Sold Mules

Labor Day 2009 News from Susan & Hopi Cloud Dancer



 Susan & Hopi Cloud Dancer,  We have missed hearing from you and Hopi. What great pictures.  It is truly amazing how these truly better mules behave and retain their experience and settled minds.  Jim At Rancho Santiago 


From: Susan B.
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 6:55 PM
To: James A. Gamble
Subject: Greetings from Hopi in California
 Hi Jim, I hope this finds you and Maria well. It has been some time since I’ve written but I wanted to share with you how well Hopi is doing so I have attached a few photos. We went camping over Labor Day weekend; I had hardly ridden her at all this year (with the exception of a time or two around the yard and in the arena). Since it had been so long I wondered how it was going to go. She totally amazed me – she was awesome and did everything I asked perfectly. Loading, crossing water and hopping over a fallen tree (photo 024) seemed absolutely routine to her. She handled the steep rocky terrain with grace and ease. I know I’ve told you before but I’ll tell you again, I just love that mule!  I had to check her records to see how long it has been since I purchased her from you. Can you believe it has already been four years? I remember when I purchased her as a three-year-old it seemed like it would be a really long time until she was about eight years old (that was the time I had in mind that it would take her to be a mature/seasoned mule). Well, guess what, she is there now and she is an absolute dream to go trail riding with. I had so much fun with her this past weekend that I can’t wait to get out there again. Best wishes,   Susan  & Hopi

Mule YOGA in California

Ally, Sally, & Mark,  Many thanks for the fun yoga pictures.  We are so pleased that “Sally Goodin” is living with you. Happy trails and yoga, Jim & Maria At Rancho Santiago 

From: Ally 
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:40 PM
To: Rancho Santiago Mules
Cc: allymcSubject: Fw: Ally and Sally
 Here are some new pictures with Sally and I doing Yoga together in California.  She is an amazing mule THANK YOU!!                                                                                                                             Hugs, Ally----- Original Message -----

From: Mark Mc

To: Ally Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2009 9:44 PMSubject: Ally and Sally

"BiG ADVENTURE" Diamond Lil saves her rider and the day

Latana This is a wonderful sharing.  We are so proud of you and your mule ... your are making a real mule rider.  Congratulations,  Dr. Jim At Rancho Santiago  

From: Latana
Sent: Friday, July 17, 2009 1:07 PM
Subject: Big Adventure



 All I can say is, WHEW.  I barely know where to begin, actually!! Lilly of course loaded fine, traveled fine, stood like a dream for tacking up, mounting etc and off the 3 of us gals other mule and a large horse.  This trip was up a gorge in the mountain range with the GOAL of hitting the summit and hooking up with the trail down the other side.  That never happened! Picture a mountain made of boulders....ones the size of VW Beetles.  Picture torrential rains funneling all the surrounding ridge water down this gorge.  You know the power of water!  What was left was devastation.  Solid boulder sluiceway littered with tree trunks 3' and more in diameter, steep banks, you name it.  We ended up leading our animals much of the way because we had to traverse these steep banks IF we were lucky to be out of the boulders.  Lilly only had one mishap, which was an error of VISION.  I was leading her through a skinny boulder space.  On my right were some bushes that looked about 2' tall.  She opted to swing to my right and go through the bushes, not realizing that they were concealing a large flat rock at an impossible angle.  Her feet hit that and down she went, not TUMBLING down, just WHOOMP, down on her stomach with her legs tucked up like she was lying down.  She scrambled up, came to me, and was TOTALLY not upset in the LEAST.  She did cut herself on the inside of her right ankle, which bled pretty good for a few minutes.  Didn't bother her, never was ouchy, fine this morning.  Mule tough, as you said.  I hated to have that happen to her though, especially on our first outing.   

Lessons I learned: 1.  Don't ASSUME that Lilly can see everything and will make the right decisions 100% of the time.  In the future, I'll make sure to watch where she's putting HER feet, too! 2.  We need work at home on "stay", and "stay back".  Leading her was OK sometimes, but at other times she wanted to pass me (she married the mare that was in the trailer with us) .  I did lots of arm flapping to keep her back.  The terrain was just not conducive to much else. Jim, she was/is incredible.  Jumping her up onto banks or over logs is so much fun it made me giggle!  The horse launched itself over stuff or up onto stuff.  Lilly and Jack just sort of FLOATED over and up!  No throwing the rider around or anything!   Finally after about 3 hours of mostly leading, Jean said even SHE had had enough....the terrain, she said, was the most dangerous and difficult she'd ever encountered.  It was so steep in places that I had to let go of Lil and just let her catch up to Jack.  She'd just stand there and wait for one point she dragged me behind her with me hanging onto her tail.  So then we had the joy of going DOWNHILL through all that. So I've been initiated.  It was a ride I wouldn't have wished on Lil and I, but we survived, the equipment caused no problems, and my mule is awesome.  The slip and fall could have happened anytime....but let me say that on the way down she didn't make that mistake again!!  She ate half my lunch (there was tons of grass up there so she got some good grazing as well), wouldn't drink out of the river puddles, didn't sweat much.  At the trailer I sponged her off with Vetrolin and warm water....she appeared to enjoy my labors! This picture shows the very EASIEST part of what we navigated.  I'd love to have pictures of the hard stuff, but we were NOT thinking, "photo op"....we were thinking SURVIVAL! Lilly is all you said and more.....MUCH more.Warmest regards, Latana 

Betsy saves the day!

Lanette,  We are so proud that this really better mule gal is in your competent hands.  What an adventure! Many folks do not understand that a truly quality mule can be the difference in life or death. 
 JimAt Rancho Santiago  
-----Original Message-----

From: lanette@
Sent: Sunday, July 26, 2009 11:29 PM

Subject: [Website Contact] Betsy saves the day!


LaNette I. sent a message using the contact form at 

Just came back from a carriage drive along the ditch bank in Carlsbad.  My friend took his pair mules hitched to a flat bed.  On our way back to his barn some kind of insect (he just got a glimpse of something)flew down the right ear of Sally's ear.  She went berserk. After some violent thrashing and rearing my friend got the pair stop in the intersection of Muscatel and Orchard road. 

The reins were all messed around and hooked on the oppositeheads and hames. Cars were stopped and my friend desperately needed another set of hands and it looked as if things might just blow out of control again if we didn't get the pressure off their mouths.  I got out ofmy cart and hooked the reins around the seat.  We got the reins off the wrong head and hame and everyone straightened out.   

I went back to Betsy who was standing calmly and absolutely motionless.  Man, I love that mule!


 She really looks good right now too.  She been driven regularly both in a team and singly and she can go 4 hours on a challenging wagon train and come back dry. Hope you are doing well. 


LaNette I.

Log In | All content is the property of Rancho Santiago. Site designed and maintained by Rim Rock Webs.