Sunday, November 30, 2008

LIFE IS GOOD.........!!!!!


For the last couple of days it's been cloudy & rainy, not a lot of flies to bother the donkeys. So they have been going without their flymasks which means................. Burroland can be open night & day. It certainly didn't take them long to figure it out & head for the "wild" country.

This morning most of the guys were play fighting when John went out to round them up. Little Pepsi is bound & determined that he is as big as anyone else. He gets up on his hind legs, stretches his neck & bites on necks. The big guys let him do it, so I can only assume this is part of the deal. They could squash him if they wanted to, but they seem to be careful with him.

Unfortunately today everyone has to stay in their pens until we feed them early. We have an engagement in Tucson tonight, so we'll have to feed about 3 hours early. We've learned in the past not to expect them to come in that early even to be fed. So it's easier to just leave them in, even if they think we have lost our minds.

Friday, November 28, 2008


We have no heating or cooling in our house, so it's always fun to see how long we can go, before we have the 1st fire of the season in the wood stove. John gathered up some wood yesterday, just in case. Today was cloudy all day, so by afternoon we made the annual decision to have a fire tonight. I love the smell of burning mesquite, & the heat is nice too.

This afternoon I was making up the info pages to go on all the pens, for the open house next week-end. I like to have a blurp that tells a little of the story about why that particular donkey is here. I got them done, double checked & didn't have one for Chili. I started looking for a picture of him to go on the page & the only good one I had was Gus & him standing behind corral panels. So I went out to try to get a good picture of just him. The pen he eats in is only 12 x 12 & he is so people orientated that this is the best picture I got before I gave up. I might try to get a better one tomorrow when he's not in the pen. He's got what I call a typical donkey face, which doesn't show very well in a side shot.

Everyone seems to be doing pretty good right now. Chester is still off antibiotics & walking good although the foot on his bad leg, is too upright. Courtney has been working on it a little at a time, trying to get it more normal. He's much better about standing for her, hasn't tried to kick her head off in quite awhile...............!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'M BACK..........!!!!!!

Well that was a whirlwind trip........!!!!! Drove to Las Vegas, stayed in a motel 2 blocks from the convention center, & ordered in food as necessary. So I can only assume we were in Las Vegas, never saw the strip & colorful life of the casinos. Has a good time, we had a booth for the Oasis Sanctuary. Most of the booths were for dog or cat interest, although there were a few horse rescues, a sugar baby rescue, & a booth for ferret adoptions & rescue. We had Gulliver the macaw that was rescued from Micronesia this summer with us, & he loves the attention, so was quite a crowd pleaser. Sybil has written a wonderful children's book about his adventures, & Ed the illustrator was also there to sign books. The book is "hot off the press" as they say & it really was a hit with the people.

The first morning I was gone, John had to take Pepper to the vet because he choked on his breakfast. He's choked before, but this time it was a good one. He got to come home once the vet tubed him & got it loose, & had no more problems. Everyone else behaved themselves & in fact John said they even showed up on time every morning, so he didn't have to go find them on Burroland. Believe me, he had enough to do without having to round them up.

I got in late last night, went out this morning to say hello to all my buddies & the only one that even acted excited was Nicky the dog..........!!!! Oh! well, I enjoyed seeing them even if they didn't acknowledge their days had been bleak without my presence.........!!! (G)

Now it's back to work, & getting ready for the Open House, the first week-end in December. We don't have a lot to do to get ready, but there's still things that need to be done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Well John is going to be "chief cook & bottle washer for a few days". Perhaps Gus choking this morning has something to do with his lack of anticipation of being in charge. Or Buster choking 2 mornings in a row last week. The only thing I can figure out is they aren't drinking as much now that it is cooling off, & the timothy pellets are getting stuck in their throats. We've been spreading Gus' supplements out since the last time he choked. And Buster hasn't been getting pellets since last week & is doing just fine. We also feed Lakin Lite pellets which are quite a bit larger than the timothy, but usually soak them first. We might try them dry, at least for these 2 & see if they can eat them without scaring us to death.

