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Tim Doud, Diamond Creek Mules
Joins Mules and More Staff Writers
Reprinted with permission from Mules and More Magazine, December 2008

TIM DOUD with Diamond Creek Grover, one of the two mules he used in the John Lyons Certification program

TIM DOUD with Diamond Creek Grover, one of the two mules he used in the John Lyons Certification program

Tim Doud of Diamond Creek Mules, Cody, Wyoming is a John and Josh Lyons Certified Trainer, and has recently joined the staff of writers for Mules and More Magazine.

Tim was born and raised in Victor, Iowa, a small Midwest town of only 600 people. His house was located at the edge of town, and the closest neighbor was a farmer. In his big red barn the farmer had a Shetland pony. Tim and his friends would walk by the barn to see the pony and feed it sugar cubes. Despite their good gesture, the pony would always kick or try to bite them. Not knowing anything about horses or mules, Tim thought this was normal behavior; only big animals would kick or bite harder.

Tim’s father owned a mechanics shop to repair diesel trucks traveling along Interstate 80 through Iowa. Working for his father, starting at age 10, gave Tim a great work ethic. At the age of 14 Tim was certified by Cummings as an overhaul mechanic. During Tim’s years in Iowa he loved to hunt, fish and spend time outdoors.

At the age of 19, while looking through a hunting magazine, Tim saw an ad for a guide school in Colorado. He signed up and attended the school in 1980; his only reservation was the fact that if he wanted to become a guide he would have to deal with his fear of horses. Arriving in Grand Junction, Colorado for the guide school Tim noticed there were a few horses in the outfitters corral, but one stood out from the rest. This was a mule named Shocky. Tim, being a person that did everything differently from everyone else, instantly fell in love with mules from that day forward.

After guiding in Colorado for two years Tim moved to Idaho to guide hunters from a wilderness camp, where he packed a string of six unbroke mules. This consisted of a lot of wrecks and four letter words! Then in 1984 Tim moved to Wyoming to again guide hunters into the wilderness, this time out of Cody, next to Yellowstone National Park.

Tim always seemed to get the abused, unwanted or unbroke mules; if no one else wanted to pack them, Tim ended up with them. In 1990 Tim’s life was changed forever when he traveled to Denver, Colorado to attend a John Lyon’s Symposium. Having attended other clinics before, Tim was shocked; here was a gentle training program that didn’t require you to be a ‘bronc rider’.

Tim read, or watched, everything he could get his hands on about John Lyons and his training program. In 1991 he purchased his own outfitting business, Bliss Creek Outfitters. Along with hunting and summer trips, Tim started the first ever archery only guide and packer school. Tim came full circle….from attending a guide school to then running a school, and teaching other people.

Many of the mules used in Tim’s outfitting business were mules nobody wanted. The mules were not born ‘bad’, they were made that way from owners that either didn’t know better, or didn’t care. Most mules just needed a job and someone to treat them right.

Wanting to raise his own mules and improve the breed, Tim spent two years looking at over 200 jacks before purchasing ‘Diamond Creek Major’ in 1993. His mule breeding business was born, and using the John Lyon’s methods and still studying his system, quality mules were being shipped from Cody to locations all across the United States.

During this same time Tim learned about the North American Saddle Mule Association (NASMA), an association dedicated to promoting mules and donkeys. After researching the association, Tim became a member. Later, he was asked to serve as a Board of Director, and later became NASMA President. While Tim was serving as President-Elect, NASMA went through a court case. The judge ordered that Tim 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.

JOHN LYONS, riding Charlie, JOSH LYONS (center) riding Flash and TIM DOUD on Diamond Creek Angel

JOHN LYONS, riding Charlie, JOSH LYONS (center) riding Flash and TIM DOUD on Diamond Creek Angel

Another life changing event happened in 2006 when Tim signed up for the John Lyon Certification Training. This is a one-year program to become certified in John’s methods to become a John and Josh Lyon’s Certified Trainer. The main difference from Tim and every other person to complete the training would be that Tim would be using mules. Tim states, “He is very proud to be the only person ever to use only mules.” Upon completing the John Lyon’s Certification, he started his training business, not only training mules raised by ‘Diamond Creek Major’, but also outside mules.

Tim comments, “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’ve 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.”

Tim stated, “The John Lyons Training Program he uses is a Conditioned Response Training Program. This creates a partnership between you and your mule. By concentrating on what you would like the mule to do, the positive, you can advance the mule 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 four questions:

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…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 question, what is the REWARD? The reward tells the mule he got the right answer. The best reward is a full release of pressure.

Tim expresses he is looking forward to answering your training questions, and sharing his training thoughts with Mules and More readers.

Tim can be reached at, or by phone at 307/899-1089, or email:

Mules and More

December 2008


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