Donkey outing

It is hot sunny weather this weekend. At last, a taste of spring. I could not separate Rubi from Matilde to walk to Finestrat, so I took a chance on it… I went out with both of them. Big mistake.

Rubi was tied on a close lead to Matilde’s pack saddle. We went up the hill to Finestrat without difficulty, then continued to Brian’s stables to pick up some feed. On the return through Finestrat, I stopped for a pint of beer and the light began to fade.

When it was time to go, the donks decided to work to union rules and would not walk another step, since night time is for sleeping and eating, not for walking. I was stuck!

My phone battery usefully died too! I had friends nearby who could have assisted, but I could not phone them. There was no alternative but to drag Rubi into a nearby park, using Matilde as a towing truck, and just stay there for the night.

Luckily for them we had donkey feed in the bags and water in the park. For me, nothing. My supper was defrosting pointlessly at home…

As soon as it gets dark, the temperature drops rapidly here in the foothills of the mountains. I was shivering on the park bench, wondering if I wopuld survive the night, and a man from a neighbouring house, overlooking the park, thankfully spotted the problem and brought me a mattress, pillow and blanket! People can be so kind sometimes.

I walked Matilde and Rubi home this morning, after yet another fight to get Rubi to go round a bend in the road that she took a dilike to, and wasted another half an hour of tugging. When I got home I discovered she has some grazes on the back legs from being pulled by Matilde and sliding along the tarmac a couple of times.

Help! How do you show donkeys how to walk? Sulky Rubi simply doesn’t want to know.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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5 Responses to Donkey outing

  1. Barbara says:

    Oh dear. I haven’t walked a lot at night with Dalie, only Father Christmas trips round the village, but it wasn’t a problem. You might try Rubi with a bridle and blinkers, give you a bit more control, and what she can’t see won’t worry her. Er, and a thin stick that will sting her, like a riding crop only longer. Forget what it’s called in english. Not brutal, just a light tap on her behind.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Thanks for those suggestions, Barbara. In fact, on Sunday during the struggle to get Rubi to get moving in a homewards direction, I did pull a branch off a tree and make a stick to ‘encourage’ Rubi to move. That’s how we finally got home at the end of a very long and cold night! But I have felt guilty all week for using a stick on my pretty little donkey and feel ready to be hauled up before a tribunal in the Hague…

    It’s like putting kids in detention at mid-morning break, here in Spain. They’ve had no breakfast before starting school (thanks to an odd breakfast culture), so they turn up with their wrapped sandwich at 11 o’clock detention and sit looking at it during their writing of lines. (“I must bring my dictionary to English.” “I must not swat Paco with my exercise book during silent reading.” “I must not tell lies about the guinea pig eating my homework.”) Meanwhile, of course, I sit at my desk – missin g my morning break, but feeling guilty for starving the children!

    And the same with donks. If I hit Rubi with a stick in order to make her comply, I will suffer more. But it works. You said to smack Rosie on the nose if she bit me… I’ve done that with Rubi for three months now. She stopped biting in the past few days. She now licks my ear and I don’t have to worry about losing it!

  3. Barbara says:

    Fraid that’s the way it is……BTW, could you let me have a photo of Mathilde wearing the pack saddle minus the bags? Something looks a bit odd about the way the breast band is placed, but I can’t really see with the bags in the way. Courage! All will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, I’ll take a photo of Matilde with the pack saddle as soon as the weather improves. We have serious rain and high winds this week! Have you seen the photo on the earlier post, with Matilde wearing pack saddle, no bags? Is the breast band too high?

  5. Barbara says:

    Hi. Looking at the earlier photo it seems OK, but on the photo of Mathilde pulling Rubi it seems on the high side. Prolly becos it’s being pulled? I’m thinking that Rubi needs to go out on her own, certainly Rosie does better without Dalie. I’m about to try Rosie with the cart, and will do it at the riding stables in the ring. She had a week there when I walked Dalie and it does seem to help to separate them from time to time. Best wishes!

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