Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Tomorrow morning Judy the mule is coming to stay for awhile. She has had a problem with chronic founder & tender feet. We're hoping that by soaking the sugar & starch out of her hay & using supplements to balance hay, that we can get her more comfortable. She's a riding mule & her owner has been trying different things to help her, but she is still having problems. She will just be here on loan, if we can get her sound she'll go back to her family in the future.

We had a family stop by to visit today. We ask that people call first, but they found out about us at the local Chamber of Commerce & that little piece of information got lost in the process. That's OK, the main reason we ask they call ahead is to make sure we're here, so they don't have a long drive for nothing. Also if people are coming we leave the fur kids in their pens, so they can be seen without being obnoxious. By the time the people got here, most of them were already out of their pens, so we had to roam around to find them. Chili & Rusty both got put back in pens, because they were behaving badly. They both had a "ME, ME, ME" attitude, which isn't attractive. If Gus had been here, he would have gone in a pen too. Haven't heard how he's doing, but I'm sure he's enjoying all that free feed hay...........!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


The last couple of days have been busy around here. At least the weather is getting nicer, today it got up to 71* which was really appreciated by everyone.

Yesterday Martha came to massage Chester & Max the horse. Chester seemed to think it felt pretty good for the most part & seemed to enjoy just about everything she did. I noticed today he wasn't turning his foot backwards as much as he usually does, so maybe a regular routine of massage would help him walk more comfortable. He has a lot of muscle wasting in his shoulder & chest area from non-use that probably won't ever come back. But it doesn't seem to slow him down, he goes everywhere the others do, & moves as fast or faster than they do, & has been known to kick up his heels if I want him to do something he doesn't want to do.

Max was a little less accepting of all this hands on attention. He was quite nervous when she started, but after a few minutes he decided it wasn't too bad & before it was over he was almost leaning on her. She said the muscles in his neck are very tight & he also has some muscle atrophy in his chest. She showed me a few massages I can try to do. I'm sure after having someone massage that knows what they are doing, they probably won't think much of my attempts, but we'll give it a try. She thinks stretching Chester's leg up & forward would help him a lot, so we'll work on that.

Today after chores we loaded Gus up for his trip to his new home. He went in the trailer by himself after a few minutes & a few ginger snaps, but still sweated up a storm during the trip. They were all ready for him, with his own pen & hay bunk filled with bermuda hay. He came out of the trailer & promptly kicked the dog. It wasn't a "kick him into the next country" kick. It was just enough to thump the dog on the shoulder & make him kiyi for a few seconds . I would imagine given the chance the dog will be more careful next time about wandering around behind Gus. They will probably be good friends, before too long once they get to know each other.

This is he & Leo meeting for the first time. Leo was very excited when he saw Gus, but Gus had to investigate the whole pen & eat a little hay before he deemed it necessary to introduce himself. By that time Leo had paced back & forth many many times, trying to get Gus' attention. When we left, Gus was in the run in shed dining on hay. They keep hay out all the time. Gus isn't a pig about food like some of the donkeys are, so I think he will do OK, with having food available all the time. Leo is definately lacking in the ear department, isn't he.............????? (G)

This is a link to a wonderful story of people getting involved to make a difference:

We had been joking all day, that since we were taking a donkey to a new home there would probably be a message when we got home about donkeys needing a home. It's happened before. Would you believe there was a message about 2 donkeys a 2 goats that showed up on Colossal Cave Park on our phone when we came in? Right now I don't have anyone wanting donkeys & even with Gus gone, we really aren't in a position to take in two more. John is going to make a call in the morning to the ranch where he does jeep tours in Tucson, to see if they might take them. They have a old donkey named Louie, roaming around with the horses. Maybe they wouldn't mind a couple more. Louie might mind, he likes to mug the tour jeeps when he sees them. Most of the drivers carry treats, so Louie & the horses have learned when they see the jeeps it's "showtime"......!!!!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


It was 19 degrees here this morning, after yesterday being windy, cold, rainy & even some snowflakes to add to the misery. Last night Pepper & Sha'ba got their blankets. They were wet when I put the blankets on, but the material wicks moisture away from them, so this morning they were nice & toasty. Today hasn't warmed up a whole lot, so they are having to stay in their pens. That's the bad thing about blankets, once you start putting them on, you have to use them as the weather dictates. Sha'ba doesn't mind staying in his pen, but Pepper acts like he's being mistreated, & tries to ram thru the gate if you open it.

Sha'ba is "helping" John pick up poo. Actually his interest is in the "treat" pocket. I don't carry treats, but they all know John always has something in a pocket, if they can just figure out what they have to do to get it. Sha'ba's speciality is standing in the way of the poo bucket, till John gives him a treat to get rid of him. Of course that doesn't work, it just makes Sha'ba more determined to get another treat.

We did the home study for Gus yesterday. It should be a wonderful home for him, he'll have a run in shed to eat in, & plenty of room to roam with his new friend Leo. Leo is a real people horse & likes to be the center of attention. The man has trained & also owned mules which is good. Gus wouldn't be a good donkey for someone that had never had equine. He is the type that if you give him an inch ("Oh! isn't that cute, what he's doing") he'll take a mile ("good heavens he's getting to be pushy") We're going to have them take him for 30 days to see how it works out, since he will be going to a home with no other donkeys. It shouldn't be a problem, since he doesn't pay any attention to donkeys anyway. In fact his only play buddy is Rusty the white mule & they don't play that often. Leo looked like he might like to play, so Gus should have a good friend to hang out with. We'll haul him to his new home next week.

