What did everyone get up to on the weekend? I had quite an interesting one.
I was at home with my parents, being molly-coddled by my Mum, who insisted on applying witch hazel to my bruises and strains, and painkillers at every opportunity. Turns out she had an ulterior motive – I had to move plant pots and look after her friend’s horses.
On Saturday afternoon I had a bit of downtime so went to visit a friend, who lives on the side of a Welsh mountain in a small holding. The views are stunning, and we walked the dogs around the Punch Bowl before going to see the equines.
We have a story here. When I was drifting around having left school with no direction or ambition, I was introduced to this lady who had two ponies on the verge of laminitis. One was rescue so couldn’t be ridden, but the other one was quite capable of doing some work.
So I went there three times a week and lunged, schooled in the field, and hacked this pony. It was a massive learning curve for me; being asked for advice, having minimal facilities, having to source and fit tack, instruct someone on how to lunge and give basic riding lessons. I really enjoyed this new found responsibility and have always kept in touch with this lady.
Anyway, since I stopped riding the pony my friend has acquired a young donkey. He’s now three years old and ready to start his working life. Not that his working life will be particularly arduous, but his mind needs occupying.
He is now leading well, stands to be groomed and have his feet picked out, and has had the bridle put on a few times.
My job on Saturday was to check the bridle and make sure it was comfortable and well fitting.
It’s strange, fitting tack on a donkey. I mean, the basic premise is the same, but a donkey has huge ears to fit under a headpiece, a deep jaw, wide forehead, and a tiny mouth. But with a bit of tweaking the bridle fitted nicely, and he looked very smart!
Can donkeys get canker? The farrier visited last week and thought it was canker, but as he didn’t know if donkeys can get canker he wanted to ask some farrier friends and return to treat the hooves, which don’t seem to hurt him. A photo is below, please feel free to tell me about donkey foot care.
Another thing we looked at, were the donkey’s teeth. I was looking for wolf teeth, but instead found the tip of his corner incisor (the last incisor to grow) just breaking through the gum. Which can lead us to a whole new topic about teething!
Next time I go home it will be interesting to see how this donkey is getting on with his education. Again, if any donkey enthusiasts have any hints on long reining donkeys, or tips to train donkeys then please let me know!