Tag Archives: Donkey

Dreamyard on Twitter

The weather is so dire at the moment, that a lot of horses and their owners are wishing wishing wishing for better living conditions and an end to the storms. I have been asking my friends in the ‘twitter herd’ for their wish lists over the festive season and their requests have given me quite a challenge!

There is no Harry Potter movie this Christmas, so here’s a test for all horse keepers, film makers, technological genii and wizards.

Some of our wishes are simple – rolling acres of old turf, free draining with no rye grass: great big gorse hedges for shelter and friends to share our space. There will, of course, be sufficient so that land can be rotated and rested, not to mention some hill land for the Shetlands and fatties to enjoy. The donkeys from Birmingham and the rehab boys at RSPCA Felledge have also requested a fine view.

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And it must only rain at night.

There will be various types of building including field shelters for the free spirits, barns for the community types and individual stables for the poorly and pregnant.

Ublah the Trakehner is a wise old bird and her list was very long! She asked for grills between stables so that nobody is isolated and off-road riding for the enjoyment of all.

What a brilliant track!

Arnie (The Fat Pony) was not alone in his request for a solarium. And Ruth included a photo of exactly the thing we have in mind.

Heat lamps

Tilly wants a mud patch, bless. I am sure she will share.

My old friends Oscar and Teddy share my preoccupation with food. This is where the magic and technology come into play. I think we can achieve Teddy’s automatic haynet filler with a coded microchip sewn into his rug and some awkward mechanical dangly things. Oscar’s grassy stable floor which regrows after it has been nibbled is quite another matter. To be honest, I think their worries will all be sorted by the daily work and turnout – in fact I would suggest they are turned out together.

After my friend Valentine’s warning this morning, all turnout rugs will be fitted with alarms. In the event of a thief attempting to remove a rug, huge floodlights will switch on and the deafening sound of galloping hooves will fill the air, alerting the staff to the misdemeanor.

The automatic drinkers and horse treat vending machines could also be worked with the clever microchips, but do bear in mind that the yard will have STAFF. They will never sleep and will be at our beck and call 24/7. I expect there will have to be some concessions to their comfort as well – hot showers and a Costa machine maybe and chocolate biscuits for when they are extra good.

The yard is right next to a beach and future plans include a wave powered hydro-electric system to run the heat lamps (no Arnie, we can’t put the Shetlands on a treadmill). I can confirm that Kauto Star, our most famous inmate, will have a flatscreen in his stable, so that he can relive his favourite triumphs.

Kauto Star

Future developments will include a true replica of Cheltenham Racecourse as well, so that Kauto can pose for the cameras whenever he likes. Provision of iPads for the donkeys is dependent on sponsorship from Apple apparently. The rest of us will be quite content with the actual apples, thank you.

I hope you approve of the interim plans for the Twitter yard. My own wish is that its doors will be forever open, if any horse, pony or donkey needs somewhere to go.

And once a year, just for a week, proper snow!

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Some more donkey thoughts

As Hannah, Chico and Florence make their triumphant return to Aberystwyth (1000 miles, Hooray!), I have been reflecting on my new donkey friends. I can see there is a lot to know about them, because they are not ponies like me, although they may be equine.

Good morning team!

Good morning team!

The thing is, those two donkeys are quite different and both deserve my respect for their enduring qualities. Chico is a ‘go to’ man, with a distinctly Mediterranean air about him. He is a big, rangy donkey with a long and steady stride. His coat is fine and shiny, as though he comes from a hotter country than this one. He wears a rain jacket because his coat contains no grease to keep him warm like mine does. Hannah weighs the luggage carefully so that his pack is always properly loaded and he carries it with ease. He likes to meet new friends and is always up for an extra carrot, but then he walks again. He knows his job.

Florence joined the team near the end of their walk. She is a traditional British looking donkey with a thick coat, well-designed to protect her from the elements. She has taken to walking really well and seems very interested in each new experience. I am sorry to say that she did NOT appreciate my showing off, and turned her back when I pranced about. But we share a quality – our skill in PR. Flo is definitely the donkey diplomat of this pair. She greets new people with affection and prettily pricked ears, and endures any amount of hugging and admiration, carrots or not.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Hannah is lucky to have found two such interesting friends to share her journey. I hope I will see them again one day.

Donkey Walking

is my new favourite thing! On Friday, I set out in the rain to meet Hannah and Chico, he is the famous Seaside Donkey. Hannah and Chico, by the time I met them, had already walked 960 miles around the perimeter of Wales. They were now on the home stretch; I had never met a donkey, so I joined them for the day on their walk. They have used the coastal path where possible, but today, I needed to show them the bridleways, because the path has stiles.

First off, I brought them back to my place for a coffee stop and a rest – they had just climbed one of our famously steep hills from Tresaith to here.

Hannah is loading Chico's saddle.

Hannah is loading Chico’s saddle.

After an hour, and lunch for the donks and me, we set off for Llangranog (I wore my poppy today, to remember all the brave horses who suffered in the name of freedom). DId I mention that Chico and Hannah had gained a donkey only the day before? They met Florence at a camp site and decided to take her back to Aberystwyth with them (she has never been there).

Briefing the donkeys about the route

Briefing the donkeys about the route

As long as we are off the road, Chico is allowed off the lead rein. He is an old hand at walking and would follow Hannah anywhere. Florence is new to this game – this was only her second day! While Hannah bothered with her, Chico was quite happy to follow me. Brainy guys, these donks.

On our way up the lane we passed Paula and Hari. I don’t think they had seen a donkey before either!

What on earth are they?

What on earth are they?

The rain continued, and Hannah was busy on her phone, sorting out her accommodation for the night. This is a great and simple freedom, just walking with donkeys and ending up somewhere different each evening.

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Mum, bring me some dry pants please!

Negotiating the steep Parish Road down to Penbryn was easy for me and the donkeys, but entailed a bit of swearing from others about the muddy bit. When we got to the beach car park, the Cartws Cafe was open and they treated the muddy ones to a drink. We said ‘Hi’ to a few fans and moved steadily on our way.

How are we doing, donks?

How are we doing, donks?

Next was the best bit. We found a path up the hill and through the trees!

What a brilliant track!

What a brilliant track!

Then Hannah said she wanted to lead me –  she is not familiar with pony walking. I was pretty well behaved, all things considered. I like Hannah; she and I have a lot in common – we both have positive mental attitude.

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

Hannah and I (I am NOT a donkey)

We are both good walkers as well. Quite soon we were well ahead of her and the donkeys, but fortunately, they managed without us.

We don't hang around, Han and me.

We don’t hang around, Han and me.

I think she was having a bit of a daydream actually. I could hear her rabbiting away to both donkeys, like she does. It’s a lovely gentle thing to do, is donkey walking.

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Sally is in charge of the donks for a while

Soon we reached the turning onto the lane to MaesyMorfa, where Hannah and the donkeys were going to stay the night. I set off for home, because it would soon be dark.

I met a new friend on the way home!

I met a new friend on the way home!

This was the furthest I had ever walked in my life and I had the best time! She always comes to see I am OK, late in the evening when we have had a day out. That night, she brought a carrot and she said she was proud of me. Well, I can understand that.