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March 31, 2005

Treat of the Week - Winter Waffles

You may be wondering why I'd post a recipe for Winter Waffles when it is the last day of March!

It may be the beginning of spring, but winter is still trying to hold on as long as it can. We had nice warm sunny weather the first couple weeks of March. But then last week the storms returned, and we had lots of rain all week. This Tuesday night and Wednesday it decided to snow, and now we have several inches of snow on the ground!

So I think it's appropriate to make Winter Waffles as a last farewell to winter. I don't think your longeared buddies will mind on a cold snowy day! You might even like to eat a few.

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Winter Waffles

4 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Teaspoon Salt
Water

Thoroughly mix the rolled oats and salt in a mixing bowl. Then stir in enough water to make the oats a little soupy, but not too runny. Spoon this waffle batter into your oiled waffle iron, and let bake for 10-15 minutes. The waffles should be crispy on the outside and soft inside. Let cool to a suitable temperature. Then serve.

Your longeared buddies might enjoy this treat topped with a little all-natural applesauce and a few strawberry slices like we have done in the photo above.

Only serve one or two waffle squares per donkey or mule at one time. You don't want them to get too much oats to eat at one time, but they will enjoy a small treat!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Oh What Fun it is to Play the "Touch" Game!

I guess winter is saying it's last farewell here. We got a couple of inches of snow last night, but that didn't stop Andy and me from getting out to play today!

I recently wrote a 5 part series in my column here on Longears Mall about a fun training game I call the "touch" game. It is my version of targeting from clicker training.

Since it was too snowy to do a lot of fancy training today, we just played around a little bit and did some of Andy's favorite games. He practiced picking up each of his feet when I asked for them. We also did a little work on sidepassing. And we played the "touch" game for a few minutes.

I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of the pictures we got while he was playing "touch". In these pictures I was snapping my fingers up high above his head, and he was reaching up to touch my hand with his nose. Note: I didn't have any food or treats in that hand. Andy just knows now that if he touches that hand (or whatever other object I ask him to), I'll reach down and get him a treat.

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If you missed my articles about how to teach your donkey or mule the "touch" game, and how it can be used along with your other training, just click the links below to go back and read them.

The "Touch" Game - Part 1
The "Touch" Game - Part 2
The "Touch" Game - Part 3
The "Touch" Game - Part 4
The "Touch" Game - Part 5


Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

March 29, 2005

Who's the Clown?

When you were a child, you probably enjoyed dressing up and pretending you were somebody different. Maybe you pretended to be a famous person, or a clown, or even pretend to work in a special profession.

It seems like most of us at one time or another enjoy dressing up. One of the favorite classes at a lot of donkey and mule shows is the costume class. It is amazing all the fancy, unusual, and creative critter and handler costumes you will find in the costume classes. Some people put a lot of time and work into their costumes!

Here are some fun ones I saw at Bishop Mule Days last summer. It's amazing all the crazy outfits our longeared friends will put up with, isn't it? Some of them actually seem to enjoy it, too!

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Do you have any great pictures of donkeys or mules dressed in costume that you would like to share with everyone? Just email them to us. We'd love to see!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:29 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 1

Show season is fast approaching. If you are considering clipping your donkey for show for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions about what to buy and how to get the job done.

I know there are a lot of different ways to do it. I will share with you what I have found to work best for me.

First, it's important to have good quality equipment, and the right equipment. I purchased an Oster A-5 clipper a few years ago. I know there are nicer (and more expensive) clippers available, but this one has worked well for me, and it was reasonably priced. The model I have is a single-speed, but I believe they have an A-5 two-speed model as well.

The next question is, "What size blades do you buy?" Here are the different blades and clipper combs I have tried.

#40 Blade
This is the blade that came with my clippers. It is a surgical use blade with a 1/100" cut size. This is way too short to use by itself unless you are shaving your donkey for surgery. Of the blades I had tried, this is my favorite one for using with clipper combs. The cutting teeth are close enough together and the tips close and short enough that it easily cuts through the hair and I don't have trouble with the hair getting hung up and caught between the blade and the attached comb.

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#10 Blade
This blade is an all-purpose blade with a 1/16" cut length. I have heard that a lot of experienced groomers and people who have done a lot of clipping before like to use this blade for a lot of their body clipping. I have not observed the techniques they use for clipping. I guess maybe they clip with the direction of the fur instead of against it.

