Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The End of the Cold War

I've seen a few hints here and there over the past few weeks along with a couple of tentative overtures and then, yesterday, Ben and Albert finally decided to be buddies.  It took 18 months for Ben and Ramsey to be friends, but only half that for these two.  Definite progress:)

Donkeys do things in their own time and their own way, and there is no way to change that and let them still be donkeys.  It may not seem like a big thing to us, but a change in the herd is a big deal them.  The only thing we can do is make sure that they have all the things they need to be healthy and happy - food they don't have to fight over, enough space that the they never feel crowded, a shelter they feel safe and comfortable in and time enough to learn that they can trust all of it.  We could probably end all wars if we could figure out how to give those few things to everyone.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Baby Unicorn

I got some baby pictures of Bill's new unicorn from yesterday's post...

All she needs is a horn...and probably a good fly mask and some sunscreen:)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

When Unicorns Come Calling...

A friend of mine has been on the lookout for a new horse for about two years now.  He has my old mare, Suki, who is 30 this year and Sprinkle (the appy) who is probably 20(?).  He wanted to find a young horse (preferably a morgan or morgan cross) to work with and take along on long distance trail rides.  Suki is in great shape and still loves to go out for walks and short excursions, but she has slowed down and is not up to 16 mile rides anymore. 

This horse shopping thing has been super a bit frustrating for me because when people ask for my help, I get right on it and never know what to do when they don't keep up.  This has been more of on-again/off-again thing where I get a random ad sent to me or I send something to him, but nothing ever happens.  I'd give up for months at a time and then, boom, a bunch of new prospects would show up in my inbox.  I'd  find one I like and say, "hey, check this one out".  Then I'd get the time, second shed isn't finished, too far, wrong color, gotta buy more hay.....

Most frustrating horse shopping EVER!

I try to be understanding because it is a big decision and I can dither as well as anyone.  I am super good at dithering.  However, once I finally do make a decision, shit starts happening!  It may take me two years to decide to buy a horse or build a house, or buy new boots, but once decided, it's gonna happen come hell or high water.

So, couple nights ago, I stumbled on a horse I really liked and I just knew this was the right horse.  She is a five year old mare, the sire is a purebred Morgan named Amberfields Desperado with a solid reputation for making nice, sound, babies with sweet, even temperaments.  The mother was a Cleveland Bay/Canadian Sporthorse cross.  This mare has had a good foundation in ground work, but has not been started under saddle.  Since longevity, soundness and distance riding are important here, I like that, she has been allowed to grow before being worked hard and this is a great cross.  I liked everything about this horse except for her color, but that is like complaining about a unicorn being too white (actually, I like the body color, but not the blue eyes and pink nose, but that is just me). 

Every time I've had a feeling like this about a horse it was dead on and has never failed.  Every time I have tried to talk myself into or out of it, it was a disaster.  I saw this horse and just had that feeling so I sent it right off to Bill then, just to be sure, I sent it through messenger too.  I dreamed about her that night and the next morning I sent another message.  I got back a lack of enthusiasm that made me want to reach through the computer and strangle the man.  The conversation eventually went something like this:

  Did you hear back about that horse?  Are you gonna go see her?
Oct 13, 7:47 PM
you must really like that horse. no haven't heard back yet. 
I do.  If I needed another horse I'd snap her up.
What don't you like about her?
don't have my shed finished yet. 
I find you a unicorn and you can't come up with a place to keep her!  It's like complaining that the gold on her horn is too shiny.  I give up.

It's a big decision
When you find a unicorn, you have to decide if you want to go adventuring or stay home.
talking to her now
Good.  I want a full report:)
alright i'm going to see her tomorrow. 
Good!  what is her story?
sounds nice. Older woman has her, originally wanted to keep her. 
but she's been slowly downsizing over the years. she has a stallion and another mare left
Bill • Oct 13, 8:51 PM
I hope you like her.  Let me know how it goes, I will be waiting to hear.  I am not a huge fan of creamello, but I have a good feeling about her.
I'm not a fan of the color either, but everything else sounds nice
I'm glad you are at least going to look at her.  She's been buzzing in my brain all day.  Good luck. 
Oct 13, 9:14 PM

You are a bad influence...πŸ˜‰

Thats me, a bad influence and proud of it!

Did you buy the unicorn????
Yes I did! πŸ˜
I KNEW IT!  What is her name?
HAHAHAHA!  What a name for a UNICORN.
She's a sweetheart. Young and untrained but I think she will do well
A month at the trainer's could do wonders.
She responded really well in the little bit of time I had with her. I think she will be a fast learner.
Gotta get her house finished....
Nothing like a bit of motivation:)  Congratulations!
1:45 PM
You'll have to visit her. Hope to get her next week.
Bill • 5:46 PM
Yeah, I'll have to get up there.  I'd like to see Suki and I want to meet the unicorn.  Are you going to change her name.
 2 new messages 
If I don't I'll never be able to look in her mouth....😜
 actually I don't know. I'll have to think about it.

