Saturday, October 20, 2012

What IS That Thing?

Franny is settling in well and has stopped nagging me about my stall habits. She said I shuffle my feet and sigh and make phlegmy throat clearing noises like a little old man in the apartment next door. Nonsense of course - I put it down to a case of new tenant nerves.

She has a positive genius for finding the very rare burr bushes that lean against our paddock fence and consequently her hairstyles have grown more outlandish by the day. Today's creation featured a gravity-defying pyrimid that rose up between her ears like an operatic wig. The male human has named her the equine Lady GaGa (who?), the Woman said she looked like Don King (who?) and Franny rolled her eyes and said anyone with fashion sense could see it was a Fascinator (what?). 

That medical madman animal physician is coming tomorrow to check Franny's teeth. The Woman finds she has lost a bit of weight and wishes her to have more substance going into winter. Knowing Franny, she is envisioning herself with a fashionable eating disorder. She is the polar opposite of LaMolly who is in fact a central vac system disguised as a pony.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Diva Has Arrived

For weeks now, Herself has been dropping hints and making veiled references to a new barn resident but we have been able to ascertain nothing as to the origin, gender, age or even species of this being: for all we knew a gnu or wildebeeste could have been en route.

A few days ago off they went with the box on wheels in tow and were gone for hours. Our friend Jamie arrived and put us to bed at the usual hour but still no sign of the resident humans. Just about the time we get our night feed, there was a commotion and bright lights shone outside in the laneway. I should mention that it was a particularly foggy evening so I assumed the worst ie. we were being invaded by hideous creatures of the night. I was proved correct when Herself hove into view, road-weary and coated in food residue and tea stains.

She turned on the barn lights and said " I have a surprise for you boys". She returned leading the most beauteous creature I have ever beheld. She is a subtle beige colour with black mane and tail. She is long of limb (from my point of view) and refined of visage. Wilson bellowed a loud greeting and I began what I thought was an appropriate salutation comprised of muffled grunts and whuffled moans.

She froze at the doorsill, eyes bugged out and nostrils flared, staring at me in disbelief. "WHAT IS IT?!", she shrieked at Wilson. Wilson was beside himself and began a chorus of "Comeincomeincomein!". This went on for awhile with her shrieking 'WHAT IS IT?!" and Wilson nearly standing on his hind legs, trying to convince her to enter the barn. I whuffled and moaned and still she stayed frozen in place. 

The Woman got a pan with treats in it and managed to get the Beauteous Creature's front feet into the barn. Meanwhile the male human crouched beside me and encouraged me to remain silent for the time being. Thus was Franny, for that is her name, entinced into her room, step by step.

She has never lived inside at night and has taken some time to adjust to the idea. She spent the first two days threatening to murder me but I deduced this was from stress and not personal animosity. We are now on most cordial terms. Wilson is a new man and strides around the paddock muttering "I gotta babe, I gotta babe". I am embarrassed on his behalf but she seems unbothered. She is very self-assured and thus is able to completely ignore Wilson's attempts to call dibs on anything that strikes his fancy. When he tries to hog the hay rack or salt block, she simply sashays past him and says "UhHuh". He doesn't know what to do about her sang froide and pretends it hasn't happened. I am enjoying it all immensely.

Franny hails from Iowa and thus had a long voyage and a border crossing to arrive here but she says the vista of corn and hay fields makes her feel quite at home. I wonder if she understands that when autumn comes, winter follows hard on it's heels...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lies, Trickery and Rumours

