Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Can't You Hear Him Braying OUCH?

I will freely admit that I have a soft spot for 'long ears'. Donkey's, Hinny's, Mule's - the whole lot of em. They almost always gentle fast, are usually very sweet and loving, and I haven't met one yet that just didn't love attention! 

My affection for "donkind" came about some years ago as a fresh faced 19 year old who just got hired as part of the livestock division out at the old Rawhide. For those of you that aren't local - Rawhide is a 1800's style western town tourist trap that was built on a large amount of mostly undeveloped land. Rawhide is a multi-layered attraction park - offering a steakhouse, shopping, theater style shows put on by the street comedy troupe, and the world famous Rough Rider Stunt Crew - but also offered hay rides, a camel ride, a stagecoach ride, a petting zoo, and a donkey ride for the kids, amongst other things too numerous to list here.

So, anyways, I was 19, and had just been hired on in the livestock division, and had been assigned the 'donkey ride' as my job. I was suddenly responsible for a herd of about 17-18 donkeys, one hinny, and one jennet. That job at first taught me more about how NOT to handle mules and donkeys than HOW to handle them, but after the first few days, we all got along just fine. (My friend who was hired alongside me was assigned Joe the Camel... needless to say her experience was a LOT different than mine! Working with the Camel, while certainly interesting and challenging, was certainly a difficult task. He was cranky, stubborn, moody, loud, obnoxious, smelly, and liked to spit on people. Personally - We didn't blame him a bit.)

The care of the animals while 'backstage' was the reason I ended up walking out of the job I otherwise loved. The girl that was put into the Livestock Manager's Job was a 20 something, 4'3", 110 pound soaking wet, absolute brainless twit of a girl who had a degree in advertising and marketing, and had been hired originally for said department in the front office. She got it into her head one day that she wanted to learn to be a horse trainer, and started attending Equine Science Classes at a local Community College - the exact same classes I was also attending at the time. (PUKE! Imaging going to college alongside your boss...for the very same field she manages and has NO clue about...) The difference between me and her though - I had real life, hands on experience, and had since I was about a year and a half. SHE didn't even know how to put a halter on the right way. We had mules that would rather kill you than eat, and she was convinced she knew what she was doing. 

The front office had already approved the transfer though, and we all of a sudden had a manager that knew absolutely NOTHING about basic equine care. The first day on the job she tried to halter the worst of the 'killer mule teams' - and she damn near ended up in the hospital. They charged her, reared up, tried to strike her on the head, and chased after her when she turned tail and ran out of their pen. That incident scared her badly, but it broke her out of her ego for a while though!

There was a group of us that went up to the main office, and made a very strong case for her to be removed/replaced, but since she was a favorite of the owner - well that didn't work very well. We even tried to sneak a farrier in one day on her day off, to trim several donks and several of the mule teams because they were getting dangerously long, but he was stopped at the back gate and was asked to leave by security. Finally one of the stagecoach drivers broke down, and started trimming hooves, something he was fully capable of doing, but the afternoon put him in the hospital due to severe back issues and mules that again, would rather kill you than eat. 

The situation got worse and worse, and I finally left after several attempts at arguing with her about a donkey that had a bad limp, and they were still insisting she go out with her string's rotation. I didn't know anything else I could do, and had already made several calls to the sheriff, animal control, humane society, and even a news station or two... but of course no body picked up or believed the story, even with pictures. 

I bring this all up now not just for 'the memories', but because even in all the neglect and ignorance I witnessed during my 18 month employment with them, I NEVER EVER saw hooves get THIS bad....

This is ignorant, moronic, careless, pointless, heartless cruelty. 

There is absolutely NO reason at all that donkey's hooves should be that overgrown. He can't even stand normally anymore! I will never ever be caught racially profiling either - but there is a very strong culture of cruelty that comes from Mexico. And if this isn't proof, I don't know what is. 

What is even more disturbing is the next picture... and makes absolutely NO sense...

They take a picture of the donkey being 'trimmed' for the sale ad... but its quite obvious that donkey hadn't been visited by a farrier in MONTHS, IF NOT YEARS??? What the hell are these people doing to this poor animal!!! And they pose their kids with him like they don't even have a clue that his feet aren't supposed to curl out 18 inches like that!

There is NO way ONE trim will repair this donkey's feet. It would take nearly half a year of trims to get this guy properly balanced again. This is a semi-long term project, and one that requires a knowledgeable and experienced farrier to do. A farrier that takes off too much at once can cause even more damage to the legs/tendons/fetlocks/etc, because the animals legs have begun to adjust to the extreme angles and difficulty walking. Suddenly reversing that can cause extreme amounts of soreness and pain for the animal as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles need some time to readjust back to what they are normally supposed to be.

I don't care who you are, how much knowledge you have or don't have... One look at those feet and any joe blow off of the street can tell you that poor donkey is in bad shape. These owners have NO EXCUSES for letting him get THAT BAD! NONE! 

I tried to blow the images up to get good close ups of the slipper feet, but zooming in just causes extreme blurriness, and even photoshop can't fix it. 

