Saturday, December 30, 2006


These pictures of Lucy's left front foot were taken almost 2 years apart. She's been getting trimmed every 5-6 weeks, & as you can tell it has made a world of difference in her foot. John even saw her run a couple of days ago. So her feet must be feeling pretty good. Her 1st trim after we got her was done at the Equine Clinic in Gilbert, & at that time she could hardly walk. So she has come a long long way. We have high hopes for both front feet, the right one was never as bad as the left.

It's finally warming up a little bit & the sun is shining this afternoon. Snowy went out today for the first time in a couple of days. I kept her in to monitor her in & out put. She ate pretty good last night & also this morning. So I took all her "clothes" off & turned her loose. She doesn't go very far or do much when she is out, but it gives her a little exercise.

Everyone else seems to be in good health & spirit. Belle is still recuperating from her encounter with the dogs a few weeks ago. She bowed the tendon in both front legs. She's not very lame anymore, but the legs are still enlarged & hard. From all I have read, the treatment for bowed tendons is the passage of time. They will probably always be enlarged, but once she's healed, they shouldn't bother her at all.

I do believe the minis are a little thinner............little being the optimum word here........!!! They still have a long way to go. I had been giving Lynn & Cheyenne 2 chromium tablets each morning in a handful of timothy pellets. This morning, Miss Lynn became a suspicious inspector, & spit out one of her tablets. I tried giving it to her again, & she wouldn't even take the timothy pellets from my hand. Guess I'll have to come up with a "PLAN B"........!!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Katie came out today to trim the ones that have problem feet. Actually everyone was in pretty good shape, just a little touch up here & there. Lucy's feet have been a work in progress for almost 3 years, & the last couple of times she's been trimmed, she hasn't had to have extra hoof material removed. It will probably take about another year, but she should end up with normal looking feet. Pepper's feet are finally self trimming, after a couple of years of trimming every 5 weeks. I told Katie she is working herself out of a job. (G)

Nina's feet are going to need touch ups for awhile. They actually looked better than the 1st time Katie trimmed her 6 weeks ago. Hopefully running around on rocks & gravel, will get the frog to working, rather than just taking up space on the bottom of her foot. She's never been lame, so I guess the frogs don't bother her as much as they look like they should. Nina & Benny have been offered a wonderful home in Arrivaca & will probably be leaving the sanctuary in a few weeks.

We also had some visitors this afternoon. Brian & Amy live north of us, & brought his parents, who are visiting for the holidays. Brian & Amy have been here quite often, this is the 2nd time for his parents. As usual, BlackJack was the official greeter. Unfortunately Amy left the carrots she had promised him at home.

Monday, December 25, 2006


If her polo wraps were green, she would look like a Christmas present............!!!!! We are waiting for a new blanket to come thru the mail. I called all over Tucson for a blanket & no one had a blanket small enough to fit her. In the meantime a friend suggested covering her with one of the lightweight soft fleecy blankets you can buy at Wal-Mart real cheap. I just happened to have one I snuggle in every night, to read or watch TV, so thought I'd try it. I was really surprised at how clingy it is. I position it on her back, & it sticks to her hair, so well, that it stays on all night. It's working just fine, hopefully we won't have anymore little rain showers, like we had the night before she seemed ill the next morning. Although she has a shelter, she was still wet when we went out that morning. The "real" blanket will be waterproof!

She seems much better since I've been covering her with the blanket. I had been wrapping her legs ever since it had been below freezing at night. But I guess she was losing too much body heat, & at her age it was just too hard on her.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Snowy seems to be doing better today. We ran a list of things that could be wrong with her, ranging from ulcers to perhaps being at the end of her life. She is probably in her 30's, has 3 teeth, crippling arthritis, & of course being a holiday makes if difficult to find an available Vet. We managed to get her to eat a little yesterday. John & I also tried giving her pro-biotics in case there was a problem with her digestive system. Well, she might be old, & she might not feel very good, but she managed to lead us a merry chase within the confines of her pen, & defy us to stick that stuff in her mouth. I mixed it in with some of her soaked beet pulp & timothy pellets & she ate it, so it must not taste bad. I think it was just the idea of us trying to make her take it. She regularly clamps her lips together to refuse a carrot or apple treats, & we've never been able to figure out why, unless it's to prove she can.