I'll be glad when the wet cold weather is gone. I know our weather isn't nearly as bad as a lot of folks get. But after living in the desert for years, we get real whiney when we have to bundle up to do chores. John broke & dipped ice off the water buckets this morning. They immediately started freezing over again. A few years ago we tried using a heater in the big stock tank. The donkeys refused to drink from it & we found out we had an electrical leak that was causing the water to tingle. I worry about them not drinking enough & colicing, so we're trying to come up with a plan. I wouldn't let him experiment on the big tank for 2 reasons. # 1 it's their only large source of water & it usually doesn't ice completely over. # 2 I didn't want him to stick the heater in the water & make it miserable for the goldfish (3) that live in that tank. They would have no way of escaping if the water was charged. So he set up an 18 gallon tank with the heater to see if they'll drink out of it. If so, we'll go ahead & get another stock tank, 18 gallons won't last long, if they all want a drink.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL............!!!!

Today was a miserable cold day, with rain & wind. I don't like it & the donkeys don't either. They look at us like it's our fault & we should fix it. In case they haven't noticed, I'm not outside anymore than I have to be.......!!! (G)

A couple that was here for the Open House a couple of weeks ago, came by today to visit with Gus again. They were quite taken with him, & in fact Gus laid his head on the man's shoulder. They have a gelding & since Gus prefers horses to donkeys, we are thinking of letting them take Gus on a trial to see if it works out. We'll do a home study Friday & go from there.

Chester has been limping the last couple of days. I don't know if he hurt his leg, the cold is bothering him, or if the infection is coming back. The woman that does massage is going to be here Sunday. We'll see what she thinks.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas, with lots of good food, & a generous Santa........!!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


John came rolling in about 1pm yesterday, from his adventure. He said it was windy & cold up around Alburqerque (I don't think that's spelled right). I've got news for him, it was cold & windy here too, 22 degrees yesterday morning. What is great in the desert is, it can be bone chilling cold, but as soon as the sun gets a little height in the morning, it starts warming up quickly. The donkeys definately know the warm spots, & once they are standing there, even the idea of breakfast doesn't get them to move.

The trip went well, except for a bolt breaking for the alternator. Things like that happen when you're driving a van with over 460,000 miles on it. They were close to Hatch, NM & just had to wait until the auto parts store opened, get the bolt & replace it. They waited in the local cafe, with all the locals. Had to get their own coffee, once one of the guys told them the routine. I love cafes like that, it's like hanging out in someone's oversized dining room & the food is usually great.

Everything went smooth around here while he was gone. Of course last night when we fed, Gus & Rocky choked. Rocky cleared himself, but we had to work with Gus for awhile. Gus has choked before, I've about decided he can't eat pellets of any kind. We spread out the pellets so he can't grab a whole mouthful, but he still chokes. He's suppose to be getting antibiotics, BUT, it's a challenge to get him to eat his beet pulp & soaked timothy pellets with the antibiotics in them. I've tried different things to get him to eat, but he seems to figure it out, no matter what I try.

We had visitors today. They had been out here a couple of years ago. Last month they lost their donkey, & really are devastated. Sherry said she didn't know if she would be able to come out today, but once she saw the donkeys & they started their, "feed me, I'm starving" routine & all the antics they can think of, she enjoyed being around them. She plans on getting a couple of donkeys in the future, but not right now.

Santa brought my new camera, & I have to make the effort to get some pictures. It's disappointing to see a wonderful picture opportunity, run in the house, get the camera, go back out, & everyone has disappeared. I don't dare carry it around with me on a regular basis, they would think it was something to eat.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Taken off a MySpace page........... what a cute little Santa helper.......!!!

John left on a short road trip this morning. One of our neighbors was coming back from a trip to Georgia & his car broke down in the Albuquerque area, so he had to rent a car to get home. The logistics of getting the rental car back & getting his car home, was a little much unless he had access to a trailer & a vehicle to tow the trailer. John offered to go get it for him. So this morning in the dark, Michael drove the rental car up on the trailer, they tied it down & hit the road. It's only about 450 miles up there, so they should be back tomorrow sometime. Unless the weather gets bad. Right now a winter squall is roaming around Arizona & New Mexico, hopefully they'll miss it. I know this morning I will get to do chores, by myself, in wind & spitting rain. UGH!

Gus actually helped them load the car on the trailer. Well actually he was trying to get into the "treat" pocket in John's coat. But I'm sure he thought it was help. Rusty the mule, & BlackJack also were out in the driveway to see them off.

We got a new toy or piece of necessary equipment, depending on your point of view yesterday. Originally when we got the sub-compact tractor we thought we could use it in the pens. It's too long with the backhoe & the turning radius isn't short enough to work very well. So I checked out specs on skid loaders & decided a Bobcat 463 would probably work pretty good. Found a good deal on Craigslist & picked it up yesterday. In fact it didn't get unloaded until after dark, & John left before daylight this morning, so it's sitting in the garage awaiting it's christening in the pens when he gets back. I'm not real good with equipment, I can take out a fence or hit a tree without any supervision, so I will wait until he's here to drive it away from whatever I run over.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Courtney made it out to trim Sunday. She was later than we expected & got here just about feeding time. We managed to get everyone corralled & fed the ones that weren't getting pedicures. Unfortunately Lucy was one of the ones that had to wait for her supper. Good grief you would have thought she had never ate in her life & was being forced to stand & watch everyone else eat. Actually Courtney was keeping her busy with the trim, but to say Lucy was uncooperative is an understatement. Usually she's good about her feet. But you could tell from her body language & her level of cooperation (not much) that she felt she was being mistreated. When she was done & I started to lead her to her pen she TROTTED, almost dragging me. Believe me, moving fast isn't something Lucy normally does. (G) Although we've never x-rayed her feet she is what they use to call a sinker. The bottom of her feet are flat as a pancake & always will be.

