I have been training Morris on long reins for a few weeks and finally we have arrived at the point where he is learning to pull the cart and follow a few basic instructions like, “Don’t crash the cart Morris!” Mostly he ignores important instructions. The above photo is taken just after Morris ignored the instruction, “Stay on the road Morris!”
After three years of donkey walking, exercising the donkeys and getting quite exercised myself, it is really great to sit down in a cart and just let the donkey do all the work. The next stage is to put a cold box in the cart with a few bottles of Estrella Galicia beer and begin to enjoy the ride. This year, the routine trips to Playa Torres beach may involve the cart, with picnic and beach furniture. But this is still early days.
My neighbour Elisabeth told me yesterday that her olive trees had been cut. Three big trees! Loads of olive branches were piled up in her garden and she offered them to the donkeys. After the cart training, Morris was ready for action. I loaded the cart up with a huge stack of olive branches and good old Morris hauled the load up the hill.
We returned for a second load – twice the weight – and Morris happily pulled the cart up the hill.
Then I decided that it was the moment to put into action the next stage of the donkey walking scheme: attach donkeys behind the cart to get exercise while Morris pulls the cart and I sit in it getting no exercise. (A reasonable arrangement, I think.) I hitched up Rubí at the back of the cart and away we went. Morris could hear Rubí’s hooves plodding along behind, so he went faster. Then we ended up in a gallop. It quickly became a rather exhilarating Ben Hur chariot race situation and Morris was not bothered about me pulling hard on the reins and shouting “Whooooooaaaa!!!!” He had other plans. How we made it around the last sharp bend before home, downhill at 30 miles per hour, with Morris kicking out and Rubí braying at the back, I do not know. Suffice to say, they are enjoying supper and I have a beer, and we all lived to tell the tale.