We all know who the liar is around here. The most recent heinous fabrication occurred when Herself casually informed me that my blue chalet/cottage will not remain here permanently but is going to be carted off to the dump some time soon. I can tell you, I am utterly devastated. Especially as she let me hope and dream that I could spend a comfortable winter within it's cosy confines and then suddenly and callously smashed that dream into oblivion.
The trickery enters into the picture via Wilson. Of course. He calls it " ongoing training" and I call it tomfoolery. He says he is strengthening the trainer's reflexes and "bombproofing" him. It looks like a lot of pony shenanigans to me. The trainer gets him spinning nicely on the end of the long rope and Wilson suddenly turns himself inside out (or so it appears) and rushes off in the other direction without being asked. He is corrected and carries on as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Then he does it again.
The Woman has gotten him a harness like mine but in a more rotund size and plans to teach him the art of driving. This should prove quite interesting. I will keep you apprised of his "progress". This is the same pony who had cream applied to his heels because of a touch of something called mud fever and what do you think he did? Licked it off and began foaming at the mouth and blowing bubbles. Herself said he would just have to deal with it because after the compost incident, even if it was toxic and caused him to turn blue she was too embarrassed to call the veterinarian.
And, we have heard very faint rumours of a possible new equine family member but Herself just smirks and says we must be patient. I ask you, what does SHE know of patience?!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Itchy and Scratchy

Last week was the week of seasonal allergies for poor Wilson. His legs became stovepipes, he itched from head to foot and his muzzle broke out in an acne-like rash. He stopped eating (even compost) and said his stomach hurt. I suffered none of the same effects and carried on eating for both of us. It was the least I could do.
The veterinarian came, of course, and left the Woman with various things to give him. His legs were wrapped, his hay soaked and he was generally treated like an invalid. I don't approve of that sort of pandering but what can I do. He even got extra bedding so he could lie propped up with the fan wafting gentle currents over him. I mean, honestly. What if he suddenly had to live wild on the plains, foraging for himself and fighting off wolves? I suppose Herself would trudge after him, fan in hand, catering to his every whim and giving the unfortunate wolves a piece of her mind. He is feeling much better now but still wears what the male human calls his soccer socks at night. I should add that he didn't lose an ounce throughout the ordeal.
We were quite interested yesterday when a blue metal bin showed up and rattled noisily off the back of a vehicle. We were convinced it contained at least one equine and called out in various tones to ascertain if that were the case. Alas, there was no answer. The thing seems to be a rubbish container and of no use to us, although Wilson has expressed a desire to rummage through it. I was led over to it today so I could see for myself that it was indeed equine-free. If it had a roof it might make a nice donkey cottage or chalet where I could retreat to ruminate in peace. A donkey can dream.
Wilson's lessons were cancelled due to his poor health but should be back on track next week when he promises to continue training the trainer.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Equi-Garburator

That would be Wilson, of course.
The event in question unfolded just as the humans were expecting company. Wilson's timing was exquisite. Herself came bustling out to the barn, wheeled in the refuse transporter and threw a large mass of "compost" into it. She regarded us distractedly, said "Ohhhh, flymasks" and disappeared into the barn. Wilson examined the large mass and without pausing for breath, scarfed the lot. The Woman returned, flymasks in hand. She looked highly puzzled and searched the area. Then she looked highly alarmed and, clutching the veterinarian's card, rushed off to make telephonic communication with him.
Wilson ate: a large coffee filter and grounds, bunches of green onions and a quantity of cabbage, amongst other revolting and slimy things. The Woman feared the filter would create some sort of clog in Wilson's digestive workings, causing him extreme distress as well as "weirdin' out the guests" as Wilson put it. I must note here that he developed the worst halitosis I've ever encountered and it endured unabated for the balance of the day.
The veterinarian's diagnosis: a large bran mash was prescribed, and a warning that though Wilson would probably be fine (it seems the filter is a form of fibre) the rich mixture of composting refuse would undoubtedly leave him highly flatulent and rather hyperactive for the near future. He was absolutely right. Wilson trotted around busily, enveloped in a cloud of vile green gas for several hours. The guests seemed quite impressed (or possibly horrified).
Next morning, Wilson was quite recovered. In fact, on his way out the door, he picked up a curry comb, brushed the floor with it, and then stepped across the aisle and began brushing my face. The Woman was highly amused. I was not.
Footnote: I should add that the veterinarian said horses often enjoy eating paper products and in fact one of his clients ate his own export papers, which had been attached to his stall door. Our dear, departed pony Daisy ate the larger part of a questionable publication called "Awake" or "Watchtower" or some such thing, left by a group of religious zealots. She absorbed none of the contents and remained a life-long heathen.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Shoulder Incident