We were quite pleased with Chester. Not only did he stand still to have his bad leg trimmed, he actually stood about 5 seconds on his bad side while Courtney picked up his good leg. It's a start, certainly a lot different than the first time she tried to trim him, & he whizzed a hind leg past her head more than once. She thinks he might enjoy a massage, so the next time she comes out she's going to bring a friend that is really good with equine massages. I'll probably have her look at Max while she's here. Maybe she can help make his broken neck with 5 years of arthritis more comfortable.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gus seems to be back to his old obnoxious self. I wouldn't think 2 days of Tucoprim would make a difference, but who knows. He'll get it for 2 weeks unless he gets so pushy in the meantime we can't stand him......!!! (G)

Does anyone have any brilliant ideas as to why Sha'ba would dig holes like this while he is eating his hay, every day? He's done it for years, but lately has really been going for some sort of a record I guess. I keep telling him if I fall in one of these caverns & break a leg, or hurt my back using a shovel, I won't be able to mix his special feed & give him extra treats. Needless to say, he keeps his hooves nice & short. We've tried feeding him in a bunk hanging on the corral panels, he does the same thing. He has a hard time raising his neck because of arthritis, so we thought on the ground would take care of the problem. Obviously not.

Courtney is coming out today to trim. She should only have to do a little touch-up, everyone seems to be wearing their feet even, except for Chester. He's hard to trim because he can't stand on his bad leg. But Courtney has his feet much better than they were. Right now his hoof on the bad leg is too upright, & the frog isn't touching the ground because it has atrophied from non use. Now that he is using it more we hope the frog will regenerate.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Gus actually loaded pretty easily this morning. I was surprised, as in the past he's not always been a cooperative "trailer loader". A few ginger snaps & me putting one front foot up in the trailer as John put pressure on the halter & he decided it might not be so bad.

Once he was in the trailer he started shaking & sweating until the sweat dripped off him, poor guy. The only other one we have that sweats like that in a trailer is Buster Brown. Needless to say his heart rate was elevated by the time he got to the vet, but she still managed to hear a heart murmur. The blood test was almost perfect, so she doesn't know if he's always had the murmur, or if he might have some sort of infection. Judging from the blood test, infection doesn't seem to be a probable diagnosis, but just in case we will give him Tucoprim for a couple of weeks. Tucoprim is good for bacterial infections.

On the way out, we picked up the mail. There was a check from Country Supply as their donation to our rescue. I want to thank everyone that took the time to enter our code when making a purchase from Country Supply. I told John it was like an early Christmas present...............!!!!! (G)

We're going to take Gus in to see the vet today. He's not really sick nor does he have something definitively I can put my finger on. But he seems to spend a lot of time laying down in the wash. He's never been Mr. Energetic, but it won't hurt to have him looked at & maybe do some blood tests to make sure he's OK.

Everyone else seem to be doing good right now, even old Pepper. He actually seems to be putting on a little weight. That means instead of his ribs sticking out like a hat rack, they are only showing thru his winter coat. We won't even talk about his hipbones........!!!!! Although it's getting in the low 30's at night, I'm still not putting a blanket on him. He's moving good, & if he has a blanket on he has to stay in the pens.

Courtney will be here Sunday to trim the ones that need it. Four have to be trimmed on a regular basis, but the rest self-trim, which is great........!!!!

Lucy is still hanging around her pen every morning, waiting for the people to come & visit. Even Buster has given up on waiting for her & goes out to start his day. I'm surprised, usually he won't leave her side.

Monday, December 08, 2008

This morning after everyone finished their hay we started opening gates & letting them out. John & I were still picking up poo. Usually when the gates are opened, the ones that feel they have been cheated in the hay department start running around checking all the pens to see if someone left hay. In fact they all know who is inclined to leave hay, & they head for those pens first.

I happened to look up & everyone had dispersed, but Lucy was still in her pen. This was unusual, so I watched her for awhile. She started out by the open gate, then she roamed over to the other side of the pen. Then she stood in the middle & brayed & back to the gate area. It took me awhile, but I finally figured out what was going on. She was waiting for the people to come & feed her pellets like they did during the Open House. It took about 1/2 an hour for her to finally decide the party was over & she might as well go out with the rest of them. Lucy is usually rather uninvolved in her surroundings. As a former roping donkey & probable baby factory, she is usually emotionally detached from what is going on around her. I was happy to see her participating in working to get the people to feed her, which she has never done before. And this morning I could tell she was upset because there wasn't anyone walking around the outside of the pen with cups of pellets. I wonder if she'll try again tomorrow?

Sunday, December 07, 2008


We had a real good Open House. Saturday was almost perfect, weather wise. Lots of sun, no wind & lots of people came to see the donkeys. Once the donkeys figured out what was going on, they really got into making sure the people found them entertaining. Gus started wearing thin, from my point of view. We knew we couldn't put a sign on his pen, or he would tear it down. So we got the brillant idea of stapling the sign to the wooden side of the shelter in the pen. I don't know how he knew it was there & also don't know how he managed to reach around the side & rip the sign off. John & I spent the day, retrieving & restapling the sign. I kept moving the sign farther down the side of the shelter, & figured eventually it would be closer to Tula & Chester than to Gus. When he wasn't doing that, he was beating on the corral panels, or digging a trench with his foot. I think he was trying to tell us, he doesn't like being in a pen. He would stop all the shenanigans when the people came by, so he could put his head over the top of the gate, or bray to make sure they saw him.

Tula actually took some timothy pellets from a woman's hand. Two years ago she took pellets from another woman. I don't know what triggers her to "take a chance". Most animals if they took the chance & nothing happened, would be inclined to try it again. Not her...........!!! She actually spent most of Sunday, walking a few steps towards people, but didn't get close to anyone again. Chester was in the pen with her, & he was at the front of the pen to make sure he got all the pellets he could wheedle from the people. So she could see him getting all the goodies. But that wasn't enough to make her give up her independence.