For someone who has not done a lot of clipping, I have found this blade a little harder to use. I find that I can get a more even length if I clip against the direction of the hair, and this blade is too short to lay against the skin and clip without a clipper comb attached. The teeth are a little longer than the #40, and when I attach the clipper comb, hair tends to get stuck in between.

#3F Blade
This blade is a Full Tooth blade with a 1/2" cut length. This is by far my most favorite blade for show body clipping. It clips a little slower than the #40, but without a lot of work, it gives me a nice smooth show clip and still leaves enough hair that my donkeys don't look bald.

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#5F Blade
This blade is also a Full Tooth blade, and has a 1/4" cut length. I use this blade if I am clipping my donkeys' ears to have pom-poms on the tips. I first tried it last year, and it worked very well for that.

3/4 inch Clipper Comb
This is a plastic clipper comb that easily snaps on to your blade to make the cut longer. If I am doing a rough body clip (just removing length, but not worried about a smooth show cut), I will use this 3/4" clipper comb with the #40 blade. It quickly and easily cuts the fur, leaving an approximately 3/4" long coat. I used this the first few years I clipped for show, but last year I tried the #3F blade by itself, and it gives me a smoother show finish. I still sometimes use this 3/4" comb for clipping their course manes short.

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1/4 inch Clipper Comb
The first year, I also bought a 1/4" clipper comb to use with the #40 blade for show clipping faces and necks where the fur tends to be shorter than 3/4" already. This took off the length, but the clip was short enough and the comb teeth far enough apart that it left a lot of tracks in the fur.

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Now that I have had a chance to try all these different combinations, here is what I prefer. If I am clipping for show, I clip the body, neck, head and legs with the #3F blade. I use the #40 blade with the 3/4" clipper comb (or just a pair of scissors) to clip the mane. If I want a pom-pom effect on the ear tips. I use the #5F blade to clip the rest of the outside of the ears. I do all of my clipping against the direction that the hair grows.

Now you can go shopping for clippers and blades! While you are shopping, you will also want to purchase a bottle of blade wash and a bottle of blade coolant spray.

Next time I'll share some of the steps I use to get my donkeys ready to clip.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

WebCam Time Again

Do you enjoy watching webcams as much as I do? Well, we've got another treat for you!

We have a new donkey webcam on the WebCam menu! This one belongs to Danny & Debbie McMillan of McMillan's Miniatures.

I have been enjoying watching the donkeys come and go from their barn all evening. You'll have to check them out! Now you can watch "Donkey TV" any time of the day.

Right now it looks like there is a gray donkey and darker colored foal in one pen, and a spotted donkey walking around another pen. Looks like the baby is sleeping in the straw while it's momma stands guard.

Danny and Debbie McMillan have some really nice miniature donkeys. They like to get out and drive their jacks, Wilber and Gambler, at shows and parades. Their young granddaughters are following in their footsteps and have also started showing miniature donkeys. While you are visiting their website, take some time to browse around and see all their great donkey photos.

Oh, I just went back to their webcam, and it looks like the momma donkey decided to lie down and rest a while, too.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 05:25 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Treat of the Week - Tropical Treasure Cookies

Next time you are looking for something special to give your longeared buddies, bake them a batch of cookies. These treats are packed with tasty tropical tidbits.

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Tropical Treasure Cookies

2 Cups Quick Oats
1/4 Cup Grated Orange Peel
3 Tablespoons Honey
3/4 Cup Warm Water

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Mix the grated orange peel and quick oats together in a bowl. Then stir in the water and honey. Once ingredients are thoroughly mixed, set them aside for about 5 minutes to allow the oats to absorb the water. Once the water has had a chance to soak into the oats, spoon the batter onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove cookies from the cookie sheet and allow them to cool before serving.

If your donkeys and mules like oranges, they should love these cookies with little hidden tropical orange treasures throughout!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2005

Build a Trail in Your Arena

If you are like me, here is something fun to challenge you and your mule or donkey!

I've been having a lot of fun lately creating a variety of obstacles to practice in my donkeys' training lessons. I think you might enjoy trying some of these ideas, too.

First, make it a game! Every lesson or two, change things around, rearranging your obstacles, adding new ones or combining obstacles.

Always start every new obstacle by introducing your donkey or mule to it. Let him check it out and take a good look at it. Then lead him through the obstacle a few times.

