Getting It Done

Friday, August 06, 2021 —(In 16 days, August’s full “Sturgeon” moon will rise nearest to earth.)

Pimmy is a great pet. She loves above all else being with her horse buddies and receiving food treats. As for being with me, she’s gentle, kind, and smarter than any horse. As for myself, never near a live donkey before she arrived unexpectedly (long story), Pimmy’s the best.

My lead mare, Rosie, makes sure the younger mare, Sunni, knows who’s boss. Rosie refuses to let Sunni share her food, makes sure Sunni’s always a few feet away and undemanding. Sunni doesn’t care. Her middle-of-the-pack temperament allows Rosie to be herself. Despite space rules, the two are family and mutually groom one another.

Equine relationships are complex.

Enter Pimmy, not quite a horse but savvy. She’s wheedled her way close to both Rosie and Sunni. She eats Rosie’s food, eats Sunni’s food, and squeezes into shelter or horse trailer with them. When I take the horses into the forest to ride, Pimmy follows loosely and dependably, wears bells that reassure she’s behind us.

A donkey thinks. For example, Pimmy sees no reason to trot endlessly in circles, or be subjected to repeated commands to do one uninteresting thing or another. Basically, Pimmy’s not easily trainable, nor easily exercised. Proved by a pot belly from all the hay and grass she freely consumes.

Pimmy needs work.

The header photo is of Pimmy being exercised. Daily, she’s hitched to the Gater and forced to trot, circling the dry lot for one mile. She insists on resisting through that mile. Although I can’t exercise her on a rope, she doesn’t win against the Gater. After she’s accustomed to the mile and her resistance eased, I’ll extend her trotting distance. Hoping to reduce her belly fat.

Another hope is training Pimmy to drive. Someday, and surely very different from training a horse to drive.

Also, from yesterday, a beautiful sight.

Hay is very expensive this year. Farmers’ yields are very low because of this season’s crazy weather, wildfires, and drought conditions. My hay supplier doled portions to his customers. I felt lucky to get one, although less than desired. Fortunately, I’ve hoarded over previous years and have enough hay for my animals through the winter.

For next summer, it’ll be important to find multiple sources for hay. If the yields again are low, feeding large animals becomes a brand new ballgame.

Dear Friends: Ongoing routine rancher challenges, housing, feeding, and managing large animals. Diana

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