John & Don, John's cousin Carol's husband worked on Pepsi's shelter yesterday, & John finished it today. Now there is a shelter in every pen. Wow! I just counted them, we have 13 pens............!!!! Actually right now Pepsi's has 2 shelters in his pen, John hasn't taken down the little temporary one he put in right after Pepsi got here. While the guy's were doing the shelter, Carol & I trimmed up the mesquite & cat claw trees in the dog pen. They had lots of suckers growing every which way, & when we would go into pick up poo, it we came out looking like we had ran thru a buzz saw. Carol is use to living in Alaska, which doesn't have mesquite. After she got stuck a few times I thought it might be a good idea to find something else to do, before she got stuck really bad. It wasn't so bad cutting them, the gathering & piling is when the blood letting occurs. So we went in the house, drank tea & talked, while the guys worked..........!!! (G) The donkeys ate most of them after we went in the house, but I need to pick the rest up tomorrow before I leave.

I will be going to a Petsmart convention in Las Vegas this week-end. Never been to one, Sybil invited me, & I've never missed an offered trip, that I know of. Of course I asked John first, since the one that stays home obviously doesn't have as much fun as the one travelling. I'll let you know how it went when I get home. We'll also have Gulliver the macaw, & Henry. Henry is a "homozygous merle" dog who is partial blind & profoundly deaf. In equines this gene mutation is usually called lethal white. Equines don't survive, but dogs can, although they have major health problems. Sybil took in Henry & his brother when they were 6 weeks old. Not many people would take on a blind deaf dog, let alone 2 of them. So it should be an "interesting" trip..................!!!! (G)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, they are managing to find a few beans, but not enough to deprive them of the pleasure of Burroland. They are so funny to watch, when they go out of the pens at night. It's like kids going to a party, they all head to the gate which, if we don't forget is open. One night we forgot & when John went over to open the gate, Jack the mule had already beat him to it & was waiting rather impatiently.

Pepsi the little mini has decided that he thinks Lucy is his type of girl. Good grief...........!!!! Talk about "visions of grandeur". At least he isn't after Jenny the mammoth, or he would really look silly. Lucy came in this morning trailing a line of suitors, with him the first in line. I'm surprised Buster will allow such dallying with his girl, he usually watches her pretty close.

For 2 mornings in a row, Buster has choked after eating his timothy pellets, soaked beet pulp, & soaked hay cubes. Not a bad choke, but it's always scary when one of them has problems like that. I assume the problem is the timothy pellets, so have left them out of his pan. So far, so good. I'm going to be gone next week-end to Petsmart Convention in Las Vegas. John is already dreading the idea that one of them might choke or get hurt. He could handle anything that happens, but he would rather I do it............typical man.

Pepper actually looks like he might be putting on a little weight. He doesn't look look quite as frail as he did this summer. I've upped the amount of soaked food he's getting, & he's isn't eating much hay at all, just the soaked stuff. He has very little muscle mass, so I doubt that he will ever look "good". I was worried that if he didn't put on some weight, even using blankets on him might not be enough to help him make it thru the winter. Our winters aren't as bad as some areas have. I was raised in Missouri, so I know what "real" winter can be like. But we do have some really cold nights & in December & January days that are cloudy & chilly. I've also upped the soaked food for Sha'ba & Jack, the other 2 old guys that have a problem maintaining weight. Rusty the mule is older that Jack the other mule, but you can certainly tell the difference in their younger lives by how they look. Rusty is 30 years old & looks great. Jack is almost 27 has few teeth, has a lot of saddle or packing scars on his back & in general isn't in very good shape. Jack as been getting soaked food for quite awhile, because of his lack of teeth. With winter coming on, I decided to fill his bucket up & see if he would eat more. Yes he would, thank you very much. Maybe I need to get a bigger bucket.....!!! (G)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The last few days we have been doing "Poo 101" when we clean pens in the morning, checking for mesquite beans. We had 2 days of not finding any beans at all, so last night was very exciting for the 7 that have been kept in at night, when the others got to go over to Burroland. John said he almost got ran down when he went over to open the gate. The next excitement will be when they no longer have to wear fly masks during the day. Then they will be able to go over to Burroland day & night. Yesterday we tried not putting their masks on, since we've had some pretty cool nights. But unfortunately a lot of flies have survived the experience & went right for the moisture in their eyes, so we're back to putting on fly masks again.

Terry came out yesterday morning & groomed. Some of them love to be groomed, some are too wiggly to stand still that long, & others could care less. Jenny the mammoth, really likes to be groomed, & afterwards kept at Terry, trying to get her to groom some more I guess. We laughed about how Belle use to get back in line again, like we wouldn't recognize her. Now Belle has her own family & probably gets groomed a lot. Her new Mom said if she is groomed first, she will line up behind Shiloh to be groomed again, just like she did here. They are so funny sometimes.