Once he is comfortable following you through them, you can try riding him through. Just take your time and let him learn to confidently work each obstacle one at a time.

Use your creativity to create new and challenging obstacles for you and your mule or donkey. The possibilities are endless, and can provide you with many great training opportunities and experiences. Always remember safety first when creating new obstacles and choosing a place to set them up. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

If you want to start out with something simple, you can try some of the simple obstacles used in trail classes at most shows. You might try these:

Wooden bridge - Either raised a few inches off the ground or a flat board laid on the ground.
Gate - The gate can be a swinging gate on hinges, or can be made from a rope run between two posts. Practice riding up to the gate, opening the gate, riding through, and closing the gate - all from your mule or donkey's back.
Rails - raised or on the ground. You can walk, trot, and canter your mule or donkey across them or between them. You can also back up through them and side-pass across them.
Serpentine and other patterns - Use your creativity to make different patterns to walk and trot through. These patterns can be made of all kinds of materials - logs, PVC pipe, garden hose, barrels, pylons, polebending poles, etc.

Once you get the simple obstacles down, here are some additional challenges you might like to try.

A few years ago when I went to Montana Mule Days, they added some extra challenges to their trail class course. Here are some that they did:
- Add a tarp or sheet of plastic on both sides of your bridge to simulate water.
- Instead of just backing a straight line, make it a zigzag pattern with PVC pipe, barrels, etc to define the pattern ahead of time.
- Lay a deer hide over a barrel beside the "trail" and teach your mule or donkey to comfortably walk past the hide without shying away.
- Leave a pile of tools beside the trail - Wheelbarrow, shovels stuck on the ground, ladder standing up, etc.
- Arrange other kinds of animals along the "trail" - geese, ducks, or chickens in wire cages, pen of cows, etc. At Montana Mule Days, they put a goose in a cage on both sides of the trail, and the mules and donkeys had to walk through between them.
- You can also have your mule stand still (not tied) while you pick up all four of his feet.

Here are some other ideas to try.

- Use artificial plants and trees to decorate along your trail.
- Place other unusual or odd-looking objects along your trail course - even things as simple as a barrel painted with bright colors and funny patterns.
- Set up a mailbox, and practice riding your mule or donkey to the mailbox, and checking the mail while you are still in the saddle.
- Hang a rain slicker, plastic bag, feed sack or tarp over the fence along your "trail" so that your mule or donkey can get used to seeing something like that blowing in the breeze.
- You can also tie several balloons to the fence.
- Make a real water obstacle to walk through. Oversized puddles will work as long as they are big enough that your mule can't easily walk around or step/jump over them.

This afternoon I was practicing sidepassing with Andy. I rode him up to the steps to our deck. Then I asked him to sidepass along in front of the steps. A little later I rode him up to my parent's motorhome to practice sidepassing along the length of it. The motorhome has a large tarp tied over the top, and it was kind of moving in the breeze a bit. At first Andy wasn't sure about standing that close to the flapping tarp, but soon he got to work and started doing his sidepass back and forth both directions along the motorhome.

Just have fun and be creative, and I'm sure you and your critters will have a great time spicing up your training with new challenges, and building a greater trust and stronger confidence in each other.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Obstacle Driving

Gamblers Choice Driving is always one of my favorite driving classes to watch at Bishop Mule Days, especially the Donkey Gamblers Choice Driving!

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Gamblers Choice Driving is a timed obstacle driving class. Each contestant has a certain amount of time to navigate as many obstacles as they can. Each obstacle has a point value, and they can only do each obstacle twice, but not back to back. At the end of their time, the donkey with the greatest number of points and the smallest amount of time is the winner.

Some of the obstacles in Gamblers Choice Driving are pretty simple and have lower point values. But some of them can be quite a challenge! Each year Bishop Mule Days has a little bit different combination of obstacles in their Gamblers Choice Driving classes. But here are several that they had last year.

In this first photo TW Biscuit going through the Bridge obstacle. This bridge was made a little more difficult with a turn to come in and another turn going out from the bridge.

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Here is SCMM Merlin going through the U-Turn obstacle. In front of the U-Turn obstacle, you can also see the Back-N-Bump obstacle set up.

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Here one of the donkeys has just bumped the back rail and completed the Back-N-Bump obstacle.

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This is one of the more complicated obstacles. It is call a "figure 8 in a box". In this picture Double C's Hat Trick is turning around the last cone before exiting the box.

