Both James and I have an early attachment to horses...I grew
up badgering my dad for a horse since I was old enough to talk...my parents were great about renting a horse for $2 an hour
for me to ride in the 1960's, taking me to watch horse shows, driving to Hollywood Park RaceTrack at 5am in the morning to
watch them breeze the horses...letting me look for hours at Tack Shop merchandise and letting me check out books from the
library about horses. I got my first horse when I was 14 and within 2 years, started my own 2 year old. I loved trailriding
in the West Valley hills of the San Fernando Valley in California and competing in some small stable shows. I was fortunate
that my parents decided that a move to Texas would allow us to enjoy a more rural lifestyle that was heavily involved in horse
James, a born and bred Texan, grew up in the country, had an agricultural background, a small cow calf operation,
roped, worked for a veterinarian and enjoyed a college scholarship due to his bull and bronc riding event talents.
training and showing several breeds of horses, I realized the attributes of longears. The Wetzel Land and Livestock Company
purchased the high selling mule at the 1978 Fort Worth Stock Show, which at the time hosted an extremely cometitive two day
mule show...and also a Mule Sale which offered some of the highest quality mules in the nation. This beautiful blue dun molly
that we showed under the name of "Cottonginny" went on to be undefeated in Halter and Western Pleasure in the Southwewstern
Donkey and Mule Society shows in 1979 and we earned the High Pt of the Year for this association, plus major Stock Show wins
and ADMS Nat'l show awards in the ensuing years.
Wetzel Land & Livestock's first facility in Denton, Texas was known
as "Kick Ass Mules" and our mares, young mules remain there today. It is located on a major highway and to our benefit is
located on the Barnett Shale, which is the fastest growing area for oil and gas exploration and harvesting.
A big boost
to my enthusiasm to work hard toward raising and training quality mules was when James and I met...not many cowboys I had
been around were open enough to realize how great a mule can be. Our new barn in the early 1980's was named "Mule Alley"
and produced many top earning show mules.
"Equines by Design" as a total encompassing title to what we do was begun
in 1984, to reflect our extreme interest in breeding for all equines and hybrids...including horses, mules, zebras, mules
and hinnies -- and hoped to include some of the rare wild asses (such as the Kiang). After much research and experimentation,
we realized the difficulty and disappointment in trying to raise hinnies and zebra crosses (zonkeys, zorses, zedonks), and
we decided to concentrate on quality horses, mules and American Mammothstock Donkeys.
It has been a dream come true
to be able to work with many sweet, talented horses, mules and donkeys...the places we have been able to visit and the wonderful
friends we have made. Its not over yet and we are looking forward to continue to spend out life with these great longears,
to work at improving our mammoth jackstock herd, offer a few nice mules for sale and laugh at the antics and intelligence
of the saddle donkeys we are enjoying.