Happy birthday Aitana

Two years old today: Aitana on her birthday 2nd October 2013

Two years old today: Aitana on her birthday 2nd October 2013

Today’s birthday girl, above. Below, Aitana’s first grooming in October 2011. Note her size in relation to mummy donk Matilde in the photo above and in the video two years ago.

Originally, I thought Aitana would grow to be bigger than Matilde, but so far – at two years old – she looks as if she will be smaller and I believe Aitana had the same father as Morris. Rubí and Matilde were covered at the same time, probably by a male who was about the size of Rubí, i.e. smaller than Matilde. At this stage, it is not expected that either Morris or Aitana will grow much bigger than they currently are.



In a comment below, GC asked for a “few more observations on Aitana” and I am glad to oblige.

Every morning I greet the donks before I feed them and I always have a pocketful of chopped carrots. While the others always compete to get in front and eat the carrots, Aitana stays back and will not eat any carrots until she has had her morning cuddle, and then she will eat carrots. As you can see in the video of Aitana’s first grooming, the foals were handled from the beginning and I was determined that they would learn to give up their hooves for inspection, unlike their mothers who always put up resistance.

Although both Morris and Aitana had equal attention, grooming, stroking, and generally being fussed over by their proud keeper, Morris is his own donk and doesn’t really keep still for very long if I make a fuss of him now. I have to be careful of him jerking his head suddenly, as he has caught me under the chin a couple of times. Aitana on the other hand is very calm and stands totally still: she almost goes into a trance when having a stroke and a cuddle. Unless disturbed by the arrival of another donk, she will stand quite still for a quarter of an hour with her head cradled in my arm while I stroke her ears. This can be quite calming therapy for me too, after a busy or stressful day in the classroom. Yesterday I had quite a stormy meeting with a challenging pupil and her parents, at the end of which they were shouting at each other and it was evident that my geography class was the least of the little darling’s problems. But as usual, they dump all that stuff on you as part of your day and leave you to de-stress yourself in whatever way you can. On arrival back at the donkey home I received my usual equine counselling: Aitana is the perfect de-stresser!

Like her mother Matilde, Aitana has quite large ears. Looking back through the blog photos of her she looks quite ridiculous sometimes, with her small foal body and great big ears. She uses them well. No matter how quietly I undo the catch on the glass doors to the balcony, she will be the first to look up from the field. A local man who has long experience of donkeys once said to me, “Burros will hear a whisper from the next village.”


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself dividing my time mostly between looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca and preparing a legal case against the corrupt management of my monstrous last employer - the Elians group - for unfair dismissal. I like to hear the wind in the pine trees. I do not like struggling to get a duvet into a duvet cover. My musical tastes are extinct and I have mostly given up cycle racing.
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8 Responses to Happy birthday Aitana

  1. Alys says:

    It’s funny how their little characters were distinguishable from the start! Happy birthday Morris and Aitana! Hip hip hoobray! Hip hip hoobray! xxx

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Aitana still feeding from Matilde… Why, at two years old? Is she aiming for a foal milk feeding record?

  3. golden chersonnese says:

    A few more observations on dear little Aitana will be much appreciated, Bro. Lapin.

    Why should that naughty Morris get more attention,,unless this is a secondary school?

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Well, GC, Aitana certainly deserves a few more observations because she is a rather interesting donkey. I have added something to the main blogpost above…

  5. golden chersonnese says:

    Thanks, Brother Lapin, that was a very pleasant read. Aitana seems a real treasure.

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    I can’t have a favourite, but Aitana is quite special!

  7. Dilly says:

    I have never seen anyone as surprised as Aitana when she emerged from Mathilde, and righted herself – balancing half-in, half-out.

  8. Frere Rabit says:

    Yes, Dilly, that was quite a moment! (The birth of Aitana video was taken by Andrea who later played the violin for Morris in last year’s singing donkey video.) Link to the birth of the foal video here: http://brotherlapin.com/2011/10/02/and-another-foal/

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