We think she might have gotten too cold the other night & maybe that was the problem. It was warmer last night & today was pretty nice, once the fog lifted. Not what you expect in the desert............!!!! At least not what I expect. She went out of her pen this afternoon, & seemed to follow her regular routine, so hopefully she's OK. I checked my records & she had a similar experience last April but it only lasted a day.

We also had the equine dentist out today to check Belle. Belle had a lump on her jaw when she came to us this summer. We were told the lump had been checked by a vet & they had been told to leave it alone, & just watch it for any changes.

A few days ago, we noticed her pushing against it on the side of the hay bunk when she was eating. Checked it out & instead of being solid like before, it was now loose & you could hear & feel it grating on bone.

Phil checked her jaw inside & out, & agreed it was very strange. He massaged & pushed on it from the outside & all of a sudden something fell out of her mouth. This is a picture of the rock that had been encapsulated in a pocket on her jaw. The quarter & 2 dimes show the size of the rock & it is about as round as a man's thumb. It is very smooth, like a rock that has been in a lapidary tumbler, so we assume it has been in there for a long time. But how did it encapsulate like that? Was it sharp enough to puncture the inside of her mouth when it got caught in her mouth? How did it get caught in such a way, so that it couldn't just fall out? Lots of questions & no answers.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


What a great start for winter, it was 14 degrees this morning.........!!!! We spent most of the morning, breaking ice & hauling hot water. We had to remove the heater from the big stock tank, yesterday. We noticed Nina trying to drink, but not touching the water. John used a volt meter, & found out there was a current flow from the water to the ground. It wasn't much, maybe a quarter of a volt, but I have read that equines can detect electricity, we can't. Took the heater out, & everyone started drinking. So this morning they had to contend with ice.

We also have a sick mule. Snowy hasn't eaten much today, nor has she drank any water. She isn't acting sick, but something is wrong. It was so cold last night I thought that might have something to do with her not wanting to eat or drink. But it warmed up this afternoon, & she still isn't interested in anything except chewing a little hay. It seems like animals have a built in clock, to know when it is a holiday, week-end or the dead of night. Local Vet is out of town, so we will probably have to haul her to Tucson in the morning.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Well John learned a lesson yesterday. The first few days the minis were out, when it came time to go back in the pen, they followed us, like well mannered little guys. A couple of days ago, John wasn't here at feeding time & I had to round everyone up by myself. The minis were together as usual, but Justin was the only one that would follow me. We went in the pen, I gave him his tiny sliver of carrot for being a good boy, & he promptly spun around & ran out of the pen, back to where Lynn & Cheyenne were standing. After that they followed me back to the pen.

Yesterday John was doing round up, & I was fixing beet pulp & supplements. He came in the feed room, & got a quirt. I asked him what was going on & he said the minis wouldn't go in their pen. A few minutes later he came back in, hung up the quirt & mumbled it was like trying to herd pigs....!!!! He said he came up behind them, pointed with the quirt, & they ran every which direction. Went back out & they followed him to the pen, just like little lambs.

We might have to rethink how to handle them. Not the fact that they are getting rebellious about going in the pen. But the fact that when they go out of the pen, they start eating whatever they can find. They have already figured out that the other pens are open & there might be some hay scraps left. So they make a bee line to the pens for clean-up. I'd hate to keep them in a pen, but they aren't going to lose weight, if they continue "snacking" during the day.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Shiloh has been with us for almost 3 years, & in all that time we have never heard him make a sound. He was very shut down when we got him, & it took 2 years for him to react to anything going on around him. The day we saw an ear turn to catch sounds was a red letter day. Then he started watching us & the other donkeys. He's even learned to play with the other donkeys occasionally.

