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: http://mulesandmore.com/jackinfo.html

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

31st Annual National Championship Chuck Wagon Races

by Sue Cole, Mules and More Editor
photos by Porch Pig Productions
video
My yearly trip to Clinton, Arkansas, to watch the National Championship Chuck Wagon Races is one of the highlights of my year. This was the 31st  year for the event held on the Bar of Ranch. I was once again joined by friends, JoAnn Edwards of Eureka, Mo., and Virginia Bertz of Higginsville, Mo.
Not long after I purchased Mules and More, 26 years ago, my late husband Gene and I had been hearing about the chuck wagon races held on Labor Day weekend. So, we drove down on a Friday just to check them out. At that time the races weren’t nearly as popular, or as well attended, as they are today, and we were able to find a motel room at the small motel in town. Today, if you are wanting to reserve a room, you must call several months in advance. I still remember meeting one of the contestants Jason Wilf of Pleasant Plains, Ark. at the motel; Jason has a way of never meeting a stranger, and he and his family are still competing with their mules.
Ordinarily Labor Day weekend in Arkansas finds the temperatures in the 80’s, 90’s and sometimes 100+ degrees, with high humidity. The first year we attended I don’t remember it being extremely hot, but I do remember it pouring down rain, and almost all of the spectators gathered beneath the roof of the pavilion Dan had constructed; this pavilion is still standing, but it certainly wouldn’t hold but a very small portion of those watching the races (held rain or shine) from the top of the bluff. This year the weather was absolutely perfect, for the first time I can remember.
The races are still as exciting as they were the first time I attended, only now there are just a lot more events and a larger number of contestants. Over the years I’ve watched Dan and Peggy Eoff add new events and entertainment, as well as adding the length of time people are permitted to camp at their ranch.
Everyone entering the gates to the ranch is required to purchase an arm band; these arm bands have the wording “Horses & wagons have the right of way.” Looking out from underneath our little canopy on the bluff, right below Dan and Peggy’s house, campers are assembled below as far as the eye can see. We have an excellent view of the race track/field, being able to see both the starting line and the finish line, as well as the entrance into the river for the Snowy River Race.
We arrive on Friday before noon in order to get settled in by the time the Oklahoma Land Rush race begins promptly at 1 p.m. From that time on there is something happening on the track for the next 2-1/2 to 3 hours. 
Next up is the Saddle Mule Race, the most exciting event of the weekend for our family, as my grandson, Cole Basham of Bland has competed in this event for the past nine years, winning eight of those nine with his black molly mule BB. Eleven riders on mules were lined up this year, ready to mount when the gun was fired. Once again BB won the first heat with a time of 46.2 seconds, the fastest time of the weekend.
The 4-Up Mules consisted of 17 wagons and was won  for the second year in a row by S&S Express, Benton, Ark., Jeremy Sumler and Lee MacDonald. 
The Oklahoma Land Rush had 38 entries and was won by Triple B, of Marshall, Ark.,  young driver John Wayne Daniel. Outrider winner was Kateland Allen, Dike, Tex.
The Bronc Fanning event had 12 contestants and was won again for the second year in a row by Patrick Wood, with 162 points on two head.
The Buckboard event had 34 wagons competing and was won in a run-off by Bar H Ranch & Rodeo, Pleasant Plains, Ark., Brent Henderson, Madelin Martin, Cody Bean. 
The Big Mules  race had 38 teams and was won by Dumb & Dumber, Wilberton, Okla., Cary MacFadden, Perry Murdock, Ben Hartwick. 
The Snowy  River Race  had 8 entries and was won by Mark Brown. It was a thrill to watch Linda Bailey of Wild Bunch Horse & Mule Co., Malvern, Ark. competing, as I have watched this young lady grow up on the back of a mule. She is quite the cowgirl.  
The Classics Division had 40 wagons competing and was won by Cadillac Cowboys, Quitman, Ark. Austin Dotson, Kenneth Barger and Lane Holman.
Among veteran participants acknowledged were Jason Wilf, Pleasant Plains, Ark., and Jason Swart, both for 30 years, and Pee Wee Harris, Travis Mannon, Larry Stallings, Jim Waddle of North Little Rock, Ark., and Jill Rhoda for 25 years. Five, ten, 15 and 20 year veterans were also acknowledged.
Announcers Danny Newland, Dean Holman and Andy Stewart kept the crowd informed of times, winners and information about contestants.
Vendors row is a great place to shop for that new pair of boots you’ve been needing, tack for your mule, or just about anything ‘country and western’ you could wish for, I even found a new purse to purchase. Food vendors provide everything from a cold drink to a huge turkey leg or that delicious bloomin’ onion.

