps for all types of mule riders. There are also plenty of gravel roads and fire trails around to bring your wagons so we plan to bring our mini mule and cart next time. We’re going to spend a few days at Honey Creek and then drive down and ride at Cades Cove next year. My New Year’s resolution is to trail ride as many miles and visit as many places as I can, including the final two states in the U.S. I haven’t ridden in. So many trails, so little time! 

Angie J. Mayfield is an author, professor, and columnist for three magazines who has ridden in 48 states and six countries on her mules and logged more than 6,000 trail miles just since she started keeping track in 1999.
View from the O&W railroad bridge at Big South Fork

Doug, Tucker, and mules at the Double Arches near Honey Creek Campground

2017 Jack Index

Looking for a jack to breed to, or to buy a jack? 
Then save these two pages. Here is all the information you need, gathered in one handy spot.

Want your jack or farm to be featured in the online version? Contact us at any of the ways below: 
Mules and More Magazine

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Beautiful Day And A Great Ride

by Bob McCormick, Chehalis, Washington
When my Appaloosa Dusty was nearing retirement, about 20 years ago, I started raising mules. My second mule baby turned out to be the replacement for Dusty. Fred grew into a big mule, which is what I wanted at that time. I always thought ‘big’ was the way to go, but as time went by I got shorter and Fred seemed to grow taller!
I underwent shoulder replacement and couldn’t get the saddle on Fred very easily, and when I did get the saddle on, I couldn’t get on! So, Fred got a job with a Southwest Montana Outfitter, and I began looking for a new, shorter, mule.

I answered an advertisement in Mules and More from a man in Iowa who had a smaller molly mule for sale. After he answered all my questions I felt really good about this little mule, Lucy. Lucy happened to be in Missouri on a trail ride, which was my good fortune. A friend of Loren Basham’s (Pair-A-Dice Mules in Missouri) picked Lucy up and took her to Loren so he could ride her for a week. Loren said she was a good mule, so I bought her and had her shipped to Washington in October 2014. I underwent the shoulder surgery right after that and wasn’t permitted to ride for almost a year, so Lucy got a vacation. I was finally able to ride and really fell in love with Lucy.

Last spring Lucy’s left eye started weeping and I could see a little dimple in her cornea. The local veterinarian treated her for a couple of weeks for an eye infection. Following that treatment he gave the okay to resume riding Lucy, but after a week the eye was weeping even worse and she was not tolerating light in that eye. This time I took her to Northwest Equine in Hobart, Wash., about 90 miles from my place. She was diagnosed with an ulcer in her eye. A lavage tube was inserted into the upper eyelid and the tube was stitched to her forehead and along her neck. I was required to administer four types of medicine four times a day. Lucy was tolerant throughout; she never fussed or refused to be caught. This treatment lasted five weeks, until the vet was satisfied that it had healed sufficiently. The eye has very little scarring, in fact, if you don’t look closely it isn’t noticeable. Lucy seems to see out of that eye just fine, because when we are on the trail she will swipe a bite along the trail on the left. We have been on several rides in the Cascades this fall and she has been fine.

The photos were taken by Selena Davis of our ride to Goat Rocks Wilderness, along the Pacific Crest Trail. The mountain in the distance is Mt. Rainier and the Goat Lake is visible in some of the photos. During all of the eye treatment I realized what a great mule I have; Lucy has personality, loves people, and is never crabby!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

2017 Jack Issue & Index Information

Mules and More’s 26th Annual Jack Issue Information

Featured breeders and jack advertising package - $100 - includes both print and online advertising!
This year’s Special Jack Issue will go in the mail January 25, 2017.

Deadline for regular advertising is January 4, 2017
You can’t think of February without thinking of love, and when you raise mules and donkeys, February also means the start of breeding season. Each February, mare and jennet owners look to the February issue of Mules and More to play matchmaker and search for the perfect cross.  

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to get your  jack in front of potential clients!  

Find more information here:

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