Yesterday morning John & I were in the feed room, fixing the pans & for some reason Shiloh was the only one there. I opened the door to see if anyone else had shown up, & his nostrils started flaring. I asked him what he was doing & he actually huffed a couple of times. You would have thought we'd won a million dollars, we were so excited........!!!!

Shiloh has never made a sound or even attempted to. He has lots of scarring on his throat, probably from either dogs, or aggressive equine. Since he had never made a sound, we assumed his vocal cords were probably damaged.

My mission now is to get him to do a full blown bray........!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Here are a couple more really good info areas on beet pulp. Unfortunately, most of our equines are overfed & under exercised, which makes for an unhealthy animal. Companies that manufacture animal feeds do a lot of advertising about how good their products are, how healthy they are, & have lots of different feeds designed for old, young, working, pregnant & anything in between .

In the case of donkeys, these animals evolved from a life in the desert, travelling 20-30 miles a day, to scrounge enough subsistance to keep them alive until tomorrow. Not even close to the "cushy" lifestyle of today for most donkeys. Alfalfa hay, sweet feed, & many of the pelleted feeds sold, are much too much feed for donkeys. Most donkeys do just fine on a diet of grass hay, bermuda is the grass hay of choice in Arizona, clean water & salt.

Beet pulp can be used as a carrier for minerals & supplements, if you feed them. It can also be used to put weight on or take weight off, depending on how it is fed. It has approximately the same food value as oats, but without as much starch & sugar content. The lower glycemic spike, makes beet pulp a wonderful food for Insulin Resistant equines.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Honcho went to his forever home today. He's going to have 40 acres to run on & his new Mom was very excited about him joining her family. In fact, when we pulled up with the trailer, not only was she waiting to see him, but so were the neighbors. Everyone said what a pretty boy he was & he walked off into his new life, without a backward glance. We are really going to miss him, he has such a wonderful personality even when he's being "Honcho" you can't help but love him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Twenty degrees this morning, I'm ready for winter to go someplace else. One thing about the desert, by 10am, the sun has been shining long enough for it to be pleasantly warm outside, & you can shed your "winter" togs. Some people in other parts of the country would be thrilled with a daytime temperature of 20 degrees, so I guess I should consider myself fortunate.

I wrap Snowy the mule's legs every night. She is very arthritic & I would like to think wrapping keeps her legs a little warmer. Right now I am also wrapping Belle's front legs. She is the one the neighbor's dogs chased. I'm no expert, but am pretty sure she has bowed tendons in both front legs. I'm giving her banamine one day & bute the next. I've been putting DMSO on her legs & then keeping them wrapped. She seems to do better with exercise, & since the treatment for bowed tendons is the passage of time, we'll keep doing what we're doing, although I will probably stop the bute & banamine this week if she continues to improve.

The minis are doing great. Don't notice any weight loss yet, but they've only been here a few days. We let them out for a few hours yesterday afternoon for the first time. The first thing they did when they got out, was put their mouths down & started vacuuming tiny little mesquite leaves. Fortunately every inch of land has already been vacuumed by the big guys. Not only that they have also taken care of everything edible, up high enough, I don't think the little guys will find much to eat. Honcho tried to "exercise" them. Their little short legs put them at a disadvantage running in a straight line, but they also can change direction quicker. Finally Justin & Cheyenne had enough, started kicking him, & Cheyenne, even chased him out of "her" area. So he decided he had real important business to take care of, someplace else...........!!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006


This is a picture of Cheyenne's neck. As you can see her mane has fallen over to one side. When the "tres amigos" came a few days ago, her neck was so hard you could not indent it by squeezing as hard as you could. Lynn's crest was almost as hard, & she also has runny eyes, which usually means allergies.

