I was born and raised in
a Victor, Iowa. With only 600 people in town, it is a typical, small
Midwest town. Our house was located at the edge of town, so our
neighbor was a farmer. In his big red barn he had a Shetland pony.
My friends and I would walk by the barn to see the pony and feed it
sugar cubes. Despite our good gesture, the pony would always kick or
try to bite us. Not knowing anything about horses or mules, I
thought this was normal behavior only big animals would kick or bite
My father owned a mechanics shop. He repaired diesel trucks that
traveled on interstate 80 through Iowa. I worked for my father from
the age of 10 a developed great work ethic. At the age of 14, I was
certified by Cummins as an overhaul mechanic. During my time in
Iowa, I loved to hunt, fish and spend time outdoors.
At the age of 19 while looking through a hunting magazine, I saw an
ad for a guide school in Colorado. I signed up and attended the
school in 1980. My only reservation was the fact that if I wanted to
become a guide, I would have to deal with my fear of horses. When I
arrived in Grand Junction, CO for the guide school I notice in the
outfitters corral he had a few horses, but one was different from
the rest. One animal was a mule named “Shocky”. I have always been a
person that did everything different from everyone else and
instantly fell in love with mules from that day forward.
After guiding in Colorado for 2 years, I moved to Idaho to guide
hunters from a wilderness camp. There I packed a string of 6
unbroken mules. This consisted of a lot of wrecks and four letter
words. Then in 1984 I moved to Wyoming to again guide hunters into
the wilderness, this time out of Cody, WY, next to Yellowstone
Abused, unwanted or unbroken mules were always the ones I got. If
nobody wanted to pack them, I did. My life was changed forever in
1990 when I travel to Denver to attend a John Lyon’s Symposium.
Having attended other clinics before, I was shocked. Here was a
gentle training program that did not require you to be a “Bronc
I read or watched everything I could get my hands on about John
Lyons and his training program. In 1992 I purchased my own
outfitting business, Bliss Creek Outfitters. Along with hunting and
summer trips, I started the first ever archery-only guide and packer
school. I came full circle; from attending a guide school to now
running a school and teaching other people.
Since buying Bliss Creek in 1991, my business has been featured on
several occasions in Bowhunter Magazine, Bowhunting World Magazine,
Grey’s Sporting Journal, Sporting Classics; as well as on Television
on such shows as Bowhunter Magazine TV, American Archer,Elk Country
Journal, North American Outdoors, North American Hunter, Babe
Winkleman’s Outdoor Secrets and Outdoor America.
In 1989, I was named Cody Country Outfitters & Guides Association
Guide of the Year winner and Shoshone National Forest Outfitter of
the Year in 1993. I am also past-President of the Wyoming Outfitters
Association, Life Member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and
Life Member of the North American Hunting Club.
My Summer Pack-Trips, helping mule lovers train their mules, has
been featured in Western Horseman Magazine, Camping Life, The
Western Horse, Mules and More Magazine, Farm Family America,
Outposts, and World Magazine.
Many of the mules I used in my outfitting business were mules nobody
wanted. The mules were not born “bad” they were made that way from
owners that either did not know better or did not care. Most mules
just needed a job and someone to treat them right.
Wanting to raise my own mules and improve the breed, I spent two
years and looked at over 200 jacks before purchasing “Diamond Creek
Major” in 1995. My mule breeding business was born. Using John’s
methods and still studying his system, quality mules were being
shipped from Cody, WY to mule lovers all over the United States.
During this same time I learned about the North American Saddle Mule
Association, NASMA, an association dedicated to promoting mules and
donkeys. After researching the association, I joined. Later I was
asked to serve as a Board of Director and later as President.
While serving as President-Elect, NASMA went through a court case.
The judge ordered that I was the only legal officer of the
association, as other elections and actions of some members and
staff were illegal. Through actions of a great Board of Directors
and new secretary, NASMA was given back to its members.
Another life changing event happened in 2006; I signed up for the
John Lyon Certification training. This is a one-year program that
teaches you a great deal about training and if you pass the vigorous
course, you earn the title “John and Josh Lyons Certified Trainer”.
The main difference between me and every other person to complete
the training would be I would be using mules. I am very proud of
being the only person ever to use only mules. Upon completing the
John Lyons Certification, I continued building my training business,
not only training mules raised by “Diamond Creek Major”, but also
For my efforts with
“Diamond Creek Major”, Major earned 3X Grand Champion at the
National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO. He is the only Jack to
have ever been Best of Show three years in a row. In 2004, Diamond
Creek Mules also earned NASMA’s Leading Breeder Award. I was also
recently chosen as the only trainer by NASMA to present articles and
material for their Educational Division. I am also a staff writer
for the World’s leading Mule and Donkey magazine “Mules & More
The real joy for a trainer is training the owner. It is not what the
trainer can do with your mule; it is what you can do with your mule.
One of the best lessons I learned from John and Josh Lyons is anyone
can train a mule. Trainers are not born. It is something you learn,
like fixing a car, painting a house or becoming a banker.
The John Lyons training program I use is a Conditioned Response
Training Program. This creates a partnership between you and your
mule. By concentrating on what you would like to the mule to do, the
positive, you can advance the mule the farther than concentrating on
what the mule is doing wrong, the negative. If you are asked
questions you can answer, you will want to answer more; it is the
same with the mule.
When asking a mule to do something, you as the teacher ask the mule
What is the MOTIVATOR? A motivator is a reason to change. It may be
tapping the mule on the hip, kissing to the mule or taking slack out
of the rein.
The second question is What BODY PART would you like to move? After
you apply the motivator you wait for the body parts to move.
Third question, What DIRECTION would you like the body part to move.
There are six directions the part can move, right, left, forward,
backward, up and down.
Last questions, What is the REWARD? The reward tells the mule he got
the right answer. The best reward is a full release of pressure.
Tim Doud [firstname.lastname@example.org]