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Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

The "Touch" Game - Part 5

KristieJorgensen.jpgBy now, if you have followed the steps outlined in the last four articles in this series, you and your longeared buddies have probably mastered the basics of the "touch" game. Now you might enjoy expanding on that concept and adding more tricks to your bag!

I started doing some research on Internet, and found a number of really great websites with information about clicker training and equines. Here are several of the links I really enjoyed:

http://www.clickryder.com
http://www.on-target-training.com
http://www.kbrhorse.net/tra/clickr01.html
http://www.equilog.com.au/clicker
http://user.cavenet.com/parkerk/default.htm
http://www.kersur.net/~santa/indexCTezine.htm
http://equisearch.com/train/ground/eqclicker2134

There are many, many different tricks that you can teach your donkeys and mules using the clicker training philosophy - anything from basic care and handling to fancy circus tricks! Just follow the links above to get some ideas, and let your imagination run wild! Once your donkeys and mules learn the rules of the game, it's a game they won't want to stop playing!

Kathy Dynge is one lady who has used clicker training to teach her donkeys many tricks. One of her donkeys, Ranger, even performed on The Tonight Show a few years ago. Here are links to more information about her donkeys and the tricks they have learned.
http://www.angelfire.com/or2/ranger
http://www.orednet.org/~jrachau/ranger.htm

Just start out simple and before you know it you and your critters will have a whole repertoire of trick learned!

Happy Clicker Training!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

The Babies are a Comin'

Spring is here, and it seems like almost everyone has a new baby donkey or mule, or one on the way!

Waiting for your mares and jennets to foal can be pretty stressful and tiring sometimes, but it's all worth it when you finally have a happy healthy foal on the ground.

I'm trying to patiently wait for my jennet, Pansy, to foal. She isn't due until May, so I have a few more weeks to wait. This will be her first baby. And it will be my third young baby donkey (2nd born here).

Pansy has started getting wider around the middle the past month or two. Does she look to you like she's starting to fill up? These two pictures were taken the end of February.

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Do you have a baby on the way? We'd love to see pictures of your new babies when they arrive! Just email your photos to us, and we'll be happy to share them with our other Longears Mall visitors, too. It's hard to get tired of seeing pictures of all the beautiful longeared babies learning about the new world around them!

To get things started, here are my last two longeared babies - born in 2001 and 2002.

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If all goes well, I'll have a new little tyke to add to the collection in a few weeks! But in the meantime, send us your photos for everyone to enjoy!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Treat of the Week - School Snack Sticks

Remember when you were a kid and used to take carrot and celery sticks to school as a healthy snack? Well, guess what! Your mules and donkeys probably like carrots and celery, too!

Now that it is schooling season, you might like to fix this snack as a quick, healthy treat for your longeared buddies after a hard training lesson. They'll appreciate the thoughtfulness!

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School Snack Sticks

3 Carrots
2 Celery Stalks

Slice the carrots and celery into bite size veggie sticks.

Do not top with anything extra. I know when I was little I used to put peanut butter on the celery sticks I ate, but peanut butter is not good for donkeys and mules to eat so don't put any on theirs.

Next time you finish your training lessons, offer your donkey or mule this great treat as a reward for a job well done!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Resizing Photos in Paint Shop Pro

Not everyone uses Adobe PhotoShop, so I thought I'd provide instructions for resizing your listing images in a few other photo editing applications. In this article I'll describe what to do in Paint Shop Pro.

These steps will be similar to the ones I described in yesterday's article for Adobe PhotoShop. First open your photo in Paint Shop Pro. Next click on the "Image" menu and select the "Resize" option.

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A window will open that looks like this:

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Select the "Actual/Print Size" radio button. Then set the width and/or height to a smaller size if need be. I usually resize my photos to around 6-8 inches wide if I am going to post them on Longears Mall. Just like in PhotoShop, the resolution should be set to 72 Pixels/inch as shown in the picture above. Once you have set the size for your image, click the "Ok" button to apply the changes to your photo.

You may want to go to the "View" menu and select the "Normal Viewing (1:1)" options to display the image at 100% actual size (if it is not already).

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Now if you are ready to save your photo, go to the "File" menu and select "Save As".

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A window like this will open:

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You can click the "Options" button to open a window where you can specify photo quality/file size settings.

