Donkeys meet the farrier

Today was the long-dreaded moment when my four donkey scoundrels had to submit their hooves for trimming. I had waited quite a long time for the long-promised visit from an English friend, a barefoot hoof expert who lives nearby, but he has been unable to visit due to health problems. Meanwhile the donkeys hooves were getting beyond the length that was safe for healthy equine feet. The photo below was the worst example, rear left hoof of Matilde.
Not knowing any local farriers apart from my friend who has been unable to come, I did not want to take pot luck because a poor farrier could cause untold damage, so I went to see my equine vet Alicia and she recommended Cristian, a farrier (herrador) who comes out from Alicante to do horses and donkeys locally. When I said that Matilde would probably be a problem, Alicia reassured me that Cristian will not take any nonsense from a donkey…

Cristian the farrier (not taking any nonsense from Matilde)

Cristian the farrier (not taking any nonsense from Matilde)

We began with Matilde and did three hooves before she put up any resistance and decided that was enough. Then Cristian had a battle to lift up the last (right rear) hoof and we ended up having to tie a rope to lift the leg, with Matilde kicking dangerously.
The left hoof of Matilde after trim (compare with photo at the top - same hoof). A very neat job by Cristian.

The left hoof of Matilde after trim (compare with photo at the top – same hoof). A very neat job by Cristian.

Three curious pairs of eyes and long ears watched the whole performance from the other end of the field. Their turns came next. Slowly Cristian worked his way through the eight hooves of Aitana and Morris, who were nervous and jumpy but easy to overcome. And then we came to Rubi, who turned out to be the biggest problem of all. She really got angry. Not just nervous. Angry. We had a complete performance from her and every hoof was a battle. She was snorting, leaping, kicking and perspiring… What a transformation from the donkey who is the real placid Eyore who would not normally say Boo! to a goose.

Hoof clippings

Hoof clippings. Sorry but they are not clearly visible as they are on a glass-topped table… silly idea!

Finally, the job was done and Cristian charged a reasonable 25 Euros for each donkey, saying that he normally charges 30 Euros but since I have four he would give a discount. Excellent work at a good price and I will recommend Cristian. It was also very good to observe the way he made sure the donkeys knew who was boss. He did not allow them to kick him away but he wore down their resistance until they were too tired to kick any longer.

Thank goodness this only has to be done at longish intervals. The donks will remember though. As soon as they see him coming next time they will dig their hooves in and prepare for battle.

The donks are still traumatised by the hoof clipping. They are quite skittish tonight and will not let me come near them. I am the norty rood man who let the nasty farrier in to trim their hooves. Come on girls! Women pay a fortune for their fingernails to be done. Anyway who PAID the farrier? Not you.


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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2 Responses to Donkeys meet the farrier

  1. Jim of Olym says:

    We have two mammoth jacks, one gelding and a female, both around 15 hands. they are both really good with our farrier (who is well trained and professiona, also experienced in exotic stock like camels and zebras!). We love our guys and ride them and would not give them up for anything!

  2. Some really interesting points you have written.Helped me a lot, just what I was looking for :D.

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