Our Open House this year will be December 6 & 7th from 10am to 4pm. It will be in conjunction with the 28th annual Cascabel Christmas Fair. They always have lots of vendors selling all sorts of interesting items. We won't be selling anything though. We just give people a chance to visit with the donkeys. This will be the 3rd year we have participated, & it's been a lot of fun. The donkeys especially enjoy the timothy pellets we give the people to feed them. If you get a chance come out & visit with us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Horse's View of Natural Horsemanship

Hello, my name is Flicka and my Owner's a clinic junkie.

Yes, it's true. She went thru her mid life crisis and came to the
sale barn and bought me. I spent my whole life misbehaving and being
passed from greenhorn to greenhorn till someone finally got smart and
sent me to the sale barn. I was seriously hoping to be picked up by
one of those show horse fellas so I could live in a fancy barn and
stand around and look pretty, but they told me my butt's too small,
my heads too big, and the crest on my neck from a bout with grass
founder (thanks to owner number 2) is not desirable, and in general I
was just not that capable of looking pretty, so I went home with
Phyllis instead.

She pets me and loves me, and in general I had a pretty good life
at first. Then she heard about those guys who whisper to horses. Life
has never been the same. First there was Pat. At Pat's clinic Phyllis
learned to twirl a big stick and chase me around a round pen till I
was wringing wet with sweat. Once I had "calmed down" (I was never
really fired up in the first place till that guy came at me with the
stick like an idiot) she began learning to ride me with no bridle.
Talk about giving an old spoiled horse an opportunity to have some

Initially I went along with it. I'd lope around the pen real nice
like, and everyone would oooh and aaah over my "natural horse"
abilities. Then, just when everyone had gathered around to watch, I
would see the SCARIEST!! (teeheeheehee) shadow in the history of
scary shadows and switch directions and take off with my rider
clinging terrified to my back. Every other horse on the place was
envious of me because their owners would take them out back and beat
them with that overpriced stick when no one was watching, but I knew
my Phyllis would not.

Eventually Philly (as I like to call her) gave up on the whole
natural horse idea when Pat tried to talk her into jumping me without
a bridle over some barrels. Off we went in search of another guru. In
our search we found Monty. He threw a string at a horse and talked to
the horse with winks and stares. I spent some time with his clinic
horses. I saw the demonstration where an unbroken 2 year old became
an overnight Reiner. Later I talked to the 2 year old. He was
actually 5 and had been doing this same routine for about 5 clinics

The first time Phyllis broke out the string I again, went along
with it. Well, until she got tired of me stopping and looking at her
like she was stupid. When she went to get herself a glass of water
and refer to that chapter in Monty's book, I grabbed the string and
chewed it to pieces.

And this is how I got my Jolly ball!

Then there was the Indian fella with a name I can't pronounce. To
get the full effect of his clinic, Philly painted stuff on my body
and put feathers in my hair. I looked like I was in a Costume Class,
but hey whatever floats your boat... I thought maybe at least with
this guy we might get to play Indian pony games and have mock battles
or something but no. More round pen work and gimmicks. This time
there was a fire in the middle of the round pen and they danced
around it while praying that I would become a good horse and always
mind my owner. He only took her for a couple thousand pelts and a
bottle of firewater.

There's been the Australian guy. Training with a Boomerang while he
hopped around like a kangaroo and called me his mate... "Sorry fella,
you¢re cute and all but my mate has 4 legs. I just don't swing
interspecies. " There was a horse psychic who told Phyllis my momma
didn't lick me enough when I was born, a guy who used his hands like
ears to talk to me and of course the touchy, feely lady.

I can't complain though; I've got an owner who loves me and has
devoted her time to trying to make me a better horse. I really should
behave, really I should, but I think I am contributing to her youth
by giving her a reason to take me to all these clinics. Maybe the
next clinic will involve turning me out with the mustangs so I find
my inner wild stallion.

Sincerely, Flicka

Monday, November 10, 2008

Everyone seems to be doing good right now. It's been getting pretty cold at night, down to 22 degrees one morning. Sha'ba is probably over 40, & pretty thin. He has always stayed in his pen at night & even though he has a shelter, I thought he might need a little extra covering. I have some of those lightweight soft fuzzy people blankets that I've used in the past on some of the older ones. They work real well, when they really don't need a heavy blanket. They are fuzzy enough that they cling really well to their hair, & don't come off, even if they lay down.

I'd put one on Pepper, but he gets really upset if he doesn't get to go out of his pen. There are too many mesquite trees & brush on the property, a blanket wouldn't last very long. He's been eating much better than he did this summer, so hopefully he's getting enough "fuel" to keep him warm. Once we get into winter, with days not quite so warm & nights getting colder quicker, he'll have to stay in whether he likes it or not, so he can be blanketed.

