Horses · Project Pack Donkey

My little donkey is coming back to me…

Remember my little donkey, Rusty? When I moved, he stayed at the barn where he was boarded because a friend of mine has grandchildren who fell in love with him and they wanted him to stay. They’ve been taking care of him since I moved, but he’s a young, rambunctious donkey and he needs a bit more of a job than he has there. I was able to arrange for him to join Baron at the barn here in NC, thanks to the very gracious barn owner.

One of my favorite pictures of all time- Rusty met Bitsy.

This weekend I’ll be driving 24 hours round trip to Atlanta and back to pick up Donkey. I have fostered quite a few equines, and helped them find permanent homes. Most of them I didn’t get too attached to, because I knew they weren’t meant to be mine long-term. Even with my drop dead gorgeous Belgian, Olaf, I didn’t have the feeling that I would keep him forever. But some of them become mine for good. Baron, my first horse, will always be with me. My mule Ellie was with me for a short time before she died, but I was committed to her until the end. And now it looks like Donkey and I are meant to be together.

Donkey is only 3 and he is full of energy and zest for life. He is the type that needs a lot of stimulation or else he becomes a bit of a pain. He needs a job!

Many, many donkeys and mini horses live out their lives in pastures as pets or lawn ornaments. Some of them are perfectly content with that, but in my experience, they are very clever little equines, probably more clever than horses, and they appreciate having a purpose. I’ve had 4 little guys (2 mini horses and 2 donkeys), and they’ve all been easy to train because they enjoyed the mental stimulation and looked forward to the training (probably because treats were involved!).

I trained Rusty to hike with me and carry a little pack. It was empty most of the time because he’s still basically a baby and shouldn’t be carrying a lot of weight, but he got used to wearing it and it gave our walks a sense of purpose. I’ll hike with him here too. There are miles of trails behind the barn for us to explore.

Rusty on a hike wearing his pack.

I’m also very excited to take him to the beach for the first time. He used to wade into the creek at the old barn, so we’ll see how close he wants to venture to the ocean. Baron still wants absolutely nothing to do with the ocean, but I’m hoping that will change once it gets hot. Maybe he’ll realize it’s a great way to cool off. Who knows how Rusty will react, but it will be a fun challenge to see if I can swim in the ocean with my donkey!

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