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Just slide the Compression slider bar to adjust the setting. "Lowest compression, best quality" will give you a higher quality image, but the file size will be bigger. "Highest compression, lowest quality" will give you a smaller sized file. In this example I set it to 50, and got a nice photo with a relatively small file size - small enough to post in listings on Longears Mall. Choose your level of compression, and then click "Ok". You will then be taken back to the window to save your image. Specify a file name for your picture and a location to save it, then click "Save".

If your photo is still to big, experiment with these settings to adjust the file size.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

Resizing Images for Store and Classified Listings

Several of you have emailed me recently asking how to resize your images so that you can add them to your Store or Classified listing.

We have chosen to limit the size of the images to 40k so that when people are viewing the listings, they will load and display quickly without a long wait time. But sometimes this requires that you resize your pictures first before you can post them. I will explain how to do this in several of the most common image editing applications.

I usually use Adobe PhotoShop for my image editing work. If you have a recent version of Adobe PhotoShop, here are the steps you can use. When you first get pictures off of your digital camera or scanned in, they are probably too big to upload to your Longears Mall listings. To fix this, first open them up in PhotoShop. Then click on the "Images" menu and then select the "Image Size" selection on that menu.

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A window opens that looks like this.

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Make sure the "Constrain Proportions" and "Resample Image" check boxes are checked, at the bottom of the window. Then change the image width to something a little smaller. I usually like to make my listing images around 6 to 8 inches wide. With the Constrain Proportions checkbox checked, PhotoShop will automatically figure out what the image height needs to be to stay in proportion when you change the width (and visa versa). You should also make sure that the resolution box says 72 pixels/inch (this is the right resolution for display on computer monitors but is different for printing).

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Click "Ok" when you have finished specifying the image size, and your photo will be resized for you. To view the actual image size, you may have to zoom in. On the "View" menu, select the "Actual Pixels" selection, and your image will be displayed at its actual screen size.

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Now there is another step to make your image file size a little smaller. On the "File" menu, select "Save for Web" (this option is only available in later versions of PhotoShop).

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A window will open that looks like this:

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Select "JPG Medium" or "JPG Low" quality in the Settings selection box so that the file size estimate displayed in the lower left corner of this window shows a size smaller than 40 K. If it is still larger than 40K, you may have to resize your image smaller as described earlier in this article. Once you have selected "JPG Medium" or "JPG Low" and the file size estimate is less than 40K, you can click the "Ok" button.

Another window will open asking you to pick a place to save the new image and a name for the image. Complete these steps, and your photo should be ready to post in your Longears Mall listings.

If you have any problems with this, or need additional help figuring out the steps, please email us and we will be happy to help you. I will explain how to resize images using a few other kinds of photo editing software in future articles.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

The "Touch" Game - Part 4

KristieJorgensen.jpgHere is another really good place that I have found for using the "touch" game.

It has finally gotten warm and dry enough here that I can start conditioning and training my donkeys for the summer show season. While they are getting better, my donkeys are still pretty out of shape. This last week I did training lessons with my gelding, Andy, almost every evening. After a little harder workout Wednesday evening, he really didn't think he was too happy about having to work.

When I got him out for a lesson Thursday evening, I knew he would be tired, so I decided to just do something fun and easy that he could feel good about and enjoy. I decided to do a short ground driving lesson with him. But Andy didn't know that I was going to be easy on him that day, and he was still pouting from the day before.

Andy doesn't usually do anything wild when he's not excited about something. In this particular case he let me halter him and take him to the barn with no complaints. But I could tell that even though he had come with me willingly, he didn't want to "talk" to me. I'd talk to him, and instead of turning and looking at me or moving closer to me for attention and treats, he just looked the other way and sort of grudgingly nibbled up the treats I offered him.

I knew that with Andy in that kind of a mood, it would be hard to have any kind of productive training lesson, so I had to find a simple and easy way to get him excited about playing with me that evening. This is where I find the "touch" game to be so helpful. It's easy. It's simple. And tired Andy could do it well and feel good about it without having to work much at all.

So I showed Andy that I had treats with me. Then I asked him to touch my hand. At first he just wanted to ignore me, but after thinking about it a little bit, he decided to reach out and touch my hand. I immediately gave him a great and lots of praise. Within a matter of a few minutes he had almost forgotten his tired muscles, and was happily doing whatever I asked.

I was careful to keep our lesson short and do easy things that wouldn't be to tiring for him that evening. By the end of the 15-20 minute lesson Andy was in a much better mood, and was still ready to play more when I decided to quit on a good note and put him away for the evening.

