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photo by Tara Toler
Heart B Ranch lies on 36 acres in a pretty little valley of Emmett, Idaho which is located in the southwest part of the state about 30 miles northwest of Boise. We are often asked how we got started with mules so I'll tell you a short version. Around 1980 two things took place that changed Tom's thinking and direction with equines. First he aquired a 4 yr. old john mule he named "Rosebud" who had been running out, untouched except to be castrated so he wasn't what you'd call friendly. He had to be run into a stock trailer to get him home. Tom spend days and sleepless nights trying to figure out how to deal with this guy. The other thing that took place was Tom had become dissatisfied with the racing world and hauling his mares to be bred only to find out they were empty. So, fascinated and challenged with his new mule he went to see a old friend in the valley for whom he had broke a couple of mules for. This friend had a couple of jacks and some mares, before Tom left he had bought a pretty black weanling john out of a morgan cross mare. He called this one "Joe". It didn't take long for Tom to go back to his friend and this time he bought a jack that his friend had gotten in from California. This jack like his wild mule, was not broke to lead, hard to handle and pretty much out of control but nicely made. Tom bred his mares to his new jack and well, like they say the rest is history. Tom and I married in 1982 I had a old gelding that came along with me but Tom thought it fitting I have a mule so for a wedding present he gave me one of the two mule foals he got. I named her "Marjorie" It took a few yars before I accidentally ran into a mule I felt comfortable enough with to become my mount. Her name was "Judy" a appaloosa molly off a sheep camp but it was love at first sight for me and she hauled me all over the mountains those first few years. In the last few years we have cut back on our breeding stock so that we only have 3-4 mule foals anymore. They are mostly quarter horses or paint mares with one old precious t-bred named Irene. We don't show very much anymore, mostly due to the fact that most the shows are so far away and require a lot of traveling. Our favorite thing to do is ride the wilderness for some good creek or high moutain lake fishing. Our Heart B Brand was originally our cattle brand when we had a ranch north of here. I also used it for my goat herd, homemade soaps and artwork through the years. Tom had always liked the Heart B brands and at the time we had a lot of "B's" in the family so it just sort of fell into place.
Tom & Bonnie Lee - Emmett, Idaho - 208-365-0947
FOALS 2016
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Mules Of Distinction........