Dont tell the horses… we have two donkeys on the property!
Yesterday whilst out checking on one of the longer trail routes we take the horses on, I had a flashback to two years ago when we took a group out to Cedri for a picnic lunch. This was a magnificent horse ride along some lovely diverse terrain, and the tiny hamlet of Cedri was a great spot to tie the horses and sit back for lunch. Unfortunately en-route there was a rouge donkey free from his field and desperate for company. Panic ensued with Dali the lead horse completely PETRIFIED of these strange, long eared beasts!! Luckily, the easy going team of trekking horses behind him took the funny looking creatures presence all in their stride (literally) and all passed unscathed.
Donkeys have long been the cause of problems on rides out, which is strange really, considering how closely related to horses they are. Unfortunately the horses don’t realize this.. and the noise, the smell… not to mention the appearance, can send them into anxious fits. Even Pedro (one of our safest old trail horses), still tenses up when he sees the donkeys up close.
An old client of ours once told me a tale of a trail ride in France. The group of 8 riders was trotting along a country lane when suddenly panic. All the horses bolted. Eight horses madly galloping out of control, with even the guide unable to do ANYTHING. At the end of the lane, the horses slowed, and whilst still unnerved and snorting, the riders managed to pull them up. What had caused them to panic so. Nothing less than two maneating donkeys that were on the other side of the hedge un-witnessed by the riders.
So. Its not a bad thing that Franco has his own two donkeys living here at Castellare. That way the horses at least are well used to hearing that strange noise, and seeing those long eared beauties up close.
They do still live in separate paddocks , but this great pic below (of Blanco and the younger donkey) shows that horses and donkeys can be pals.
This pic was snapped by the wonderful Christiane Slawik, who caught the magic of the moment completely by chance as we shot Blanco running at liberty in the bottom field where they live. Bellissima!