New fence and gate

I have spent three entire days now in the donkey field, working on fencing and now patching up the stable. It is a great opportunity to observe my lovely animals for hours at a time. While I have been working in school every day, I have only seen them in the mornings and evenings. What they get up to during the day has been largely a mystery. Now I have observed the pattern of their day, it seems to involve a great deal of play. They do stalking games, creeping up on each other and sneaking a bite on a leg or neck, then running away and being chased! They explore the fencing looking for weak points. (Nightmare! This looks like POW behaviour in Stalag Luft III. Thank goodness they cannot build a wooden horse.) But mostly, they do rolling in the dust for amusement. At last I have discovered where the mysterious leg abrasions happen!

Having groomed Rubi after breakfast today and inspected her legs for injuries, there was just a surface wound from several days ago that I treated with iodine and is now healed. Then she had the mid-morning rolling session in the dust. This involves a good deal of kicking out horizontally. (Note the fat belly… this is time for a diet.) The dust rolling is accompanied by loud grunts and groans. I have learned to stand clear of the flying hooves, having once got too close and came away with a bruised shin! Now watch the standing up procedure.

All that weight (including the fat tummy) is now being pushed up by the back legs. Any stones or small rocks in the dust will be the cause of those abrasions. Sure enough, on inspection shortly after the dust rolling, Rubi was bleeding from an abrasion on her rear left leg, right on the knee joint that was the contact with the ground in the push-up phase of the manouevre.

So, another job to be done… Get rid of any stones in the dust rolling area and fill it with soft sand. How did equines ever survive several million years without our help?

‘Put that camera away! This bit of the manoeuvre is really undignified.’

No, Rubi. Not quite so undignified as… Cows.


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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10 Responses to New fence and gate

  1. cherry says:

    Zut alors mon cher lapin! you are really a busy bee in the garden and with the donkeys – certainly beats EFL on an English summer school! Enjoy the long holdiay – you have richly deserved it, and …spare a little thoguht for us all over here ! En union de priere Cerise!

  2. karin says:

    She’s going to sue you for invasion of privacy! Poor dear!! Puhlease, stop with the pics…cause now the rest of us are rolling!!

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    Hello Cherry! EFL summer school in Canterbury, eh? I could have done with the work (and the evenings in the Olde Beverlie Inn afterwards!) but I am tied to the donkeys here now. I have six hours a week giving private English lessons to four pupils, starting tomorrow. Nice easy timetable, just Tuesdays and Thursdays. I can just survive the summer now… Next pay October!

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Karin, good to hear from you. Just read your thoughts on leaving Santiago. Lovely reflections, peregrina!

  5. Geert Bakker says:

    “All that weight – is now being pushed up by the back legs.”
    Did you ever see how cows do this and do you know why?

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    No Geert, I have not seen how cows do this. I presume, in this technological age we live in, that a range of cow support equipment can be purchased in reliable cow accessory shops. The video link shows that cows are surprisingly versatile. Tucking up the legs and bouncing on the grass is not something I have seen my donkeys doing, but – hey it’s the holidays – and after three glasses of Soberano, nothing would surprise me.

  7. Geert Bakker says:

    Pity! It has fascinated me nearly all my life why horses and cows do this differently! Anyone?

  8. Rebrites says:

    I think it´s because cows have all those hangy-down utters and appendages under there.

  9. Geert Bakker says:

    But… isn’t it an old habit from the times udders were still small?

  10. Frere Rabit says:

    What a bizarre theory! Pull the udder one.

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