Wilson is quite embarassed and doesn't wish me to discuss this but I have promised...I told him I would lean toward an empathetic telling.
The Woman, Penny the Dog and Wilson Pony were out walking in the big field at the end of March. Wilson had arrived just the week before and was still settling in. I should point out that the Woman was leading Wilson on a long rope, having just finished spinning him around on the end of the longer rope in the sand area in the paddock. Things were going well, with Wilson occasionally grabbing a snack of the very earliest grass. The sauntering and snacking continued whilst Penny rummaged around in the hedgerow. Next thing we knew, a loud shrieking filled the air and continued unabated. Molly and I were in the barn dozing and we awakened with the rudest of starts.
Wilson says he couldn't locate the source of the siren-like wailing and became a trifle upset but kept his nerves in check. It seems Penny had caught a large rabbit and was holding onto it by it's posterior as they both zoomed across the field. Then, Penny lost her grip and was left with a mouthful of fur. She was so incensed that SHE then began a secondary chorus of screaming. Wilson could not see what was going on and assumed that Armagaddon was upon us, or at least an invasion by hysterical, shrieking aliens. He called to us in garbled tones that we understood as "UNDER ATTACK MONSTERS EVERYWHERE HELPPPP" and we quickly chimed in with advice "RUN RUN RUN HEAD FOR HOME!" So he immediately sprang into action. The Woman later remarked that we were the most useless Greek Chorus in history. (I must research that.)
Unfortunately, in his panic, he forgot that Herself was attached to the end of the rope. They made their way down the field in a series of circles, the Woman's elbow firmly planted in Wilson's neck. And that is how the shoulder came to be a shadow of it's former self.
Shoulder rehab continues and Wilson is working with the trainer as the Woman is rather limited in gesticulating with her right arm. On a brighter note, it's much easier to ignore her commands if necessary and watching her doing things with her left hand is an endless source of amusement.
Wilson says he is staying far away from all things rabbit for the forseeable future. And he claims he is quite contrite although he continues to indulge in all sorts of prankish pony behaviour that leads me question his vow of reformation.
***And once again, I apologize for the mysterious lack of paragraphs. I put them in and poof! gone.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Word About Wilson...

That word is PONY. He is ten years old, a blotchy design of brown and white and smarter than most other beings on the planet. His nicknames are "Einstein", "Clever Clogs" and "The Pony Calculator". The trainer has described him as "frighteningly bright" and the person who cared for us in the absence of the regular humans called him "Brat Face", "Smarty Pants" and "you little ^%$#^^%$*#".

Wilson arrived in an enormous box on wheels at the end of March - by enormous I mean that it held nine equines. Two of those were called Mike and Tommy and are 19hh. I very much wish we had been able to visit with those equine edifices but they were on their way to somewhere called Calgary.

Molly immediately laid down the law about my being a sacred object around here and threatened to do terrible things to him for three days. Then she announced she quite fancied him. I find him personable and an excellent mutual neck scratcher. He had never lived indoors before but has taken to it so well that he now declares he can't exist without deep bedding, ice cubes in his evening water and his own fan.

The trainer has had some interesting interactions with him but Wilson seems to be gradually bringing him to heel - though the trainer thinks the reverse. The wheels in the pony brain never stop spinning. The woman has ridden him a bit but is still maundering on about her shoulder - the damage to which was caused inadvertently by Wilson...

But that is a story for another day and involves four different species.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Driving Adventure

They have returned from holiday so apparently my life can begin again. Pshaw. This holiday business is very inconvenient for those of us with no typing skills and much to say.

