Cute but Clueless
(That would be both of them.)
Going somewhere fun this weekend? We're staying put!
Disclaimer: There were no baby donkeys harmed during this real life training session, though a hunky farmguy may have been slightly humiliated—and if not, he surely is by now.
As you've probably figured out, nobody around here has any experience teaching donkeys how to lead. Wear a halter, yes. We have mastered that trick, though not on the entire herd. I did slip the neat new quick release halter we've been using on Gus (which was really inexpensive, touted as something like 'great for even sly animals!' and backordered almost as soon as the vet supply company offered it up for sale) on Evie the other day just to see if I could, since she probably hasn't worn one since this glamour shot was taken back in 2008. (Was she stylin' or what?) Halter success! Even after all these years. The two of us stood there in the sand field looking very professional and accomplished and feeling totally proud of ourselves, but of course I couldn't get her to budge an inch. Since I didn't actually need her to go anywhere, I simply took it off and scratched her neck and ears for a while instead.
I know there are some of you out there cringing right now at the thought of all these untrained equines running around on the loose, but it's really not as bad as it sounds. Unfortunately donkey training always seems to fall below something far more pressing on the farm, like working sheep, or working sheep, or—I don't know—working sheep. That's not really all we do, though sometimes it feels like it.
For years we've relied on the old 'addicted to treats and you can lead them anywhere' approach, which works extremely well for pretty much every critter on the farm. (You'd be amazed at what I can talk Joe into doing with the promise of a couple loaves of salted onion rye bread or a batch of lemon meringue tarts.) I never said we were anywhere near perfect around here, and I feel better letting you know how things really are, rather than making it seem like we lead some fairy tale idyllic farm existence. Not even close. I mean, we live in a falling down shack and decorate our living room with dirty laundry.
We do try our best, and it's not as if we're going to saddle up the donkeys and ride them, or attach them to a little pull cart or anything. I'm sometimes still surprised by the fact that we even have all these donkeys (current count: seven). I knew nothing about them, let alone ever imagined myself owning one (or seven!), until that fateful call from the donkey peddling cowboy all those years ago. But now these loving longears have stolen my heart, and I can't imagine life without them.
The good news is that thanks to some very helpful tips from kindly Farmgirl Fare reader and equine expert The Japanese Redneck, our next baby donkey training session should prove to be a lot more productive than this one. It probably won't be nearly as funny, but we might actually get somewhere. Maybe someday we'll even convince little Gus to pull a cart. I have no idea why we would need him to, but I bet it would be really cute.
Want to see more of the little Gus man?
7/31/10: Finally, Some Happy News
8/12/10: Oh Gee, It's a Boy
8/15/10: Meet the Dog Day
8/25/10: Jealous Little Guy?
8/30/10: Attack of the Killer Baby Donkey?
9/7/10: Heading Back
9/10/10: Catching On
And my hunky farmguy?
3/26/06: I Told You Sheep Have No Manners
7/21/06: Joe Saves Lindy the Chicken
7/14/07: In the hay. Be back soon.
11/14/07: Ram Lamb Transport (one of my all time favorite photos)
12/4/07: Just Another Day at the Office
2/3/08: Handyman Special
6/19/08: Back in the Hay Days (Already?)
6/28/08: A Slight Haying Delay
6/29/08: Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
6/27/09: One Hot Guy in Hay Cutting Hell
7/1/09: A Day in the Hay
1/27/10: Man at Work
5/29/10: In the Circle of Hay
5/31/10: Bringing in the First Hay
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