Rafter CF Training Testimonials

1st Choice Colonel’s Copyright©

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We want to take the time to thank all of our customers, friends and fans that have supported us for many years. Great mule people are what makes our business worth owning and keeps us growing strong. We decided to show everyone some of the feedback we've received over the past several years.

Purchased Copyright's Chantilly LaceLacey and Robin

Hi Chris and Kelli;
Hope you are having a fantastic summer!  Claire (aka Chantilly Lace) and I are doing great, and having so much fun!  I've attached some pictures to show you what we've been up to.  We are currently just messing around with trail type obstacles, and you can see that she's doing it all.  She has even followed  me up the steps to our log home's porch.  She thought she was so cool!   
I purchased Claire early this spring, and have been thankful every day since then that Chris and Kelli allowed me the opportunity to own this outstanding animal.   I have owned/trained my own horses for more than 35 years, and I am now completely sold on mules.  Claire, by far, has been the most intelligent, eager and interesting animal I have ever worked with.  No matter how challenging the situation, Lacey stairsClaire has handled it with grace and humor.  She comes (at a gallop!) to meet me anytime I even get near the gate!  She is so jealous of my time that she actually tries to push my mare (performance horse that I compete with) out of the way, so that she (Claire) can come out with me!  The disposition of this mule is better than I could have ever hoped for. 
I spent many hours, especially during the first few weeks she came home, just bonding with Claire.  She had obviously had fantastic care and handling before I got her, and this made my work with Claire just a joy.  As I moved from just spending time with her to actual training, I was impressed with Claire's intelligence and quiet attitude.  As long as she could follow me, she was willing to go anywhere and do anything I asked of her.  She is only a yearling, but already does all of the following without any sign of resistance or negative attitude:  Load, clip, comes to the gate when I whistle, great with feet, leads at a walk and trot, works in the round pen, ties, opens the mailbox, walks over a tarp, will push a 36" ball around, Lacey tarpwalks over 12" jumps, drags a log (or small pine tree), wears a saddle blanket, walks up stairs, wears jingle bells (over her back), and wears a sursingle (we are just getting ready for ground driving).  Each step of her training has been quiet and consistent, and Claire seems to enjoy every minute of attention.  We have a neighbor who is an experienced horse and mule show judge, who is absolutely amazed by Claire.  This judge has told me that Claire's outstanding conformation is the best she has EVER seen on a mule!!  Claire will be shown next year (or hopefully this fall), and I expect her to do very well. 
Lacey ballAfter seeing the quality of Chris and Kelli's breeding and training program, I am planning to breed my foundation AQHA mare to their jack, hoping to get a carbon copy of Claire.  I had been contemplating starting a small horse business here in Wisconsin, but have decided that I would rather invest in raising, training and showing mules.  The Rafter CF Training Mule program is top notch, and I hope to be able to bring more of their stock to this part of the midwest.  I honestly believe that Chris and Kelli not only have an exceptional breeding program, but that they are giving their babies a wonderful start towards being a superb working animal.   
Chris and Kelli, thanks again for letting me buy Claire (even though she wasn't actually for sale), and I hope to do more business with you soon!  Keep up the great work!!
Robin Campbell, Wisconsin

Purchased Copyright's Ebony & Training CustomerWilly and Deva hug
Chris and Kelli,
Thanks for all the hard work and time you put into our mules!  I felt very comfortable leaving our mules Willy B Dun and Bunny Dun It in your care during training.  I appreciate the fact that you listened to our goals for our mules and came up with a working plan of action/education for starting the colts and putting their foundation hours into becoming useful working equine citizens.  The fact that my mules still love attention and meet me at the gate for their turn to be rode speaks volumes to the attitude and care you put in their training.  I can't tell you how important your mule knowledge was to us, I really admire your ability to get the most out of the mules without force or mechanics.  You also exceeded our expectations with communication with us and our scheduled visits on our colts' progress; it was important to us that we felt involved in their training.  It was fascinating watching you train the two very different 'personality' type mules into well behaved nice saddle mules. 
Leigh and WillyThis past weekend I took Willy on a fifteen mile trail ride and I got to relax and enjoy it knowing he'd been prepared for most any obstacle we might encounter. My mule was level headed and in shape!  Not bad considering there were 90+ riders, 5 wagon teams (which he'd never seen before), a colt running loose while they rode the mare with the group, riders being dumped, unruly horses, people galloping off and up through the group, and deer popping up everywhere.  We never even broke a sweat :-)  Most importantly I felt I knew what his level of training was and what we were prepared for!    Our eleven year old daughter has been handling Willy and riding him in 4-H practices.  She loves how well behaved he's been and he's building her confidence. She enjoys the nice western pleasure jog you were able to help Willy develop. Leigh and Bunny
Bunny has a great start also!  I've received many, many compliments on how great her cadence, rhythm, and way of moving are.  I love that she's so nicely soft in the bit, light on the line, moves out confidently and with purpose, is smooth riding, and knows where she puts those feet.   
As for Ebony the mule you sold us- I can only say Thank You!  She's a quality mule and it really shows.  I felt super confident in purchasing her as I know from your handling of our colts that everything she's been taught is 100% solid.  The rest is up to us to learn together... what can I say I looked at her and it was love... 
Ebony and LeighWe think you advanced the mule's training beyond our expectations (and they were high).  Our mules walk, trot, lope, stop, back up, pivot on FQs, & HQs, go over and through obstacles, in the arena, on the trail and in town. They are comfortable riding by themselves or in groups and around dogs. Our mules not only perform when Chris or Kelli ride them but but we can get on them and reproduces those same good results.  Thank you for being professionals and teaching our mules so many valuable skills. God Bless You!