The day before they disappeared into the vastness of America, I was taken for a road trip to an equine establishment that teaches various disciplines, including driving (my forte). It's rather tiresome being confined in a metal box with windows too high to be useful and no wiring with which to tinker, but I managed the trip over quite well.

They were tremendously excited to see me, especially the horses, who had never before met a donkey. They practised their free-form dressage moves in the air and emitted many loud snorts and whistles. Eventually three of us were strapped into our harnesses (no, not together!) and off we went for a tour.

A magnificent creature called Rosie, a Warmblood of Swedish descent - red of hair and fiery of temperament - strode off at speed, followed by me (out of breath) and Joe, a two-tone horse of Doc breeding. My word, sixty acres of track is an alarming space when one particpant is eight hands and the others are sixteen hands. And I might add, I was hauling a considerable load. Nevertheless, I completed the course (including a ditch crossing) and was able to watch the extraordinary Rosie flying around the field, doing figure eights and all sorts of other impressive foot work.

The human residents were charming, tending to my every need and even whisking me onto the lawn upon arrival so I could be in some matrimonial pictures. I was turned into a large grass paddock, where I could watch my neighbour zoom around his own paddock, snorting and trying to get to me. I encouraged him to simply jump the five foot fence, and he very nearly did.

One thing puzzles me, however. The humans congregated on the lawn, being very noisy and eating all sorts of foodstuffs but I was not invited over. I stared at them very hard through the bottom rails, which worked to the extent that they came over in little groups to see me but I was not let out to mingle. Even when I made my low whuffling sound that usually summons the Woman, they still kept me confined. I tried a few full-throated brays and all that got me was a chorus of raucous laughter and some loud neighs from the horses. I simply don't understand the social contradictions inherent in human behaviour.

I am invited back any time and may be offered the position of Professor Emeritus in their driving program. I will have to ponder this but am leaning toward accepting.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Molly Moves On

Molly has settled back in with her other family and seems to be getting the upper hoof quite quickly. We boys miss her and I confess we have been loitering near the gate by the road in case she should arrive back at any minute.

Molly and the young female human are wandering around the countryside, saddle-less, visiting neighbours and just generally sightseeing. Molly is in her glory, being a busybody whilst getting some low-level exercise. She is in a grass-free paddock with an ancient equine called Ethel who is no doubt alarmed to find herself sequestered with such an, ahem, "dynamic personality". Another ancient equine, Billy, has decided that Molly is the devil incarnate and keeps making threatening gestures from over the fence in the gelding enclosure. Molly stays just out of reach and taunts him with cries of "Go ahead bite me old dude! Hahahahaha!". The other gelding is a svelte Thoroughbred who has fallen so hard for Molly that he may strain something trying to impress her with his moves.
We miss Her Mollyness here but we three boys have formed our own "posse" as Wilson insists on calling it. I will write more about the two new lads at a later date. Tomorrow I am invited to a friend's place to demonstrate my driving skills - the only thing that might stop me is the weather. Their farm is populated by something called Warmbloods, a category of equine which I have not yet encountered. I plan to question them closely.
Oh, and this wretched site will not include apologies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Don't Believe It!

Such turmoil. Such confusion. Welcome to Chez Sheaffer.
Molly is moving tomorrow. What with the Woman only having one arm for steering, and Molly having a sensitive ankle from last summer, which limits her trail abilities, it has been decided that she will move back in with her former humans. Her bags are packed and she leaves tomorrow. Being Molly, she simply made a light belching sound and said she looks forward to her new adventure. I don't think she realizes I'm not coming with her...
We are invited to visit her any time and I plan to take them up on the offer. There are two new lads here to keep me company but I do believe I will miss La Molly...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Visitors From The Near East

