October foalfest

A short video celebrating the foals. I’m trying to get the mothers and foals to mix for short periods, under supervision. It is not easy. Matilde and Rubi are very wary of each other. The remarkable thing at present is the way that the foals, Morris and Aitana, are aware of their mothers’ instinctive distance and the foals do not go near each other. They have not yet met, nor been within less than a few metres of each other. My next step will be to tie the mothers and introduce the foals to each other. That may encourage the mothers to become a little less suspicious of each other. Meanwhile, the fence goes up again as soon as I am away from them, as I cannot risk one of the mothers attacking or kicking the other’s foal. It has happened once already, just a light warning kick, but a real kick could be serious.

Update Thursday 6th October

See Marie’s comment below. I liked the picture she linked to, so I am including it here. The young Christ is on the donkey heading for Egypt. Giotto in Padova. Small ears on this donkey, probably for aesthetic reasons? Otherwise it could be Matilde.


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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15 Responses to October foalfest

  1. JabbaPapa says:

    hmmmmm, not sure about that plan tbh

    donkeys are herd animals, and this will all sort itself out anyway ; but the initial mother/foal bonding period in the weeks after birth is, as I understand things, extremely important for the mother, the foal, *and* the herd.

    OTOH I’ve no idea whatsoever how long this period should last with donkies ; but surely the sign of that would be that Matilde and Rubi might appear to be resuming something more like their normal arrangement towards each other notwithstanding the fence ?

    I’d ask around, to find out how long you should just leave them to their own devices…

  2. Rebrites says:

    what a fun video, it leaves me full of smiles. It is a bit more of “Moms keeping the camera man away from babies” than “babies,” but that is understandable. How soon will you need to halter the little guys?

  3. marie says:


    This is just a small internet gift for the new foals:

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Many thanks, Marie. I haven’t seen that Giotto before. It is in Padova and I am familiar mainly with the Assisi Giottos. (Although much work attributed to him is not by him, apparently.) Small ears on that donkey, but otherwise it could be Matilde. I’m putting it on the blog.

  5. RatBag says:

    Wow! Having been without communications for two weeks, I come home and discover that you have two foals!!! Many congratulations. They both look charming! I do hope that the war between Matilde and Rubi will calm down soon so that they can all be one happy family.

  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Excuse this if you know (probable) of this writer and his work already, but here goes.

    Please see (among other writings) Juan Ramon Jiminez’s ‘Platero and I’ (Platero y yo), about his love for his little donkey Platero.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Frere – I thought it would be so but wanted to pass the info your way. Now I’ve learned something too.

    And would we trade our literacy for illiteracy? No we never would. Would we amputate our legs for a wheelchair? We know what a world would be closed to us. Mind you with a donkey we could get around well enough. But hard to get on the beast of course. And if it ran off we’d be stumped.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In your July blog you wrote of the temptation of getting more donkeys.

    What about a donkey trekking centre? Then you could work for yourself and be with the donks each day, assing about in a life enhancing way, and turning away from pimply irritating yoofs.

    PS Why don’t you learn to trim their hooves yourself? Quicker and cheaper than ‘getting a bloke in’, and you’d do an equal or better job of it. Angle grinders are the way to go.

    Just musing….and does this word come from ‘muzzle’?

    Donkey Jote……………….(has this been done already?)

  9. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    How strange; I’ve become anonymous. Oh well!

  10. Frere Rabit says:

    “How strange; I’ve become anonymous.”

    No idea why it does that sometimes. I can’t change it either. It happened to Barbara and Karin as well earlier in the year. Odd things in this bog software. At least it’s not Disqus or we’d really be having a struggle…

  11. Luisa says:

    Probably the beast in Giotto’s painting is a mule.

  12. Frere Rabit says:

    Luisa, you are right that the animal’s ears look mulish! On the other hand, its white nose is very donkish! It’s an interesting question.

  13. Frere Rabit says:

    Maybe it was by a slightly uneducated apprentice of Giotto who thought the painting celebrated Muletide?

  14. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    You may love these young donks now, but just you wait till they stay out late and scream at you for nothing! And when they are interested in the opposite sex – well it’s hee haw to you and hello hormone fun! An asinine joke, I know.
    Vaya con dios to you and your ever increasing herd…..
    Don Qui?

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