Leigh Freeman, Nebraska

Purchased Copyright's Kayla & Training Customer

We purchased Copyright's Kayla as a yearling. She was well minded, clipped, bathed, and loaded in the trailer great! As a 3 year old, we sent Kayla up to Chris & Kelli French to be started. Chris put 30 days of AWESOME training on her. We went up there to ride, and I rode Kayla. She was exactly where we wanted her to be. She trotted, turned, backed, and flexed great! Kayla knew how to do one-rein stops as well. I also rode her over a teeter-totter, bridge, & through tractor tires. She handled everything like a pro. We then took her on the trails, and she was wonderful! We went through lots of mud, into a creek, went down ditches, and walked over logs. Chris did a really good job on Kayla! I now ride her all the time. My dad hasn't even got to ride her, because I want her all to myself! I can already canter her, and she does anything I ask her. I have showed Kayla in Walk-Trot classes at horse shows, and I have gotten 2nd out of 8 pleasure horses two times in a row! She is just as great on the trails as she is in the show ring. Kayla is all I've ever wanted in a mule. Thank you very much to Chris & Kelli French for training Kayla, and giving me the opportunity to buy this wonderful mule when she was a yearling.

Morgan Anderson, 12, Helena, MO



Training Customer
Chris and Kelli,

Thanks for doing a great job with my mule!  She is much more responsive now and has a good handle.  She is also much nicer to work with on the ground.  I appreciate the fact that you train the animal by gaining it's trust, rather than relying on force and/or harsh mechanical aids. 
Next spring I'd like to have you start my 3 yr old john mule.  He's a little ornery, but I know you guys are up to the task!  Thanks again.
Brent Cullinan, Iowa

Purchased Copyright's Barbie Doll


Wanted to contact you as we now own Michelle Fowlers 3 yr old mule, Red Lips Frosty Tips.  As I am looking at your website, I think she must have been Barbie Doll from your mare Skips Star Burst. As her name has changed so much I just wanted to contact you as she does wear your brand. Barbie
We have Coyote Mule Company in Cottonwood Idaho and she has fit right in here.  We are riding her and competed with her in the Montana Mule Days Show in Missoula . She took Reserve Champion Halter Mule of the Show and also placed 4th in the Open Western Pleasure Class (33) entries.  She is wonderful and just plain a super mule. Spoiled some but that is what makes her so fun. I have also in the past did early training on 1st Choice Copyrights Hotwheels owned by Rob Parish from Gillette Wyoming .  As these have been the two mules from your Jack that we have been able to get to know,  we just wanted tell you your breeding program is outstanding. These mules are so good in the mind, willing, have heart, are performance bred and nice to look at.
We have 60 head of mules here, and they are turned out together on pasture.  I let Barbie go and she ran, stopped and turned around “like are you kidding me?”  I don’t do big herds like that!  Came back to the barn by herself and waited for dinner.  We left her for a day and a half and no go.  So as being the spoiled one, she's living with her box stall and run, and then during the day gets turned loose at our place to run around.  All the pictures we take are in our front yard in a certain spot.  She will follow us up there, then back to the barn.  Mule after mule.  Funny though we did not take her picture and was so busy we ignored her.  Well she watched enough times, she walked right up and posed for me.  There was the picture.  What a personality.  She runs around here like a dog, meets all the people when they get out of the pickups.  Follows us everywhere, even to get the mail.  Did I say she was spoiled, then we always know it is 4 pm, she walks back to her stall, ready to go in for the night and eat. What a mule, crazy story’s only mule people could understand.
Anyways thanks again, keep up the good mules!
Happy Trails!