Dan and Peggy have thought of everything to keep you entertained while enjoying some great Arkansas hospitality in the small town of Clinton, and especially on the Bar of Ranch. I can’t begin to describe how exciting and entertaining the National Championship Chuckwagon Races are, so mark your calendars now for Labor Day weekend 2017…we hope to see you there.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?

Looking for a last minute gift for that special Mule or Donkey person, we’ve got a deal for you. Order a one-year subscription for a new subscriber (not a renewal, or for anyone having been a subscriber in the past 10 months, we can help you with that info if needed) for the old rate of $30. Along with this we will send a gift card letting them know they will be getting this as a Christmas Gift from you. 

HURRY! This offer expires 12/15/16

USEF Proposed Rule Change Will Allow Mules To Compete Equally With Horses

The United States Equestrian Federation has had a “mule rule” proposed during their annual rule change season and it will be coming up for a vote in January.  With the passing of this rule, mules would be able to participate in all non-breed related divisions at USEF competitions.  These include hunters, jumpers, eventing, reining, western, vaulting, and others. 
The USEF has a rulebook that dictates all the rules for showing in sanctioned USEF events.  In the General Rules chapter there is a rule that defines the term “horse” throughout the rulebook. Currently this rule states, “GR126 Horse: 1. The term ‘horse’ as used in these rules denotes either a horse or pony. 2. In all levels of all Federation licensed Driving and Endurance Competitions and in the case of any other Federation Rule as it relates to the Driving or Endurance disciplines as the context permits it, the term ‘horse’ shall also include a mule. See DC Annex 9, EN102.1.” There is an added note that indicates that mules are permitted to compete in dressage with several exceptions.  (To view the entire rule, visit: https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/2016.aspx).
 The new proposed rule amends the current language and, if passed, would allow mules to compete in non-breed related divisions.  The proposed rule is such: “GR126 Horse 1. The term ‘horse’ as used in these rules denotes either a horse or pony. 2. In all levels of all Federation licensed non-breed specific divisions, which include Carriage Pleasure Driving, Driving, Combined Driving, Endurance, English Pleasure, Equitation, Eventing, Hunter, Jumper, Parade Horse and Saddle Horse or Pony, Western Equipment, Reining, Vaulting, Western, and Western Dressage, Driving and Endurance Competitions and in the case of any other Federation Rule as it relates to the Driving or Endurance disciplines as the context permits it, the term ‘horse’ shall also include a mule. See DC Annex 9, EN102.1. (To view the rule change proposal and see its intent, visit: https://www.usef.org/_IFrames/RuleBook/RuleProposals/PRCChater.aspx?chapter=GR01).
 All of the proposed rules that were submitted to USEF were distributed among the affiliate organizations for discussion and a vote.  For example, because eventing is named in this GR126 mule rule, the United States Eventing Association will have an opportunity to review and vote on the rule.  All the committees on each affiliate organization will also review pertinent rules and submit a recommendation to the USEF Board of Directors.  The USEF BOD will vote at their Annual Meeting during the week of January 11-14, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.  Between now and then, the membership has an opportunity to comment on any rule, including this one.   
Sadly, there is a small catch.  Although USEF does seek comments on all their proposed rules, they are really only interested in comments from USEF members or their affiliates.  For most of us mule people, we do not have USEF numbers because so many of us cannot compete at USEF’s competitions.  There is a chance, however, that if enough mule owners, trainers, riders, and competitors share their support for this rule despite not having a USEF membership, USEF might be willing to accept our comments because the rule does directly affect us. Additionally, it would show USEF how many potential new memberships they may have if the rule is passed and all these people could be paying members.
 There are a couple ways someone can comment and show their support for this rule: If they are a USEF member or a member of an affiliate organization (even if the membership is inactive), mule supporters can log in to their account at usef.org and comment on the rule GR126.2. If someone does not have a membership but knows someone with a membership, the mule supporter can ask his pro-mule friend to comment on the rule on his behalf.
Mule supporters without numbers are also encouraged to reach out to USEF or their affiliates by emailing or calling them directly.  USEF Customer Care can be emailed at customerCare@usef.org or contacted by calling 859-258-2472 and showing support for rule GR126.2. I might remind USEF that mule supporters don’t always have a membership because they currently cannot compete but this rule directly affects them and their voices should be heard.
 When contacting USEF and commenting about the rule, it would be very important for supporters to state why the rule is a good idea. Many people make uneducated excuses about why mules should not be included in sanctioned competition so educating people and sharing how wonderful mules are is important. For example, mules are raised, trained, ridden, fed, and treated no differently than horses; accepting mules would provide access to educational opportunities and programs for mule owner/riders; USEF would see an increase in membership. Other reasons might be that divisions that already allow mules (dressage, combined driving, endurance) are having success with competing mules without any issues, or that the intrigue of mules can bring new interest and excitement for many divisions and competition. As for the “your mule will scare my horse!” excuse, mules can be as well behaved or ill-behaved as any horse (stallions, green horses, green riders)…the argument that mules are unpredictable is not valid.