Just when I had fallen into a state of despair - what with the attempted bath and the ongoing remarks about waistlines, who should appear from the Nation's Capital but my old friends, mother and daughter humans who have known me since I first was forced into servitude with Herself. The younger human is the only one to have ever sat upon my back, when she was age six, and she and I share this fond memory whenever we reunite.
They showered me with compliments, not water, and presented me with an entire container of Scotch mints. Of course, on Her orders, these must be doled out like Oliver Twist's gruel but nevertheless...They groomed me, gently cleansed my legs and ears of fly bites and even sang me a quiet song about having "A Heart of Glass". I was temporarily transported to heaven.
Best of all, the mother human took it upon herself to mend my battered fly covering. The fastening under the chin has never been long enough so it is constantly rubbed off on trees and then, I don't know how, the ears become chewed. The Woman says I am in fact the guilty party; I have no recollection of it. But I digress. The extraordinary visitor not only attached a longer chin strap but, using material scavenged from an old horse covering, she rebuilt the ear covers into works of art. It took her hours but she did it just for me. I look immensely dashing, if I do say so myself. Even the Woman says I look like a Highwayman.
Alas, the kind visitors are gone, leaving me with memories, mints and a mask. I hope they return soon.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Donkey Days of Summer

Finally, decent weather. The radio in my barn is calling it a heat wave but they are mistaken. It is simply civilized temperatures. I don't care how many eggs they fry on pavements, this is why I endure those endless months of frostbite and hypothermia.

I am slowly, carefully shedding the last of my winter coat. One cannot be too careful in these climes. Of course, Herself can't leave well enought alone but has to "help" me with the process. She uses a large toothed comb to rake through my hair and that I don't mind at all. Yesterday, however, she decided that wasn't enough but that I should have a bath! One with water.

She bribed me into the barn aisle with a tasty snack and then snuck up on me with a bucket of soapy water and a large sponge. She started at my hooves and I was galvanized into a sort of Highland Fling. Then she inched the thing up my leg and onto my side. Well! It was hideous and I understand full well how a near drowning feels. I took immediate action and bellowed for Molly. I spun in a circle, flinging foam in all directions - mainly on Herself. I reared and bolted up and down the aisle. What else could I do? I was under attack in my own home. Molly arrived in a cloud of dust and tried to open the door. Herself spat out bits of soap foam.

We worked out an uneasy truce where I will let her bathe my lower extremeties, for now, but forbid anything liquid to touch my upper person. She says we shall see. Odd, because that's exactly what I say. I think she should just go find some pavement, fry an egg and leave me alone.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Earwigs - Need I Say More?

I thought not. I am convinced that the entire planet is infested with the wretched things.

They have neither obvious ears nor do they wear wigs so I can only assume their main goal in life is to take up residence in the closest ear canal. Given that I sport a pair of quite prominent, nay magnificent ears, I live in fear that an entire colony will soon be settled there. Meanwhile, I can't look in my food bowl without finding at least one scuttling about, or look into or underneath any object without unearthing a vast mob of the repulsive insects. They would appear to eat anything, live anywhere and also bite without much provocation.

I know the last is true because yesterday the Woman suddenly began spinning around the aisle of the barn whilst slapping vigourously at her leg. Of course I assumed she was posessed by demons, which makes complete sense in her case, but in fact one of the dreaded earwigs was biting her leg with great determination. Then, heaven help me, she cast off her leg coverings and discovered the earwig (now former earwig). I averted my eyes as soon as I could but what has been seen cannot be unseen.

And based on this latest event, I put forward the theory that earwigs are the most dangerous and revolting beings on the planet.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I May Be An Addict!

It happened like this, casually, without thought, as so many of these situations do. Let this be a warning to others.

I was halfway through my meagre dinner portion when the woman leaned into my room and tipped a small bag of unindentified white powder into my bowl. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised as she is given to bizarre actions that make no sense. Of course MY natural reaction was to snort loudly while attempting to identify said powder. The result was a that a toxic cloud enveloped us and a good portion of the stuff was drawn directly into my sinus cavities. Too late, I realized she must have snuck a vast quantity of cocaine into my food! Why, I could not say, nor could I imagine where she would have acquired such an amount of the stuff.