We are soaking their hay to remove some of the sugar & starch. After one day of soaked hay Cheyenne's crest was already softening, which is a pretty good sign that she is insulin resistant.

Right now they are still in a pen, getting use to being in a new place. In a few days we will let them loose to run with the others, hopefully to work off some of the excess weight they are carrying.

Lynn is also getting a generic allergy capsule each day to help with her allergies. So far it's keeping her eyes dry.

Even if Cheyenne loses weight her crest will never stand up again unfortunately. Her neck will always lay to the side.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tres Amigos

Here's the 3 little guys this morning, wondering why everyone else is out running around, & they are still in the pen. We'll give them a few days to learn the routine before turning them loose.

If you look close you can see, there is too much donkey in each skin. Cheyenne's crest is very hard & has started to fall over on one side. I would imagine she is insulin resistant, & Lynn also has all the classic symptoms of IR. We will be soaking their hay starting today. This removes a lot of the sugar & starch, which IR equines don't need, any more than a diabetic person needs candy. Once they get out of the pen, they will get lots of exercise, which should also help with their "diet".

This is the only picture I could get of Justin. He was bound & determined to get in my pocket. They are all very friendly & love to be petted, but it makes it difficult to take pictures.......!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


They are sooooo cute! They are all "donkey grey" complete with dorsal stripes. Justin & Cheyenne have white noses like most donkeys have. Lynn has a brown nose, with no white at all. She is the first one we've had that has no white points. They are very friendly & have pretty little faces, & chubby little bodies, which is why they are out here for awhile. Right now they will stay in a pen for a few days till they get use to being in a different place. Bennie has already tried to play with Justin thru the fence, so they will probably play together & become buddies. I'll try to get some pictures of them tomorrow.

Belle has been in a pen since the dogs chased her. The woman that brought the donkeys is very knowledgeable & suggested letting her out of the pen. Her thoughts were, that as a flight animal, they're bodies are designed to keep moving even if they have problems with tendons or muscles in their legs. In the wilds if they can't move & keep up with the herd, they will become someone's lunch. We'll see how she is doing tomorrow after running around all night. Tula, Belle, & Nina decided not to come over from Burroland tonight for dinner. I'm sure Tula is the instigator of the rebellion. Obviously they aren't very hungry, but this is the first time they've refused to at least show up. We went over & checked to make sure they are OK, & they are just fine. In fact they came as far as the gate between the 10 acres the house is on & the 20 acres of Burroland, & scooted past the gate like it didn't exist, little stinkers..........!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

If everything goes as planned, 3 little miniatures are coming out tomorrow to visit with us for awhile. They need to lose some weight according to their Mom. I'm not sure this is the place to lose weight, judging the body shapes of all our guys. But we'll give it a try, & see what happens. This will be the first miniatures we've had. They are use to being in with horses, so hopefully they know what to do to stay out of trouble with larger animals. Originally we thought they would be here for the Open House last week-end, but it didn't work out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Open House!

We had a great Open House this week-end. Met a lot of nice people & the donkeys for the most part were thrilled with all the extra attention & treats. Both of the mules ignored everyone & wouldn't even take treats. Snowy doesn't see or hear very well, so any change to her routine really confuses her. Jack isn't going to accept treats from strangers, just to make them happy. He'd rather stand on the other side of the pen & watch them out of the corner of his eye. We don't call him the "grand old man with attitude" for nothing.

Max the horse, figured out how to get people's attention. At mealtime, he has always "played" a tune on the gate by running his mouth along the pipe, which makes a humming sound. He started "playing" a tune for some of the people, when they were feeding donkeys instead of him. A lot of people didn't know what was going on, but John & I got a kick out of watching him, work to get their attention.

We had no idea how the week-end would go, but we had such a good time, we're already looking forward to next year. A lot of people said they'd like to come back, which we hope they will do.