Feel free to share this information with the mule community and encourage them to support and comment while we have the opportunity! 

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Rear Cinch

by Capt. Joe Vaclavik, Chicago, Illinois 
The rear cinch, also known as the rear flank strap, rear girth, or back cinch is found on all western saddles.  It's there for specific purposes!  The use of a front and rear cinch is known as a "double rig."
The western saddle has either reinforced leather slits on the rear section of the saddle skirt or "D" rings.  Attached to these are billets.  Billets are short leather or nylon straps that have punched holes.  The leather cinch has buckles on both ends that fasten to the billets. 
The rear cinch needs to be snug against the mule and fastened to the front cinch with a short strap or hobble to prevent the rear cinch from shifting backward.  If the cinch happened to slide to the back flank of the mule it could cause your mule to go "western," i.e. buck!
The rear cinch should only be snugged up after the front one is tightened.
This important strap is especially critical when roping livestock. It prevents the saddle from tipping forward and keeping the saddle flat on the mules back as forward pressure is  applied on a saddle horn by a dallied rope.  
The rear cinch also provides a secure saddle for the trail rider as it prevents the saddle from rocking back and forth as the rider covers rough terrain, it also helps prevent lateral movement of the saddle.  A secure saddle gives the rider a firm seat and the mule better balance because the rider is sitting square.
During a ride, the wrangler needs to re-examine both the front and rear cinch. As the day progresses the cinches loosen as the mule sweats and loses body bloat.
I've seen many people riding with loose rear cinches hanging several inches or more. This is an invitation for disaster.  A mule could easily hook a rear hoof in the cinch and by "brush hopping" off a groomed trail, the probability of a branch slipping between the underside of your mule and the cinch is high.    

Whenever around your mount, always use "good old" common sense. Both on the ground and in the saddle. Don't become complacent, don't treat your mule as you would treat your dog. Be vigilant, you’re around an incredible powerful animal with flight instincts!  You'll inevitable get hurt if you treat your mule as your baby!

- From the October 2016 Issue of Mules and More

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Time to Make Your 2016 Christmas Wish List!

Festus, owned by BETSY SKINNER, dressed up for Christmas 

Whether you are making your of wish list of what you hope is under the tree on December 25th, or shopping for your friends and family,  use this list to start getting ready for Christmas!