I retreated to the far corner of my room, snorting and hacking, in an effort to rid myself of the white peril. I could feel the effects on my brain almost immediately. I felt curiously exhilarated and buoyed up and the more I thought about it the more I quite liked the experience. Just like that, I had been launched on the road to perdition. Of course, Herself found it all highly amusing. Those people do, once they have you hooked.

She accused me of being overly dramatic and even pursued me with the bowl, invitating me to take just the tiniest of tastes as she was sure I would like it. And heaven help me, I eventually did just that. It tasted...well, strangely minty. Not at all what I expected but most pleasant. Obviously I was a prime candidate for addiction. And that's when she explained that it was the residue from the bottom of the bag of English mints.

Honestly, you think she might have mentioned the mint element before putting me through all that. But no. She simply cackled in a most unbecoming manner and called me "overly dramatic". Pshaw. Just another typical day at the madhouse. Now I must work on restoring my sinuses to normal operating condition.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Insight Into An Actual Donkey Roping Event

I am posting this link to a write-up by Libby Cluett of the Mineral Wells, Texas, donkey roping event from March, 2009 to give an insight into how utterly terrifying and miserable this "sport" is for the donkey participants.
The event was organized at the last minute through a few phone calls and yet managed to draw one hundred and fifty teams of ropers who took turns roping twenty donkeys. Her description of the many ways the donkeys try to avoid being chased and roped is heartbreaking and a testament to the donkeys' intelligence and awareness. Read it and weep.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Reprieve - For Now

It would seem that Jason Owens, the donkey-roping magnate, has bowed to overwhelming pressure and called off the championship of donkey roping to be held today in Van Horn, Texas. Not because he has changed his mind about the ethical or moral nature of the event but because so much attention has been drawn to the planned roping that local authorities decided to shut it down, on this occasion anyway. Owens himself, as well as Larry Simpson, editor of the Van Horn Advocate, are of the mind that a slew of meddling animal rights activists have infringed on Owens right to do as he wishes with the donkeys he claims to have rescued from slaughter. Owens rationale and touching tale of saving herds of wild donkeys is as full of holes as swiss cheese.

As a self-proclaimed showman and event organizer, surely Mr. Owens can replace this travesty with something else. I suggest he and Mr. Simpson and any of their cronies who wish to help out, hire some of those donkey costumes available at select stores. Once in the suit, they could have fake horns placed on their heads and be given a head start out of the roping chute, with the aid of a cattle prod, if necessary. Mr. Owens assures us that the real donkeys undergo only 31 seconds of stress per roping so the humans shouldn't be too bothered by being yanked off their feet by a lasso and stretched out on the ground as the audience cheers wildly.

Although a firm believer in the traditional quill and quire, I must admit that this world-wide web business can be quite useful in rallying support for a cause like this. We must remain vigilant, however, these donkeys are not out of danger yet.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I'm Back and I'm FURIOUS

I have been thwarted and muffled lo these many months but finally, something so heinous has come to light that Herself has been forced out of hibernation to woman the keyboard.

That something is this. In the state of Texas, in a town called Van Horn, it is deemed to be a sport to chase after terrified donkeys on horseback, rope them around their necks and feet, throw them violently to the ground and then pull the ropes as tight as possible. This is done repeatedly until the donkeys are so physically and or mentally exhausted and damaged that they can run no more. Humans pay to witness this event and cheer wildly when the donkeys are thus tortured and tormented. They also bring their offspring so they can be taught this attitude toward other living beings. The town of Van Horn has mistaken 2012 for 1512 and will no doubt be enthusiastically supporting bear baiting any time now.

I am including a link to a petition that will allow you to express yourselves on this matter. It is not only in Van Horn that this travesty takes place, but we can at least begin the process of making our voices heard with this petition.