Today was cloudy, cooler & we didn't have near as many people. But the ones that were here, seemed to enjoy the adventure. Of course by today, all the equines knew the drill. There was a lot more braying, & positioning themselves, to make it easy for the people to give them pellets. Buster, Lucy & Rocky, learned to work the people at their gate, & then follow the people around to the other side to beg some more. They seemed to think the people wouldn't notice that they were the same donkeys, that had been begging at the gate. It didn't seem to matter the people fed them anyway. Jenny really learned quickly how to work the people for treats. Last year at this time, her feet were still pretty sore. I don't remember her interacting that much with the people. This year she brayed & stuck her nose thru the corral panels, wiggled her nose & tried all sorts of tricks to get their attention.

We left Pepsi in his pen, so he wouldn't have to compete with the other 3 minis for attention. Cheyenne got tired of competing with Lynn & Justin yesterday. So instead of standing where the people came down the fence, she would stand by the gate. Lynn & Justin would mug the people for pellets, but once the people turned the corner, Cheyenne seemed to know she was next. I'm surprised Lynn & Justin didn't simply follow along the fence with the people. They seemed to have staked out their place & weren't interested in horning in on Cheyenne's spot, so it worked out pretty good. I've seen Cheyenne back up Gus or BlackJack when she feels like it, so I was suprised that she was so docile about the whole situation.

All in all I think the Open House was a rousing success. Yesterday we had volunteers from Kartchner Caverns come out for the day. They were great, I don't know what we would have done without them. Today it was just John & I, but with less people we could handle it. Tonight they will be able to go over on Burroland for the 1st time since Friday. After 2 days of being in their pens, & 2 nights of having to stay on the plain old "boring" 10 acres, I'm sure they will be excited to get back over there.

It might be a few days before I have anymore pictures. Do you know what a digital camera looks like, in it's plastic & nylon case & someone (read that John) starts a fire in a wood stove without noticing the camera case on top? Let me put it this way, once the smell & the smoke cleared the house, & the plastic quit dripping off the stove I got a chance to look at the camera. I think it might pass for a decent piece of modern art..............but I don't think it will take another picture. I've been promised that Santa Claus is going to put in a rush order, so the getting a new one probably won't take but a day or two. Unfortunately this old dog will probably have to learn new skills, which will take a lot longer. I always hate to replace my old stuff with new stuff. The new stuff always has more buttons for me to learn. I try to only learn the minimum amount I need to know, that way my brain doesn't have to get overloaded........!!! (G)

Friday, December 05, 2008


We're busy getting ready for the open house tomorrow. John attempted to put out some of the signs this afternoon. I looked out the window & saw something pink across the driveway, flopping up & down like a flag. I couldn't see what was making it move, so I decided to go out & check on it. Gus, (the picture above is him thinking about what to do next) had ripped one of the signs off where it was stapled & was trying to eat it. I had to pry the "treat" out of his mouth, before he finally gave up & let me have it. Guess that answers John's question about leaving the signs out overnight, huh? (G)

Tonight everyone will have to stay on the 10 acres, no Burroland. We will have to start feeding early in the morning to get everything done before 10am when the people will start coming. This morning John had to go round them up on Burroland. So since they see nothing wrong with wandering in at their leisure, they'll have to wander on 10 rather than 30 acres. Then dear darling Gus will have to go into a pen. We've decided that he will go in Chester's pen & Chester will go in with Tula. They've eaten together before when we had full pens, so that shouldn't be a problem. Gus is probably going to try to knock the pen down once he's thru eating, hopefully once the people start coming in, he'll be too busy helping to empty their cups of timothy pellets to destroy the pen. I just looked out & he had his head over the courtyard wall, trying to reach a poor little gardenia I've been trying to keep alive. I don't have the greenest thumb in the world, so the deck is stacked against it's long term survival anyway. Fortunately his neck is too short for him to reach it.

Hopefully lots of people will come out to see the donkeys. We think of it as a a chance for education. Many people have not been around donkeys & also a lot of people don't realize the need for rescue & sanctuary. Other people have or have had donkeys, & just want to get a donkey "fix". The kids especially enjoy the minis, & of course the minis love all the attention. So it should be a great week-end.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

We're busy getting ready for the Open House this Saturday & Sunday. The last few days have been sunny & warm, hope it stays that way. Last year was cold, windy & rainy. Needless to say it wasn't much fun for anyone.

We asked for help, from the volunteers out at Kartchner Caverns & have 3 couples that will come out. John & I could do it by ourselves, but it's a lot nicer to have others that can show groups around too.

Everyone seems to be in fine fettle & ready to perform their little tricks to get the people to feed them timothy pellets. Once they figure out that it's "show time" quite a few of them have their methods of getting people's attention. Max the horse plays a tune on his gate with his lips. Most of the donkeys just stick their heads thru the corral panels & stretch as far as they can with mouths open. Not the prettiest sight in the world, but the people seem to enjoy it. Two years ago Tula actually touched a woman's hand, which was quite special. She immediately took off (Tula not the woman) but we hoped it might be a break thru. I don't think so, she will probably spend the whole day in the far corner of her pen watching all the action which is her normal behavior.

We were going to try to put Gus & Chili in the same pen, but have about decided it probably wouldn't be a good idea. They are both competitive, especially when there is food involved. In such a situation they might start lunging at people's hands, with teeth nipping. Not good, especially with folks that aren't use to equines. So John is going to enlarge Chili's pen for the 2 days & they can each be in a pen by themselves, which should work out OK.

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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is Jenny & Cisco behind the tree staring at at the gate to Burroland wishing for it to open. If I had a wider lens I could have captured about a dozen others cooling their heels waiting & wishing for the same thing.