-Last Minute Gifts

Queen Valley Mule Ranch Instructional Video Streaming
Stream many of Steve Edward’s instructional DVDs right from your computer. Watch on your computer or personal electronic devise (like a Youtube video). Titles include, Why Does My Mule Do That?, Communicating from the Lines, So You Want to Buy a Mule? and Trailer Loading www.muleranch.com

The Mischka Press Calendars and Books
Mischka Press calendars and books make wonderful, long lasting gifts your loved ones will treasure all year long. We offer Mule, Donkey, Draft Horse and Driving Horse wall calendars, as well as an Appointment Calendar and small, standup Desk Calendar. All of these include quantity discounts and free shipping. Send us your gift list, and we’ll send calendars directly to your giftees — the free shipping and discounts still apply! See our calendars, books and DVDs online or ask for a free catalog. 1-877-647-2452  www.mischka.com 

-Gifts for Little Ones


Jasper the Mule
Give the gift of reading and laughter with Jasper the Mule adventure collections. Choose from the Reading Bundle, Movie Bundle, the Complete Collection or individual books and DVDs. Free shipping on collections! www.JasperTheMule.com, (800)816-7566

-Mulemanship Gifts


Ty Evans Mulemanship Ground Work Basics DVD 
Ty Evans of TS Mules, Chester, Utah, has spent most of his life riding and training mules, and perfecting his methods. Ty was the winner of the 2015 American Mule Trainers Challenge, and his methods are based off of “feel” and “timing,” which can produce great results in the mules he works with. Ty travels the U.S. teaching mulemanship clinics and is willing to share his knowledge and insight with anyone who desires to listen. In this DVD Ty covers the basics of ground work; these exercises are critical elements of a mule’s foundation. DVD includes Hooking-on to you, Halter Driving, Gaining Confidence through desensitizing, Handling a saddle for the first time and Ground Driving. $35.00 www.tsmules.com, (801)598-7465 or 573-646-3934 or www.mulesandmore.com



Brad Cameron Mule Training DVDs
Learn from the best! A great do it yourself, learn at home tool, for that hard to buy for mule rider. By Cameron Mule Company of Corvallis, Mont. • $149.95 plus s/h • 406-369-5190 or www.muletrainer.com



Teaching Your Mule To Lie Down
This is an easy four-step instruction on how to teach your mule or horse to lie down to mount and dismount. No harsh methods used, just pressure and release. “Anyone can do this!” says instructor Dave Recker. “I have had numerous professional trainers as well as hundreds of amateurs use this method with great success.” $44.95 (shipping included) To order: themuleenthusiast.com, (573)881-0324

Lucky Three Ranch
Give you and your equine the gift of a harmonious and rewarding partnership with training packages for every level from Meredith Hodges and Lucky Three Ranch. Free shipping on all training packages! www.luckythreeranch.com, (800)816-7566

-For the Book Lover 


SMOKE the Donkey 
A Marine’s Unlikely Friend by Cate Folsom – Smoke the Donkey is a story about two American heroes and their surprising friendship---‘Semper Fidelis’ at its finest. Smoke steals all of the hearts of everyone. Smoke served as mascot, ambassador, and battle buddy on a U.S. military base near Fallujah in war-torn Iraq. Hardback. $24.99 plus s/h 573-646-3934 or www.mulesandmore.com


-For the Traveler


Nationwide Overnight Stabling Directory and Equestrian 
Vacation Guide, (Volume 28)  A great guide/directory if you are planning on traveling with your mule; very easy to use. 192 pages. $26.95. 573-646-3934 or www.mulesandmore.com

-Gifts for the Tack Room


The REIN MAKER 
Leather Cavesson/Nose Band with adjustable hanger and adjustment around the nose. The one-earred head stall adjust to fit mules nicely.
Contact The Rein Maker Sandy Boaz at (270)365-7899 (shop). (270)836-9762 (cell), or by email at sandy.boaz@yahoo.com

Swiss Grazing Bells & Bell Collars
Long range Swiss made grazing bells are the loudest and clearest bells on the market, making them a must for all backcountry grazing. Perfect gift for new trail riders, and a much appreciated upgrade for those that use standard cow bells. Bells and bell collars sold separately. (406)752-4437, trailheadsupply.com

