Monday, April 7, 2008

Running, Jumping and Hoisting a Heavy Weight

With everything drying out at a great rate, the woman decided it was time for the horses to begin an exercise program. This involves a ritual called longing (or lunging, whichever you prefer). She puts a very long rope device called a longeline on their halters and they then perform different paces while rotating around her. Typical. She gets to stand still and they get to work up a sweat. She once put this device on me and I quickly showed her all three paces in the correct order to illustrate that I had absorbed this juvenile process through simply observing. I did this in both directions and then turned and faced her, giving her a withering look. She professed utter astonishment at my performance and has never asked me to do this again.

TJ has never seen this before and became highly excited and alarmed when Doc began to circle. "Come back" he screamed. "She's tryin ta spin him ta death!" He got in under Doc's tail and stayed there through the first set of paces and then dropped off to one side. He was blowing like he'd just run a four minute mile. He quickly figured out that Doc didn't actually get anywhere and in fact made an excellent moving target for bouncing off and generally tormenting. Molly was next, but he watched her respectfully from the sidelines - he knows the painful pinch those large, yellow teeth can inflict.

Then the woman put my halter on and we set off on a walk, or what she calls "the Royal Progress". There are still some snowbanks in the farm lane and she selfishly refused to carry me over these. I was forced through knee-deep snow and had to take several breathers. I know it was only ten steps or so, but she was blind to my predicament. Once through, I indicated that I wished to take the longer route in order to inspect any changes that had occured over the winter. There was a damp pile of feathers on one trail and I smelled that for quite awhile, till it caused a violent sneezing fit.

Last week the whole bottom of the valley was full of rushing water but by yesterday we were able to take the trail that leads to the green bridge over the stream. I planted my feet at the edge of the bridge and insisted she go first. Good thing too. She took two steps and the whole thing spun up in the air and she suddenly disappeared from view. I stood rooted to the spot and eventually her head and shoulders appeared, covered in a variety of mud and vegetation. My first thought was "Good God, there really IS a troll under every bridge." She was laughing so I surmised she was simply filthy and not hurt. She told me to stand still and then grasped my fetlocks in both hands and hoisted herself out. I'd rather not be used as a hoist but I figured we'd be there forever if I didn't comply.

All in all, a very satisfying day, even if my ankles are a bit stiff.


robert5721 said...

I will need to have a talk with your woman for sure. One thing I have learned is that if the donkey won't go, there is generally a good reason for it....a guy i know in south carolina wanted to take a donkey he was riding over a stream, but the donkey got to the edge (about 10 feet away actually) and would go no farther....the guy poked and prodded and was otherwise ingorant with the donkey, and finally said "well, I'll show you how this is done"....and proceeded to step right into a pit of water, he listens to his donkey, i can assure you !! He did not get bitten, but he sure got a scare....LOL....
have fun!!
Mr Gale

the7msn said...

Shaeffer, your mom just got an award. Send her over to the 7MSN to pick it up. She deserves it for putting up with all you guys.

ponymaid said...

Mr. Gale, I don't like the sound of water moccasins. I'm strictly a black oxfords sort of donkey. Don't worry, I always ensure the humans make the first foray into any suspicious situation. Especially now that there are cougars back in the area.

7msn, inexplicably the woman is in a hurry to get over to your place. I simply don't understand - why would she want to leave us when we keep her so gainfully occupied? Another mystery.

Uncle Ed said...

Have you shown your artwork to a dealer yet? Your art may be a good way of financing your political aspirations. On that note I have been busy on the campaign trail on your behalf. I have visited both Obama's and Clinton's camps. Both have secretly agreed that they would like to see you as leader of the Democrats it the other will come out publicly and throw their support behind you, but as politicians neither trusts the other. So we are at a stalemate. They are both stubborn as mules and won't budge until the other relinquishes the race. We may have to throw TJ into a room with both of them and let him have at them for a few hours. What is your opinion?

Uncle Ed

Rising Rainbow said...

I can imagine what lunging looks like to horses and donkeys......that we people are insane probably covers it quite well.

billie said...

Oh my - I came over from Linda's place to check things out and wow! Wonderful!

I live with three horses, a pony, an 8-month old miniature donkey named Rafer Johnson, four cats, and two dogs. Rafer has another miniature donkey coming to join him in September. Meanwhile, I'm becoming conversant in donkey language and have so enjoyed watching Rafer watch us ride. He looked mortified the first time, but now seems somewhat amused by the whole process, as he tends to stand and watch.

Looking forward to more Sheaffer stories!

ponymaid said...

uncle ed - your brilliance astounds me. I will immediately begin other large scale art pieces in hopes of financing my campaign. What do you think of calling myself the "Paddock President" if I win the overall election? I think it sounds even better than the "Log Cabin" President. I am all for setting the cat amongst the pigeons - ie. letting TJ loose in a room with the two inferior candidates. He's very keen on getting to work immediately.

rising rainbow - you are absolutely right when you say we find many things that humans do perplexing. My main complaint is that they force us to live in a separate building. Very species-ist of them.

billie! Welcome to our select group of donkeys and donkeyphiles - and donkey butlers as the woman terms herself. Rafer Johnson is a spectacular donkey name and at his tender age he is already showing the enormous intelligence and discernment typical of our family. Excellent decision to welcome another donkey into your household.

Gale said...

You are so smart, Sheaffer, to have performed the obligatory lunge line exercises perfectly the first time so you won't be asked to do this again! Any donkey immediately recognizes that traveling in silly repetitive circles is boring...congratulations on training your woman so well! She just might break a sweat, however, if she tries the lunge line routine with TJ.

It's much more fun to go on exploratory walks ("Royal Progress"...perfect!), even if it results in allergic reactions. I applaud your chivalry in saving your woman from the troll trap, and thanks to you and your sturdy fetlocks, she was safely rescued.

I thought of you on my last walk with Muddy; as we explored a side trail down the road, Muddy picked up a chunk of bark to munch on as we walked. (Ha Ha, all he needed was a thermos of tea!) If I were ever to fall and get injured in the woods, though, I'm not sure he would wait around long to save me.