This morning we had to go over & run them back over here. There is so much browse over there, they see no reason to come over here & eat boring hay. And they certainly don't see a reason to stay over here during the day, just because we're too lazy to want to look for "lost" fly masks on an additional 20 acres.

Jack is perky & grumpy this morning, eager for his breakfast, & left us lots of poo piles to pick up, so I guess he's back to being Jack. Last night we had to give him some banamine which is an injection. Jack & I have had some real battles over me having the audacity to attempt to stick a needle in his body. Some injections have to be checked to make sure you aren't in a vein, but luckily banamine can be given IV or IM. We got him in our little homemade squeeze, & I tried putting the needle in first & then putting the syringe on it, which is what I usually do. To say it wasn't going well is an understatement. The first needle got bent to a 90 degree angle & I hadn't even put the syringe on it. John said why not just stab & inject all in one attempt. Couldn't go any worse I thought. We were doing this in the dark too, which added another dimension to the process. We've gotten good at holding flashlights in our mouths, without thinking about where they might have been. I stabbed, he jumped & squirmed, I moved with him & we got it done.

This morning he needed another shot. BUT I had an idea. We brought him home with the IV still in his neck, in case we needed to take him back to the clinic for more treatment. If he was OK this morning we were to take it out. But before I took it out, I put his banamine in it. Much easier........!!! (G)

For those of you that were children of the 1940's-1950's enjoy. For those of you that weren't you missed a great time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Well, well, well, this morning everyone except for BlackJack came over from Burroland & were waiting "patiently" for us to come out of the house & fix their breakfast. We'll see if it is a fluke, even Miss Tula was standing around waiting like everyone else.

Last night when John went out to let everyone out of their pens, Jack the mule hadn't eaten his supper, (very unusual behavior for him) & when John opened his pen he made a beeline for Rusty's pen, laid down & tried to roll. John came in to get me. My "WAG" was sand colic. He wasn't in a lot of pain, but seemed uncomfortable. John cleaned his pen, so we would know if he pooed or peed, we filled his water bucket & hoped this morning would result in a poo pile or two. He was still "off" this morning & no poo, so we spent the day at the vet's with him getting tubed with mineral oil & getting IV fluids. The vet's "SWAG" was also sand colic. Even though we put down a stall mat under his feed bucket, he throws his head around & slings food everywhere. Some of it goes off the mat, & he eats it, so I'm sure he gets sand & gravel in his system. We brought him home with the IV still in his neck, in case he isn't better tomorrow & we have to take him back for more fluids. If we don't need it I'll take it out tomorrow night. He's 26 years old, so we will watch him carefully & hopefully stay ahead of any big problems. He's a funny old guy, usually he is pretty hard to work with, uncooperative is an understatement. But we've noticed when he is sick or needs help he cooperates much better. One time he was 3 legged lame & I noticed he had a huge rock caught in one of his hind feet. John wasn't here, & I figured when he got home he would find me with my head kicked across the property. I tied Jack up, ran my hand down his leg, he lifted the foot & let me use a hoof pick to pry the rock out. And I got to keep my head.........!!!! On a normal day I would not try to pick up a rear foot on him. A trimmer tried one time & he exploded, we decided he didn't need his feet trimmed that bad.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Only had half the gang to feed, water & clean up after. John checked Burroland yesterday & the range cattle had done a good job of cleaning up all the mesquite beans. So last night after they ate, & got their fly masks taken off, we opened the gate to Burroland.

This morning John had to be in Tucson early, so I fed by myself. The horsey group was here, that is Max, Jack, Rusty, & Gus. Sha'ba stays in at night, Pepper was standing in his pen in the sun, Cheyenne, Justin & Lynn the minis were roaming around. Buddy Brat was even here, which was a surprise, he's usually where the action is. I fed the chickens, mix equine feed & kept an eye on Burroland. At one time I saw the rest of them, running to the gate. I thought, "Isn't that sweet, they are in a rush to come to breakfast", as they flew past the gate like it wasn't even there, headed east up into the big trees. BRATS!

So I fed the ones I had, & noticed that Pepsi, the other mini had thought better of rebellion & was standing outside the gate to his pen, when I brought the buckets. Not a sign of any of the other 9. Fed hay to the ones I had, & still no sign of the "wild bunch". So I closed the gate between Burroland & the 10 acres where the feed & water is.

It is now afternoon, I have checked on the gate often, & so far nothing. I'd think they would be getting thirsty by now, but obviously not enough to give up their freedom. Among the missing are, BlackJack, Cisco, Jenny, Buster, Lucy, Rocky, Chili, Chester, & of course Tula. I didn't see who was leading the herd when they were running, but I have a good idea. Ha!

It's probably a good thing, John wasn't here, or I probably couldn't have gotten away with being "Mean Momma". If I had insisted on closing the gate, he probably would have been going over there with buckets of water, so they wouldn't suffer. Poor babies!

Monday, October 27, 2008

For now I guess Tula has decided there is nothing to gain by staying out of her pen until the last minute. The last couple of days, she & Chester have been in their pens when it's time. I'm sure the subject will come up again, but for now I'm happy & she is willing to wait.

As of this morning I'm trying to wean Chester off his antibiotics again. I've tried 2 or 3 times & his limping has always gotten worse. If I have to give him antibiotics the rest of his life that's OK, but I don't want to give them if he doesn't need them.

I'm not sure but I think we caught Momma mouse last night. This morning there was a larger, very pregnant mouse in the trap. I'm glad we caught her before she "dropped her load" in the feed room. John put her in the chicken pen, there's feed & water & plenty of places to build a nest, as long as she stays out of sight of the chickens. They can really treat mice harshly, if they catch them. I hope there aren't anymore mice, but unless she had an immaculate conception I would imagine there is at least one more in the feed room. The feed room is concrete block, & John fixed the door where we thought they could get in. So we are hoping IF & that's a big if we can catch all the ones in there now, the problem will be solved. I think we caught 7 little ones total.