Lots of enabling going on lately:)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

There Will Be Friends

Thank you all for the kind comments and good wishes for the new donkey in the neighborhood.  For those who are worried that he seems very alone, which he has been....he actually does have two other donkey companions (a gelding and a jenny) and two horses to hang with.  Or he will have.

Because he is not gelded, he is going to have stay separated until that can be taken care of.  The rest of the herd is in a pasture just 20 feet away so he can see them and he has gotten some supervised meeting over the fence.  The other two donkeys are very attached to each other and the gelding is rather possessive of HIS girl so intros are going to be slow and gradual. Once the new guy is gelded and there is no chance of making any unlooked for babies, he will go out with them and have friends.  By then they will, hopefully, have made friends over the fence and there will be no drama. 

The poor guy is very alone, but at least it is temporary here.  This is why stallions should be gelded unless truly worth breeding AND you can provide them with friends and room to move.  Too often, studs are confined to small lots all by themselves because they can't be out with others.  That is not a good life and it makes for miserable, frustrated, dangerous animals.  It is why studs have such a bad reputation.  You can't lock someone in a prison cell and constantly tease him with all the good things in life and expect to have negative repercussions.  This fellow, who is still nameless, will have a herd of his own soon.  And a name.  Feel free to leave suggestions:)

And, since the camera scared the new donkey and I have no more pictures of him - how about puppy pictures instead.  It rare to catch a Border Collie puppy sleeping so enjoy them while they last:)

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Proud Enabler

A few weeks ago, I got a call from my friend Dave.  He'd stumbled on a donkey who was in a very bad spot and he was thinking about going to get him.  He knew the donkey had badly neglected feet and was considered "feral" and....maybe he was hoping I'd talk him out of it.  I'm not sure. 

Some crazy lady had bought this donkey two years ago and put him in her round pen and he had been there, untouched, alone, with absolutely no shelter ever since.  She did at least throw some hay to him once a day (most days anyway) so at least he didn't starve. 

Being the proud enabler that I am, I told Dave that, of course, he should get the donkey!  As always, it wasn't that simple because the donkey was 4 hours away and couldn't be touched and the owner was crazy.....Things got complicated.  I got a couple more calls where I provided more enabling and time went by and we weren't sure what would happen and then - boom, here's the donkey! 

He showed up on Friday and the poor guy is just terrified of humans.  Dave has spent the past couple of days just quietly hanging out with him and, this morning, they finally made contact.  I was scheduled to go over and work on feet anyway and I also planned to spend time with the new guy.  He really is a very sweet, beautiful donkey without a mean bone anywhere.  He is just soooo scared.

Moving slow and offering lots of treats we were able to handle him a bit and show him that not all humans are bad.  We didn't want to stress him out, but we also wanted to try to clean his feet up at least a little so he could walk better and not be in pain.  I slipped him a bit of Dormosedan Gel, which is a sedative.  It works really well in cases like this if it is dosed and administered properly and carefully.  At a low dose, it takes the edge off and gives relaxation without making the donkey truly woozy.  If you work slow and careful, the donkey will remember what happened, but without the haze of fear.  It is a good way to start off if you can't take the time to fully earn trust first. 

With the help of a lot of treats, some good drugs, much sweet talk, and some massage, he let me pick up all of his feet and give them what may be his first ever trim.  I also got a good look at all his other parts and he does still have all of them despite being billed as a gelding.  This guy (who has never even been given a name - I think it is going to be Jessie, but that is not a 100% yet) has some minor surgery in his near future to fix that little problem.  Aside from that, he is a very well built, sturdy young donkey.  I guess his age to be about 4 1/2 -5.

Unfortunately, I don't have many "before" photos of his feet because I am having camera issues again and many of the before pics turned out black.  I did get a few taken mid-trim.  This is the bottom of a foot after 4-5 inches have already been cut off the toe. 
You can see where one of the side walls has begun to curl under and fold over the sole.

The whole foot is falling over sideways and, if left to continue like this, his entire hoof would have fallen over on its side.  Over time, this causes major damage to all the bones and ligaments of the leg. 

I trimmed the foot level to coffin bone inside the hoof and, within a couple of weeks this will straighten out and look level with the ground as well.  His leg and hoof need time to adjust to a normal stride.

Bad pic, but I hope you can see how much of this needs to come off.

Getting there...

 There are nice feet hiding under all that mess.

I probably could have taken another 1/2 inch off this toe, but this foot was one of the longest and I took about 6 inches off it.  It will need time to adjust and I didn't want to push our luck today.

A few more trims and these will be nice feet.

A few more weeks and this will be a very, very nice, sweet donkey and I am very happy to be an enabler for this.  This is what matters.