In this case the "touch" game was a simple and easy test to see where Andy's mind was and to help him become interested in working with me instead of stewing over how tired he was from the day before and how hard he thought I was making him work.

Just use your creativity, and I'm sure you'll find many applications for this handy little tool.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2005

Adventures with the Cows

At mule days things can sometimes get pretty entertaining to watch. With all the donkeys and mules, there is always something going on. But the cattle for the cattle events add a whole new dimension!

I can think of several funny stories involving cows from the past few years that we have gone to Bishop Mule Days.

I remember the first year we attended Mule Days I did not have any donkeys with me that I was showing in the classes, so I was able to watch a lot more of the events as a spectator. One of those classes was the steer stopping class. A number of mules and riders went through the normal process of roping, turning and stopping their steers.

Then there were a few flukes! One time the gate opened, and the mule and rider raced out into the arena to rope their steer... But there was no steer! The steer had been too smart, and decided to stay in the chute when the gate opened!

This last year I remember watching one of the cattle roping classes where something else unexpected happened. They let the cow out into the arena, but before the rider could rope it, the cow nudged a small gate in the side of the arena, and headed out on his own adventure into the pens behind the announcer’s stand. Someone had to go back there and bring the cow back so that the events could proceed on.

There was also a little excitement last year in the cow sorting class. The first couple teams took their turns, and then it was time to switch the herd of cows out for a fresh new herd. One of the cows in the new herd had other plans - I think it was cow #6. Anyway the sorting team started their time, and were going along quite nicely. They got cow #2 and #3 and #4 to cross the line in the correct order and stay on that side. Then they went in to find cow #5. About the time they got #5 across the line, cow #6 decided she was not going to have anything to do with this activity!

Now if you have ever attended Bishop Mule Days before, you will remember that they usually have cow sorting on one side of the arena while they are doing weight pulling with the draft teams on the other side. They have a corral panel fence running down the length of the arena dividing the two sides.

Anyway, cow #6 decided she was leaving the game. She took one look at the corral panel fence, and plowed her way through it. Once she was on the other side she started wandering around checking out the weight pulling competition. Needless to say, they had to stop the cow sorting for a few minutes while the brought #6 back to her side of the arena, and mended the fence.

Once the fence was fixed, they decided to let that team of cow sorters have another turn later, and brought in a new team of sorters. Once again cow #6 broke through the fence as they were nearing her turn to be sorted out. After returning her to the correct side of the fence again, they decided that it would be better to put her away and get a new #6 cow that wouldn't try to leave the game in the middle!

Here are a few pictures of the weight pulling mules and of the cow cutting, which happens the same morning as cow sorting. Unfortunately I don't believe I got any photos of the run away cow in th cow sorting class.

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Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2005

Treat of the Week - Super Supper

When you want to make your donkey or mule's regular supper into a super supper, here is how you do it!

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Super Supper

1/2 Cup Dried Beet Pulp (available from your feed store)
1 Cup Hot Water
1 Cup Whole Oats
1 Carrot
1 Orange

Place water and dried beet pulp in a feed pan, and allow to soak for approximately 15 minutes or until the beet pulp has absorbed most of the water. Slice or dice the carrot and orange up into little bite size bits. Thoroughly mix the whole oats and carrot and orange bits into the soaked beet pulp. Make sure the water and beet pulp has cooled before feeding the mix to your donkey or mule.

What did my donkeys think? Gourmet deluxe! They were more than eager to help me with this treat, and Elsie even brayed for more when it was all gone!

Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 05:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

Donkey See... Donkey Do...

Sometimes it is really amazing to see how observant donkeys and mules can be!

Recently I wrote about adding a new "bridge" obstacle to my donkey Andy's training routine. I laid a sheet of plywood on the ground with pylons at both ends, and every so often throughout my training session I would have Andy walk or trot across the plywood "bridge". This really added some great variety to his lesson, and made it a lot more interesting for him.

While I was working with Andy, one of my donkey jennets, Smokey, was intently watching us. She watched me lead Andy up to the plywood and have him walk across it until he was sure it wouldn't hurt him. Then she watched me ride him around the training area and across the plywood.

Smokey is the head jennet in my donkey herd. She is a competitive donkey and loves to have training lessons and get to show me what she can do and how good a girl she can be. I have started Smokey under saddle, but she is still very green and has a lot of refining to be done. But she tries very hard, and I love working with donkeys with her kind of attitude!