The last few nights I noticed a wolf spider in our bathroom by the night light trying to catch something to eat. Right now as cool as it is at night there isn't much moving around. Yesterday John caught a small cricket. I put the spider & the cricket together in a jar last night & the cricket disappeared. Unfortunately there aren't that many crickets around.

My friend Sybil that runs the Oasis Sanctuary Exotic Bird Sanctuary, also has lots of other types of animals including reptiles. I e-mailed her & she brought a couple of crickets this morning when she brought the weekly carrot supply for the donkeys. I found a wolf spider when I was doing laundry, not sure if it is my spider or not. I put it in the cricket cage, & immediately had one less cricket......!!!! By spring I may have a lot of wolf spiders "on the dole" at this rate. John is going to Tucson tomorrow, one of his stops will be a pet store for more crickets.......!!!! OBTW, I named the spider Sybil. Syb has a turkey she named Tish after me, so it seemed only fitting that I return the privilege.

Friday, October 24, 2008

John had to be in Tucson this morning by 7:45, so I got to be in charge of feeding..........!!!! Yippee! Everyone was pretty good about showing up & going where they are suppose to, except for.................Tula & Chester.......!!! Big surprise. I pressed on with feeding chickens & mixing up equine breakfasts. As I headed down the row of 6 pens with feed buckets, towards the middle, where those two are suppose to be, here they came, almost running in their pens. As soon as Tula got in hers, she turned around & brayed at me. I guess we're playing some kind of game, I'm just not smart enough to figure out the rules...........!!!! (G) John won't be home in time to help feed tonight, so we'll see how that goes. They get very impatient when there is only one of us feeding.

Gus is feeling pretty good today, & hardly limping at all. He got up on the feed room porch this morning& also squabbled with a couple of the others about wisps of leftover hay, so I guess he's on the mend. I'll miss our "poor poor Gus" sessions, he was actually loving & loveable, but wouldn't even stand still for me to put his fly mask on this morning. Oh well, I'm just glad his knee is OK.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Courtney didn't make it out yesterday to trim. She will try to come Sunday. I hope so, I have a rather long list of feet needing to be looked at and/or trimmed. Most of them usually take care of their feet running around on the gravel & sand except for the ones that have been foundered. Right now Buddy Brat has a big hunk of hoof missing & Max the horse has vertical cracks on both front feet. When Courtney comes out, she always works on Chester as much as she can. He can't stand on 3 legs because of the damage to his elbow, so it's rather "hit & miss". Right now the heel on that foot is REALLY high. If she can't get it trimmed, we'll probably have to haul him into the vet next time she comes, so he can be put on the ground. Although he can't put weight on that leg, so the other 3 feet can be worked with, I've tried to work with him, to at least lift that foot, so it could be trimmed. He does pretty good, but he won't hold it up long enough to trim it properly, at least not yet. I've thought about training him to lay down so he could be trimmed, but I'm not sure how to do it. Sure would make it easier on everyone involved if we could figure it out.

Gus is walking much better today. It turned out to be his knee not the fetlock. He's being a big baby about it, I make over him & talk about "Poor Poor Gus got a sore leg", & he lifts that leg, so I can rub it. Since he's been hurt, he's even managed to get John to bring him his carrot down in the wash where he stays at night. When John goes out to let everyone out of their pens at bedtime, Gus starts "woofing" from the wash, & John hand delivers his carrot. Sure doesn't take long to get the humans properly trained I guess..........(G)

Tula, & Chester have figured out a new way to try my patience. Tula has always waited to go into her pen to be fed. She is always the last one in. Chester usually goes in with the others. But since he runs with her most of the time, he's now decided to stay out with her. Recently she was waiting until I carried out the buckets before showing up. But the last few days, both of them have not showed up until the buckets were emptied & the hay was being delivered. So I made a decision that if I emptied their buckets & had gone into Rusty's pen which is next in line, they would have to wait to go into their pens until I brought the "Roach Coach", i.e. the golf cart with hay wagon in tow. The last 2 feedings went that way, they had to cool their heels outside their pens, until I decided to open the gate & let them in. Boy you talk about an unhappy donkey............Tula yelled & screamed, I'm sure obscenities in donkey language because she had to wait until, I a mere human, opened HER gate. Chester just stood there looking confused. Tonight, I had already dumped both of their buckets & was headed to Rusty's pen, probably within 3 or 4 steps of actually touching the gate, when they both showed up...........!!! Grrrrr! I'm sure she doesn't know the new rules.......but it sure seems like she's read my mind. We'll see what tomorrow morning is like.........!!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Yesterday Gus & Chili got into a "it's my hay" battle. Actually it wasn't much of a battle, since both of them would rather do something else than fight. But in the melee' Gus ended up 3 legged lame. It seems to be a fetlock, no swelling or cuts, so although he doesn't want it messed with or won't put much weight on it, I'm assuming it isn't really bad. But to keep everyone safe & sound, John set up a small pen for Chili to eat in for awhile. So far he thinks it's fun, hopefully we won't leave him in long enough to get bored. When he gets bored his fertile little brain goes into overdrive, & it's amazing what he can think up.

Courtney is coming out Wednesday to do some trimming, so I'll pick her brain about Gus, while she is here. I think she will be very pleased with how good Jenny's feet look. Although I don't know what the inside of her feet look like, they look almost normal outside & she walks really good.