Chester is still walking pretty good. He's been off antibiotics for awhile, & seems to be doing just fine. It's been almost a year since his leg surgery when they cleaned all the infection out they could find.

Jenny seems to be very sound. I watched her in the wash one day trying to reach mesquite leaves high above her head. She was moving & positioning herself with no thought to where her feet where going, or how much weight she was putting on them. Recently she has been "hanging out" with Tula. That means when they are in Burroland, we usually have to go retrieve Tula & Jenny of course is with her. Tula takes off running & Jenny can stay pretty close to her trotting, but she will step up the pace if she has to. I'm sure the inside of her feet aren't pretty, but they have become functional, which is what we hoped for.

I guess Diego made the trip to Texas OK. My friend Terry asked if I thought of maybe accidently sending Tula to Texas & keeping Diego. Actually I mentioned to John, that this would be a good opportunity to send Tula to a place where she could be with donkeys & not have to deal with people except 3 or 4 times a year. John said she isn't going anywhere she's a nut, but she's our nut...!!! I guess it's like the saying on the shirt "I'm in my own little world, but it's OK, they know me here".

Friday, November 07, 2008


Isn't he a pretty boy...............? John built a small pen with 4 corral panels attached to the trailer yesterday morning, so he could go out & look around. We left his hay & water in the trailer so he would have to go in. By yesterday evening he was going in & out like he'd been doing it all his life. He also would come to us when we came up to the pen. He seems to have a very good personality & seems to like being around people. Of course the ginger snaps probably helped.

Mark from Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue called this afternoon from Tucson, so we shut Diego up in the trailer & headed for Benson. Here Mark & John are lining up their trailers for the hand off. They backed them up, so all he had to do was walk from one trailer to the other. Well that's what us humans thought was a good idea. Diego decided he didn't think much of the whole process, & preferred to stay in the trailer he was in. We tried encouragement, clicking, patting, haltering, noise behind, & finally, tugging on the front & Mark behind, REALLY pushing HARD.......!!! In fact I don't think Diego moved his feet at all, Mark pushed hard enough to slide his firmly planted feet along on the floor mats. Not once did he offer to kick, or fight us in any way. Mark said they will evaluate him & that he will probably go up for adoption very soon. I hope he gets a wonderful forever home of his own.

We had to hurry home for evening feeding. We were late & the whole bunch were waiting impatiently. I took this picture right after John went in the feed room to get carrots. As you can see the "horsey" group are making sure they are at the front of the line, when he comes out. BlackJack is facing the camera, Jack the mule is behind him, Gus & Max the horse are lined up on the door & Rusty the white mule is beside the building. When I first saw them Sha'ba was standing behind Max, but he moved before I got the camera. I was surprised because he usually stays away from the "big" guys.

I guess winter is on it's way. It was 25 degrees here yesterday morning........!!!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We picked up "Diego" this afternoon. Everyone should have a name & Diego sounds good to me. As you can see from the picture he isn't quite a bad boy we had been told. He was more cautious than confrontational & after getting 2 front feet in the trailer, decided he wasn't going any further. So John & Tom, the man with him above, locked their arms behind his hind legs & literally lifted him the rest of the way into the trailer. He never once offered to kick.

When we got home I called Ann at Care for the Horses & got more of the story. He came in with an elderly horse with some bad hip problems & is really lame. Ann said if they tried to do anything with the horse, Diego would charge them & kick. He has not kicked one time since we picked him up, so maybe all he was trying to do was protect his friend, which they read as aggression.

He is spending the night in the trailer, because it was dark when we got home. Tomorrow John is going to build a small pen around the back of the trailer, so he can go out. I hope this isn't a mistake. A temporary pen of corral panels, is only a good idea, if they don't REALLY want out. Chili & Gus are always moving the corral panels around to suit themselves...........!!!! We'll leave his food & water in the trailer, so he will have to go in to eat & drink. Maybe by Friday the trailer will be no big deal.