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I worked with Andy riding across the "bridge" obstacle several days, and after a week or two Smokey was feeling very neglected and left out since she hadn't had a lesson in a while. So about a week ago I decided to do another training lesson with Smokey.

Now Smokey usually has issues with walking on new surfaces like asphalt and concrete, etc. Even though she is still pretty young, she developed a cataract in one eye a few years ago. I think that is one big reason why she is more cautious of walking on new surfaces - she can't see them as well.

So I figured that Smokey would not be too excited about walking across the new plywood "bridge" obstacle for the first time. I figured she'd sniff it and want to walk around it instead of setting foot on top of that different surface.

Was I wrong! I led Smokey up to the plywood and she promptly walked right across it without even blinking an eye. Then I got on her and asked her to walk and trot around the outside of my training area. Smokey only had one place she wanted to go! All she wanted to do was walk and trot in little circles in the middle of the training area where she could cross the "bridge" as often as possible!

If she could talk, I think she would have said, "Kristie, I know what it is that you want me to do! Let me show you! See, I'm supposed to go across the plywood just like Andy did!"

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2005

New Donkey Book

A group of donkey owners on the Mammoth Donkeys YahooGroups email list recently came up with a great idea!

They are working on compiling a book of donkey stories contributed by many different people in the longears community. The book will include short stories, artwork, donkey treat recipes, poems and info on donkey rescues, and more.

Tanya, a lady from the Mammoth Donkeys list, is coordinating the collection of all the stories, pictures and contributions, and will be compiling them all into book form to be printed. The goal of this book is to spread the word about what great critters donkeys are, and the many rich experiences we have had as longears owners.

All of the proceeds that Tanya collects from the sale of these books will be donated to help worthy causes in the longears community.

If you have any great stories or artwork you would like to share, I'm sure Tanya would love to add them to the book. For more information about the book and now to submit contributions, please visit http://longearsmall.com/DonkeyBook.htm

I think this is a great project, and can't wait to get my own copy of the finished book to read! I'm sure it will make for some great fireside reading!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2005

The "Touch" Game - Part 3

Now for the fun part! Did you ever think that the "Touch" game would work with a newborn foal, too?

After I had learned about the targeting concept from clicker training, I adapted it into my training routine. Even though I was not really comfortable with using a clicker yet, I taught my donkeys (and the neighbor's yearling horses) how to target or "touch" my hand or other objects with their nose, and rewarded them with praise and a treat, fresh grass, or rubs and scratches (without using a clicker).

Shortly thereafter I bought 3 new mammoth jennets. I taught all of them the "touch" game in short order. One of them, Lily, foaled soon after we brought them home. Now I really didn't think the "touch" game would be very easy to teach to a newborn foal. Up until that point I had been using food treats to reward the behavior, and since the newborn foal only nursed from her mother, I couldn't entice her with food treats yet.

But I had a dilemma. My baby jennet, Ellie, was touchy on her face and nose from the time she was born, even though we handled her before she could even stand up. She really loved getting her back, chest, tummy, tail, and everywhere except her head rubbed and scratched, but would pull away anytime we touched her head.

She was great about letting us handle her legs and feet, and let us pick up her hooves like a pro. She was also fine with us handling in between both her front legs and back legs, and was not at all touchy except on her face.

So, since she loved attention and scratches so much, I thought I might be able to teach her to "touch" my hand and reward her with scratches. I thought this might help her overcome her touchy nose problem. Since she had mainly been getting her meals from her mother, I couldn't use food treats to help teach her to touch, but the scratches and back rubs were enough of a reward that she quickly caught on.

By only 3 1/2 weeks old, she already had the "touch" game down pat. It was so amusing to watch her when we came out to her pasture. She would come over for attention, and promptly nudges our outstretched hand, and then turn with her neck and shoulder to us for scratches. I was telling my mom that Ellie had already learned to use the "magic word"!

Using the "touch" game really helped Ellie to quickly learn that it was okay for us to handle her ears, pole, cheeks and face. Back rubs and scratches were enough of a reward for her that we didn't have to use food treats at all.

Here is a picture of Ellie playing "touch" with one of her human friends.
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It's amazing to see how eager donkeys, mules and horses are to learn and how fast they pick up new tricks! So use your creativity to find new ways to let the "touch" game help you in training your critters!