For most of the summer Pepper has shown very little interest in eating. He would leave most of his hay & sometimes wouldn't even touch his soaked beet pulp & timothy pellets. About a week ago, he decided not only is the hay pretty good, but he is eating the soaked stuff like it's REALLY good. Every feeding I'm adding more stuff to his bucket & he's licking the bucket clean. He's even losing the frail look that had me worried about how he would do this winter. He's not fat, but at least he seems to be headed in the right direction. I have no idea why the change, but I hope it continues.

This morning John brought sacks of feed to the feed room & left the empty sacks in the golf cart to go back up to the garage. When I let the minis out, they came out like little vacuum cleaners, as usual. I came around by the feed room, & there was Lynn with the pull string & accompanying paper, hanging out of her mouth & rapidly disappearing. I grabbed her & she tried to run off. Thank heavens she's a mini & decided to give up fairly quickly. Well give up is not exactly what she did.........but I managed to pull it out of her mouth, & not get stepped on or knocked down.

I'll be glad when fly season is finally over. Our supply of fly masks is dwindling. They get used as toys which cuts down on their longivity, not to mention the ones that get lost, some of them permanently. We don't know how that happens, but there are two missing that we haven't been able to find.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Couldn't say it better myself, why would anyone do it this way?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NOW THEY'VE GONE & "DUN" IT..........!!!

Who am I talking about..............Chili & Gus of course..........!!!! This morning Sybil came by to drop off a bag of carrots. She picks up produce every week for her exotic bird sanctuary & picks up carrots for my gang too. She came in for a cup of tea & we were catching up on gossip. John went out, came back in & yelled that he needed help. Sybil has a pick-up with an open bed, where she carries all the produce for over 600 birds. Gus & Chili were the only 2 out, everyone else were in pens eating breakfast. As it is they got into the carrots, ate 2, apples ate 6 & dribbled apple mush down the side of her pick-up. Bananas, don't like bananas, although they did squish 2 bunches of them, for fun I guess. Bags of frozen peas, were fun to open & spill on the ground. Tomatoes weren't even worth squishing, guess they are yucky to donkeys. Thank goodness everyone else were in the pens or it would have been a really big mess. As it was it was irritating with some damage. As an animal person, Syb just shrugged her shoulders as she was laughing.

We have caught 3 teeny tiny little mice the last 3 nights in the feed room. These little guys must just be out of the nest, they are about an inch long. I'd like to think the Cadbury chocolate I used was irresistible, but it had been in the live trap a couple of days before they showed up. Obviously Mother isn't a chocolate lover. She's the one I need to catch, before she goes out & find another boyfriend................!!! Or maybe she already has one & he's also living in the feed room. EEEEEkk!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Yesterday was a cloudy, blustery, rainy, day with some hail thrown in for good measure. Not what we expect this time of year. The wash even ran again.

We were going to Tucson last night, so everyone had to stay in their pens yesterday. Actually it worked out well, usually when it rains they are out running around & have never learned to head for the shelters. During one of the rain squalls I decided to go out & let Pepsi in with the other 3 minis. He eats by himself, so we can control the amount of hay he eats. But his shelter is just a roof. We tried putting sides on it & someone started eating the boards. It wasn't Pepsi but someone else that went in when the gate was open, who shall remain nameless, we never caught them. Although we did catch Buddy Brat, gnawing on the 2 x 4's in the roof.

Of course it was raining & blowing when I ran out, slopping thru the water sheeting across the property. Got to his pen, opened it up, & he ran into the shelter with the other minis. I knew he was a smart little fellow....!!! Just at that moment the hail started. There wasn't room in the shelter for me, so I RAN for the porch of the feed room. At least on the porch I didn't have to "stand" in water while waiting for it to be over. It just lasted a few minutes, but it was a wild few minutes. When I finally managed to get back to the house, John said he looked out to try to figure out where I was, & it was raining so hard he couldn't even see the feed room, let alone bedraggled me standing under the porch roof.

Tula of course didn't go in her shelter, most of the others did. When the hail started Rocky had been in a shelter with Lucy, but he actually left the shelter to stand with his butt to the hail. I guess the noisy hail on the shelter roof, bothered him more than hail stones, pounding on him. Lucy stayed in the shelter, like I said a few days ago, she's not dense, she's a survivor.

Friday, October 10, 2008


For those that have often wondered how far they could go, to invite their animal friends into the family.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS DAY............!!!

THE GOOD NEWS: This morning while Max was waiting for breakfast to be served he got a little impatient & started prancing & air dancing. This from a horse that less than a month ago, I was thinking about his final resting place because he didn't know what his back legs were doing. I guess the 2 supplements the vet had me try are working. I'm sure he has extensive arthritis where his neck was broke, & as he gets older it will be more problematic. But as long as we can keep him comfortable, we're happy.

THE BAD NEWS: Also this morning Gus came in close to 3 legged lame, pointing a front foot & not moving unless he had to. I checked him from shoulder to bottom of foot, & only got minor reaction at the knee. But he really doesn't want to put any weight on it. He did manage to clamber up on the feed room porch to beg for anything I might like to give him. But when it came time to get off the porch, it was very painful to watch him move. I gave him a bute & turned him loose. Courtney that does my trimming, says unless there is a really good reason to keep them penned up when they have a problem, they are usually better off being able to move around. Haven't seen him since, he's moved away from the house, so I assume he's doing OK.

THE GOOD NEWS: Pepper ate all his soaked beet pulp & pellets, & also ate all of his hay. I can only assume there is very little left to eat on the property. He really prefers "wild" food. John's going to check BurroLand this week to see if the mesquite beans are rotted enough, so they won't eat them. If so, they can start going over there.