The ad itself is almost irrelevant at this point, but it does give a brief amount of insight into the owners. 


Even as a jack donkey, I'd still snap this guy up just to GET HIM THE HELL OUT OF THERE! Any animal that would put up with this crap is an animal that would be welcome in MY barn any day. Especially one with long, cute, fuzzywuzzy ears that just beg to be scritched!


On a side note that needs to be mentioned; in digging around on everyone's blogs the other night, I came across a Blog Carnival that  is being run by Enlightened Horsemanship.net. The Blog Carnival is horse focused, and usually is hosted by a blog other than her own on the first of the month. Content consists of blog posts that were published the month before, but are all collected in one spot. Its a great way to find new blogs, exchange links, and generally have a good time. 

I have submitted a request to host a Carnival here, but then literally days after I got the approval email, she blogged that April's Carnival might be the last one due to lack of new material being sent in. She asked all her current submitters to branch out, mention the Carnival, and try to drum up some new interest/new blogs. 

The above is a link directly to the submission page. 

That is a link to this months current Carnival, so you all can see what exactly it is.

I would like to encourage all of you that have your own horsey blogs to send in a link to her - even though I just discovered this, I think its rather cool and a great way to network together. And I selfishly don't want it to go kaput before my turn to host! LOL. 


  1. I am the one who sent you the link, and I am trying my best to get him saved. I will update you when I know more!

  2. Do you watch Animal Cops Houston? They had a mini stallion whose hoof wall had turned under and had covered the sole of the hoof. The farrier had to use a grinder..He was mad/horrified. Had to do a lot of thinking to get started. He wound up adopting the little guy. (Who had quite an attitude!)

  3. No, with my crazy ass work schedule, and anywhere between 3 and 5 kids in the house at the same time (2 are mine, that I have part of the week, and then 3 step kids that live with us full time) - I hardly ever get to watch TV anymore. I'll have to see if Hulu carries the program.

    A good farrier is worth keeping. A GREAT farrier is worth paying in gold. Thats awesome that the farrier took the little guy. At least he'll never have to go without farrier care again!

  4. Hey! Thanks so much for the Carnival PR!!!! You're the best! And in spite of the seriousness of your post's content, I got a huge kick out of "Donkind."
    Keep your submissions coming, folks--if we continue, then I can offer Beth the hosting job for either July, September, or November. Those are the months open for hosting thus far, but we welcome post submission every month, and the deadline for sending them in is noon on the last day of the month. So pick a favorite post, visit blogcarnival.com, and send me one!

  5. Anyone interested: 315-536-4438 is the inside number for the Yates County New York Sheriff's Office. Although the appropriate outside agencies have been called, the Humane Society Investigative Officer works for the Sheriff. Please take a moment and call there and ask for the officer in charge of animal cruelty.

  6. I love the word Donkind. I am not exactly a big fan of mules, doneys or otherwise, but the long ears were a favorite of my pony mare so I was in some way connected.

    Funny that you mention SCC. More idiots have come out of their 'program' knowing more and using less knowledge than I care to imagine being wasted like that. I worked with one of them and knew another. The one I worked with couldn't keep her legs off the horses sides so they all took off with her. So then she squeezed harder to stay on while cranking on the reins... The other one knew everything better. Better than what the teacher was teaching... "I do it her way in class and my way at home." Neither one worked for her though. Epic FAIL!

    Rawhide was a bust in so many ways. Give the crowd a place to play cowboy and charge them high prices accordingly. Glad I never went there or worked there.

    I hope the Donk in the post is soon rescued. He needs it!

    Aaand I will be visiting the blog carnival. That sounds like fun and a place to meet others and gee, I dunno, maybe even learn something!

  7. if I could I'd so go and adopt him just so he had a permanent loving home (and regular hoofcare!!!!)

  8. Fran, thank you for that information. Hopefully he will get the help he needs.

    Enlightened, you are quite welcome! I may be a small little blog, but as you can see from the sidebar widget, I am constantly getting hits from all over the nation - sometimes I'm not even sure HOW they found me! LOL.

  9. Oh wow! I'm only an hour from Penn Yan. I am only a college student so all I can do is call up the sheriffs office, thanks Fran!

  10. I'd say that donkey is foundered on the fronts. I'm a part time trimmer and you would not believe some of the hooves I come across.

  11. Oh, I am expecting that he is foundered too. We are still working on getting him, but since the Yates County Animal Control was called I have been TRYING to talk to the man there and nothing back so far. Me and a couple of my boarders are going to all be co-owners, if we can get him. No word yet, though. The man is a dealer and there are more animals on his property so I really don't want to mess up any investigation, otherwise I would just call the owner and go get him.

  12. Oh jeeze. Another one. Please keep us (or me...and I can update everyone at once) up to date!

    Did the owners NOT THINK that posting pictures like this wouldn't get attention!!??

    I hope you guys can get him out of there!

  13. Kinda hard to founder a donkey, but I guess with enough stupid it could be done. Gads--I gotta stop reading these blogs!! :cry2: But it's so good when someone takes notice and something is done...