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Jump Mule, Jump!

It is an incredible experience to watch mules compete in Jumping events, and Bishop Mule Days has plenty of them for you to watch.

I always find it impressive how graceful these beautiful creatures can be, and at the same time I find it very entertaining to see their humorous side come out, too. The mule jumping events always have a few moments of suspense when you don't know what's going to happen.

One of the more entertaining things to watch is what the announcers at Bishop Mule Days like to call "umph" jumping. Some of the mules gracefully glide over the jumps with ease. But others will approach the jumps at a nice speed, then come to almost a complete stop before they pop up and over the jump - Umph! You always wonder if those mules are refusing the jump. And then somehow they bounce up high enough to clear the jump and keep on going! You'll have to watch for the "umph" jumpers next time you are at a mule jumping event.

Here are several of my favorite pictures from the mule jumping classes at Bishop Mule Days 2004.

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Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Treat of the Week - Sun, Moon & Stars Salad

This juicy and flavor filled treat will leave your donkey or mule licking his lips and begging for more.

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Sun, Moon & Stars Salad

1 Carrot
1 Celery Stalk
1 Tablespoon Whole Oats

Slice the carrot in to round slices - orange suns. Slice the celery into crescents - light green moons. Mix carrot and celery slices together. Sprinkle whole oats on top - little cream stars.

My donkeys love carrots, celery and oats, and I'm sure yours will too! This treat is quick and easy to fix. It can be fed as a single serving, or you can use each little slice of carrot and celery as mini treats scattered throughout your training lesson or farrier visit.

Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

How to Change Your Password

Several of you have recently asked me how to change your password for logging in to your Longears Mall Store and Classified accounts. It is a very simple process, and here are the steps how to do it.

First select the "My Account" option on the "Stores and Classifieds" menu.

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You will be asked to log in.

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If you already have an existing account on Longears Mall, but have forgotten your username or password, simply fill out the Forgotten Password form, and your login information will be emailed to you immediately.

Once you are logged in, you should see a screen like this:

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Click the "User Account Information" link to view your user account info. On that screen you will see an "Edit User Info" button near the bottom of the screen. Click that button. A screen will open that looks like this.

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Here you can change your password as well as a lot of your other user settings and contact information. Once you are finished making your changes, click the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the screen. Once it has been successfully saved, your new password is immediately active. Next time you log in to your Stores and Classifieds account on Longears Mall, you will need to use your new password.


Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

Building Bridges

Here are several great obstacles that I have found to be very helpful in keeping my donkeys interested in their lessons while we are practicing repetitive exercises.

If you add new challenges such as obstacles in your donkey's training routine, that will help keep them from getting bored. Often times if you are practicing something over and over to perfect it, you will be much more successful if you add challenges to keep the practice interesting and keep your donkey or mule focused on what you are working on.

These obstacles or challenges can be used in almost all aspects of training. For instance, if you are teaching your donkey to lead and he has the basics down, but you are trying to refine his moves and get better responses out of him, just add a few obstacles along the way. You might add several poles for him to walk over, or a "bridge" like the one shown below for him to cross. You could ask him to walk between two parallel poles or you could ask him to walk across them, or you could even ask him to stop as soon as both front feet are between them, etc. Just be creative and change things up a bit every lesson or two to keep things interesting for him.

The most recent obstacle I have used was a "bridge" I made by laying a sheet of plywood on the ground in the middle of my training pen and placing a pylon at each corner of the plywood. Here are a few pictures of my gelding, Andy, and the "bridge".

Note: This bridge is designed so that the whole sheet of plywood is supported by the ground underneath. If you want to build a raised bridge or a bridge across a ditch, you will need to use much heavier lumber and make sure there is not way the bridge will break under your donkey or mule's weight. You would not want them to have that bad experience and decide to never cross any kind of bridge again!

A few weeks ago I experienced a remarkable difference in my donkey gelding when I added the "bridge" to his training area. Even though I was practicing riding him at his standard walk and trot and turning that we have been working on for a long time, he was much smoother, more responsive and happier when he had the new plywood "bridge" challenge to keep his mind from getting bored while we were practicing the old routine. I guess the same idea applies to teaching anyone. They say, "practice makes perfect", but we all seem to learn faster if there is variety to keep the practice interesting. You just have to learn to be a creative teacher!

Here are a few pictures of my little helper riding Andy across the "bridge". Looks like fun, doesn't it!

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Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)