THE BAD NEWS: Buddy Brat is now being fed by himself for weight control. He's been here almost 8 years, & is a fat little guy. I've never been able to get the weight off him. His latest blood test showed he is insulin compromised, which can be "fixed" with diet, & a lack of sugar & starch rather than thyroid medicine. We've never completely isolated him at feeding time before. I'm hoping by feeding him a little less hay than he should have for his recommended weight, that he won't be able to find too much out there to supplement his diet. It certainly doesn't take him long to finish the paltry amount of hay we are giving him, & then he cries to get out with BlackJack & Cisco, his usual eating buddies. If this doesn't work, he will have to stay in the pens, relying solely on the hay we give him. That would certainly up the ante on crying & braying, I'm sure. He's always been very vocal if he thinks we are not letting them out of the pens in a timely manner.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Thanks Terry for sharing this

Could Your Hay be Killing Your Horse?

Yes, it could!

There could be toxic weeds lurking in it and you don’t even know it!

Here’s our horrible story….

On Friday, August 1st 2008, Scott and I purchased 5 bales of Bermuda hay from a hay dealer in Sahuarita. It looked like the perfect hay and we fed it to our horses. Everything seemed fine until the following Tuesday. I went out in the morning to feed and Cody (our very hearty trail horse) was lying down and in obvious pain. He didn’t want to eat or drink and had a very depressed look. Oh God, Colic!

I’ve seen colic many times in other horses but for some reason this time was VERY different. I checked his vitals and he was very dehydrated and now he was pawing at the ground. There was one point where he actually held his front leg up in front of him for at least a full minute. He kept his head down and looked as if he would fall over any second.

I called the vet and luckily Dr. Beers arrived at the house within a half hour. This looked really bad, even she thought so. She rushed the evaluation then administered a huge dose of morphine directly into his neck. He finally got some relief! We discussed the horrible option of putting him down right then but decided to try and save him with whatever we could do without going to surgery. At this point we had no idea what was really wrong with him as the term “colic” only means “abdominal pain” and could be caused by many different things.

He was so dehydrated that I.V. fluids were our only option, tubing alone would not hydrate him enough. So he took on 20 liters of saline solution in I.V. catheters on both sites of his neck (along with major doses of Banamine and Xylazine for the pain). Next came a nasal gastric tubing with mineral oil, water, and electrolytes just in case there was an impaction of some sort. Lastly came the dreaded full-arm rectal exam to also check for an impaction. Poor Cody, he just stood there quietly the whole time and took it.

You would think that after all that Cody would have started feeling a little better but he did not improve. We were at a point where there was nothing else to do but keep him comfortable and wait. So Dr. Beers decided to continue giving him I.V. fluids every 2 hours from then on and all during the night plus more Banamine. We continued that, every 2 (very long) hours all night. We dreaded going to the barn for fear of finding him dead. The morning brought no change and no desire to drink.

Wednesday was a long day, checking him every 15-20 minutes hoping there would be some improvement. Nothing! I racked my brain trying to figure out what caused this and as I fed the morning ration of Bermuda hay I noticed a clump of a strange looking dried weed in one of the flakes. It looked weird, almost like sage but with berries on it. I pulled it out and then sifted through the rest of the hay and found many small pieces throughout the whole bale. It was hard to see as the color blended right in with the Bermuda. Something told me to keep it and ask Dr. Beers what she thought of it.

Thursday Dr. Beers returned for another round of I.V.s fluids and gastric tubing. This time Cody urinated blood, a very VERY bad sign. Red flags went up all over the place and she suggested taking some blood and urine for testing. I asked her about the weed I had found but she did not recognize it.

Later that day Dr. Beers called with the testing results. All signs pointed towards some kind of toxin in Cody’s system and not a blockage as we had considered. His kidneys were still working but very “angry” as she put it. His body was really trying to fight something, but what?

My gut feeling told me that the cause had something to do with that weed I had found in the hay. After calling everywhere to find someone to help me, I finally got in touch with Dr. Glock at the University of Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory here in Tucson. He suggested that I send in the weed for identification, which I did that day.

He called me back a few days later and this weed turned out to be “Solanum eleagnifolium” (aka Nightshades, silverleaf nightshade, horse nettle) which is toxic to horses! Now we had an answer.

Scott called the hay dealer who sold us the hay to let him know what had happened (and to hopefully inform the grower of the problem) and the dealer’s responses were very concerning. There was no surprise or sympathy when Scott told him that his hay has a toxic weed in it and that it could kill a horse. He stated that “my horses don’t eat the weed when I feed them that hay, they leave it in the bottom of their feeders”. Implying that he knew there is a weed in the hay and that because his horses don’t eat it it’s no big deal.

Well it is a big deal, especially when you sell a product and that product is not fit for its intended use and could possibly KILL the intended! If this was dog or cat food there would be an uprising (as we have seen in the past). Another interesting response he gave us was that it was impossible for him to know where that hay came from. Right!

Since we got nowhere with the dealer I called the local livestock inspector to inform him of the problem and to see if he could convince the dealer to inform the grower (so the grower could spray herbicide or something). The inspector’s response was incredibly alarming. He stated that my expectations, regarding the quality of hay I feed my horses, were too high and that it’s basically “buyer beware”!

Again, shouldn’t a product be fit for its intended use? Is this too much to ask as a consumer be it horse feed or baby food? It’s just plain crazy to say the least!

It was 10 days after the first sign of colic that Cody started to visibly improve. He did not want to eat any hay for weeks afterwards. I think he knew it was the hay that had made him sick. Now, almost 2 months later, he’s almost back to pre-illness weight and thankfully he’s getting back to normal. We are really lucky he’s a strong horse!

Our purpose in telling you our story is to hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else. It really doesn’t matter where the hay came from but that ANY hay you feed your horses could contain a potential killer.

Please look your hay over before feeding it. You don’t have to literally sift through it but look over both sides of the flake before tossing it into the feeders. It could save your horses life!

Scott, Christine and Cody Guinane
Vail, Arizona