Barney, Bobbi Jo and Jack Chambers
Coyote Mule Company, Idaho

Purchased Copyright's Lady SophiaGunner

I have bred my quarter mare to 1st Choice Colonel's Copyright, a jack owned by Chris & Kelli French of Rafter CF Training Mule Co,  2 years in a row now.  Both babies were john mules. My 2008 baby, Mr. Bojangles (now named Newley) won 2nd at the Kansas City Missouri Mule & Donkey Days Weanling futurity. My 2009 baby Six Gun, was a late spring baby so I won't be showing him. Both colts want to please and are fast Sophielearners. But since I really wanted a molly and was impatient to have a mule to train and start riding I sold both babies and bought a yearling molly mule from them.  Lady Sophia has recently started her 'official' training. Fortunately for me, I live near Chris & Kelli and will actually be training Sophie with their help.  This may be a new venture for Chris & Kelli, as they train the trainer (me) to train my mule.  We (Sophie & I) are looking forward to the IDMS State show in Bloomfield this August.  We are working hard to get ready for the lead-in trail class and 2 yr. old molly halter class.  Wish us luck!!

Jan Samford, Iowa

Purchased Raisin De' Standards
Raisin and Jo

Chris and Kelli,

April 2009: Sorry it's taken me so long to send you some pictures. First off I'm still in love with this mule.  I've taken him out on a lot of rides with other or by myself and he's been great.  I've had deer jump out in from of him and he's handled it fine.  Last weekend I went out with my neighbors and found some downed trees so we had a jumping contest.  I'm not sure if you did any of that with him but he's so smooth over the jumps.  I've been taking lessons from a gal who shows paint horses and people watch us like I'm riding a giraffe or something. He's doing Raisin Ballmuch better than I am.  After my first lesson I could hardly walk the next day.  We have really bonded and I can't leave him alone. 
Here are a few pictures...The one with the ball was so funny.  That is my dogs soccer ball and he was so upset when Tanner (oops Raisin) started carrying it around.  When Woody tries to get it out of his pen Raisin will run Woody out.  He gets ridden almost every day.  Our weather has been great lately, but we've had a lot of wind.  I hope things are good with you guys.  One day I need to set up a time to talk to Chris to find out some of his buttons. 

September 2009: I have to tell you what your mule did last week. He'sRaisin Tunnel gotten so he needs to be out with me when I'm doing yard work. Well, it was getting towards feeding time so I walked to the house to get his carrots and he followed me into the backyard. I was in the kitchen and I heard this crack and turned around to see him coming up the steps into the house.  He had half his body inside before I could stop him.  I tell people he's my biggest dog.  I never thought I could get close to another mule since I lost Amanda.  But he is something else.  I can't leave him alone and he thinks he has to be with me all the time.  The minute I get up in the morning, he can hear me moving around and he starts crying.

November 2009: I just had to tell about a ride we took this week.  Our weather has been incredible lately.  So we've been riding quite a bit.  I have a friend that has a molly mule and when you ride with her it's usually an all day trip.  She asked me if I had ever ridden to Pioneer Park, and of course I hadn't because I don't have a gate to get to it, but they do.  So off we go and as we're getting close to the parkway she asked me if Raisin had ever been through a tunnel and I said not with me.  This tunnel goes under a 4 lane highway and you can hear the traffic going over your head.  But as usual he looked at it and off we went without a hitch. He just amazes me.  This was on Monday, then on Wed we rode over to Granite Mtn which is a gorgeous ride. We pass people on mtn bikes and he never gets upset. We came up on some deer and he brayed all the way back to the trailer.  I can't tell you how much I love Raisin Dogsthis mule.  Just like back there, everybody loves him. I keep telling him he's not in Iowa anymore, but his coat gets thicker and thicker.  It's been in the 70's and 80's the last 2 weeks.  I hope everything is good with you guys.

December 2010: My Iowa bred mule just ran into his first herd of javelinas today. He just stood there and watched them go by. Hey Chris, how did you train him for this? He just amazes me all the time. What a wonderful mule!

Joanie Wyatt-Bernhard, Arizona

Rafter CF Training Mule Company
3105 Forest Ave
Bedford, IA 50833


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