We had a visitor this morning. Valerie has been reading the blog & web-site for quite sometime, but this was the first time we had met. I think she knows more about the blog than I do, at least she seems to remember more of the details.........!!! (G) She even has a favorite donkey from reading the wild child, Miss Tula. Guess she likes a challenging type of personality.........!!!!! She's an equine person, so we went thru the pens. Usually when we have people visit we go around the outside of the pens, because we don't know the level of equine knowledge in a group. But she was by herself, so it was more fun to go in with them. It's been awhile since we've had any tours, & believe me, they were ready when they saw her coming with a cup of timothy pellets. Most of them were fairly polite, although we did have to tie Gus up. Since he is not in a pen, he thought he should be everywhere we went & seemed to have forgotten the rule about "personal space of humans".

We've had to keep Chili, Buddy Brat, Rocky, & the minis from going over to Burroland for awhile. When John went over last week to check for mesquite beans, he didn't find many, so he closed the gates to keep the cattle out, & we started opening Burroland at night. BUT, after 2 or 3 days we noticed a build up of mesquite beans in the poo. Seems like they are better detectives than John, when it comes to finding beans. Buddy looked like he gained weight almost overnight, & when I started looking at some of the others they didn't look much better. They are really "ticked" about the injustice of being in their pens all night, & voice their displeasure every chance they get. But we can barely hear them, if we're in the house........!!! (G) They do get out during the day, but they've almost completely stripped everything edible on the 10 acres around the house, so I don't think that's much fun. We'll watch the poo of the ones that are out at night, & when we don't see anymore beans, we'll let the "chubbies" out at night again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Poitou donkey from France 100 years ago

Everyone is doing great after their "toe" trim Saturday. Sometimes the ones that have been foundered get a little tender footed, but everyone did just fine this time. Courtney is going to try to come back in a couple of weeks, & trim on Chester a little more. The heel on his bad leg is still too high, but she didn't want to take it down too much at one time.

We are involved in a rescue this week, although we won't be bringing him home permanently. I got a call from Care for the Horses here in Cochise County about a donkey that had been running loose for 2 years & was picked up by the Livestock Inspector. Usually in these cases if the animal isn't retrieved by an owner they are taken to auction. The information we got was he is an aggressive kicker & originally we were told he was intact. We aren't set up for jacks especially one that can't be handled. But yesterday they found out he has in fact been gelded.

I got in touch with Mark Myers at Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. He has a satellite adoption center in Miles, Texas & I know he keeps the highway hot, running back & forth. I hoped he might be coming thru & might have a place for this guy. He's coming thru this Friday & is willing to pick him up.

He was taken to Care for the Horses, & they have rushed around getting his Coggins test & health certificate, so he can be transported into another state. The results will be done tomorrow morning, & we will go down to Sierra Vista tomorrow afternoon & pick him up in our trailer. We will keep him in the trailer until Friday afternoon, when Mark will pass thru on his way to Texas. Wish we could let him out in a pen, but unfortunately his reputation precedes him.

I'll try to get pictures tomorrow when we pick him up.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


We had 7 for Courtney to look at today. We had a couple that showed some White Line disease. One was Max the horse. I noticed his front hooves had developed vertical cracks. Not bad, but he had never had them before. Buddy Brat has a big chunk missing out of the side of his hoof. At first Courtney thought he had blown an abscess. But she thinks he probably banged it on a rock & a big piece chunked off since he was never lame. He also has some white line. We had so much wet weather this summer, she thinks that might be the reason.

I can't imagine the problems equines have that live in a climate with a lot of rain & wet ground to contend with on a regular basis. She said neither of them have it very bad, & of course we've pretty much dried out until January, so they will have plenty of time to dry out.

She was quite pleased with Jenny's feet. I told her Jenny was running & trotting yesterday, as she was trying to get rid of me, so she could stay in Burroland. Jenny has really come a long way since May of 2007, when she came here & was laying down 24/7. A woman that lives in the valley came by just as Jenny was getting trimmed. Her horse foundered on mesquite beans a few weeks ago & both coffin bones have penetrated the sole of his hooves. Right now he is laying down 24/7 & of course she has been told to put him down, by the vets. Courtney has been working with him, & was pleased with how he was doing today. Between him doing better & seeing how well Jenny is doing, I think Sue felt a little better about his situation. Hopefully he will continue to improve.

Chester got a trim & for the first time he stood still........ well...... relatively speaking. At least he didn't try to kick her head off again. I've been working with lifting his feet, but that isn't the same as actually doing something to them. But he did good. He's been off antibiotics for a few days, & so far so good.

Of course Lucy & Pepper got trimmed, as usual. Poor Lucy has flat feet & always will, so it's very important for her to be trimmed frequently. Pepper actually is self trimming, except for the fact that he walks like John Wayne. He kinda leans to the side all the time, which makes his feet grow longer on one side than the other.