THE NEVER~TIGHT CRUPPER
 As a Saddlemaker & Treemaker I know the key element  to making a saddle work is keeping it in position where it was made to be used. The Never-Tight Crupper allows 10” of adjustment. Each inch = 5lbs of tension. I set it at 15lbs and let the tuck of the hindquarters add the rest. No rubbing from a loose crupper, no hit on the tail. IT WORKS! Len Brown, www.thecorrector.net  816-625-0333

Donkey Whisperer
 Celebrate your donkey this holiday season with a custom made donkey rope halter and matching lead line!  Our rope halters and lead lines are made of thick, durable, high quality yacht rope and come in Mammoth, Standard and Miniature sizes. Fantastic for training or daily use. Made in the USA in 11 gorgeous colors.  Life time warranty!  Visit Donkey Whisperer and our online store at www.donkeywhisperer.com or contact us at info@donkeywhisperer.com

2RMules Easy On Headstall
2RMules is the place to shop for all your mule needs. Our heart is to sell you quality products for a reasonable price.  2RMules Easy On Headstall has a brass “easy snap” for mules or horses with sensitive ears. The brow band measures 16 inches and it is 48 inches bit to bit. The snaps are turned so they will not catch on limbs or other brush. This headstall is made with Hermann Oak harness leather for a real strong yet soft feel, and is available in our harness leather colors. Made in the USA! $64.00  www.2rmules.com (479)670-2144

-Gifts for the Cowboys & Cowgirls


The Ericksen Mountain Saddle
Handmade from Hermann Oak skirting leather.  This saddle features braided rawhide on the horn and swells laced to match, a rawhide cantle binding, and the slots in the cantle are lined with rawhide as well.  It’s durable and looks good. www.ericksensaddlery.com  (406) 682-7380

Handmade Stock Whips
What Cowboy wouldn’t like a Handmade Stock Whip for Christmas? These handmade stock whips are made of weatherproof waxed nylon with hardwood handles. They come in several colors and are extremely loud. How about your little Cowboy? Bet he would be so excited to find a 5 foot whip under his Christmas tree! Scotty also makes 6 foot, or longer, whips upon request. Give him a call at (870) 816-5746



Sugar Creek Graphics
Printed t-shirts and sweatshirts. Over 60 prints of mules, donkeys and draft horses. T-shirt sizes: small-5XL, sweatshirt sizes: small-3XL. All sizes same low price, no up charge for larger shirts. Your choice of 13 colors of t-shirts. (877)242-4449 www.sugarcreekgraphics.com

JC’s Cow Horn Buckles
Hand made buckles of cow horn. Each is unique.  No two are alike. They can be personalized with brand or initials. Prices range from $120-$220 580-761-8235 jcscowhornbuckles@gmail.com

Reed’s Custom Cowboy Knives
Handmade knives available in 6”, 7”, or 8.5”. All knives are made from M2 Toolsteel and natural materials, unless otherwise requested. Handle options include: Walnut, Cow Horn, Elk Antler, Deer Antler, Cow Bone. Knive Sheaths available,  with belt clip and brand. (918)625-7260 or mules@sstelco.com

Silver & Brass Mule Head Conchos 
Available in all silver or silver with brass mule head and dots. 1-1/2 inches in diameter. These antiqued silver conchos come with an antiqued silver mule head. 
The conchos come with a Chicago screw in the back.  Great for decorating bridles, belts, purses, cell phone holders, dog collars, and many other items. $7.00 each 573-646-3934 or www.mulesandmore.com


Bonus!  

Mules and More Gift Subscriptions - A gift subscription to Mules and More is a great gift that can be enjoyed all year long! If indicated, we will send a gift card (via mail or email) to the recipient free of charge, too.1 Year - $36          2 Years - $65      Include $5.50 for any back issuesAvailable online at http://www.mulesandmore.com/subscribe.html. By phone at (573)646-3934. Or mail form to Mules and More, PO Box 460, Bland MO 65014