Tales from the Barn Boards – A Donkey’s Tail
A donkey became part of the herd a few weeks ago. A donkey! The horses keep a little distant and pull a frowny face when he gets too close. The first time Geo saw him, the regal thoroughbred gave a wide-eyed gawk. What is that! He backed up a bit and snorted in confusion. Perhaps it is those long elfin ears or the curly coat, but he doesn’t look like a horse, so where does he fit in to the field? The appeal is in those big round Charlie Brown eyes. His presence stirred the memory of a favorite travel book, “The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims” by Kevin O’ Hara. The Pittsfield Massachusetts native chronicled his journey round the coast of Ireland in 1979 with Missie, the donkey pulling the cart. The story spoke often of her personality and attitude. This donkey seems to dislike being left alone and can call up a storm with that bray if neglected in any way. What a holy fuss he can raise. Forget about key codes and motion detectors; get a donkey as a house guard. The earthy call can probably be heard all the way downtown.
Every equine no matter how large or small is born with a tiny magnet inside their heart. Some people tune into that energy and cannot resist the draw. A small ad for a horse rescue on social media gave perhaps a last chance to be around horses. Years ago, I made a quiet living working as a barn manager on a private farm. My skills were strong than, but, thirty years later, is it still possible to be around these magical creatures? Since February, Sunday morning and lately Wednesday evening, I volunteer at a local equine rescue. Strength and skill does comes back. Now I am even so brave as to start riding again.
The donkey is tender footed this Sunday in the pasture. Now that the warm weather has returned, he wears a fly mask especially made for donkeys covering over his ears and all the way down to his nose. The mesh makes it hard to see his eyes. I call it his Super Hero mask. What is his alter egos name? Narcisetto? Briccone? Forza! Seeing him so uncomfortable, I rubbed up my hands for a reiki session. One hand on the withers and one on the rump, I called in the energy from the earth below, sky above, all four directions and into the center we go. He stood passively and did not shake me off. I neglected to ask and that may be why he felt warm in my hands, but like a rock underneath. He was heavy. His energy was not involved. I made a picture image of golden rays of light beaming through his legs and sending the pain into the earth. I got the idea to shake him a bit and still he did not stop me. Horses give back energy right away. This little body will take some time to understand.
This went on for a few minutes. I asked him to signal he was getting something and he gave the nose to the arm saying yes. When he moved out from under me, I let him go. I took out a bottle of an aromatic oil labeled joy. At first, he tried to eat the vial. However, a rub of it on the hands and on him did get a reaction. There is an Italian expression, qui casca l ‘asino – which means here’s the rub and he did. I am not sure if it was affection or he thought I was a handy post but kept rubbing his head up and down. Push, push, rub up and down Frances. Good grief, he was animated, but did he feel better? He was not disconnected and that is a start 🙂 Rub, rub, rub my Frances, rub my nose, rub my nose.
The donkey has a condition called white line of the foot. There is a white line where the outside hoof wall meets the sole of the foot. If it separates, bacteria can grow inside and further damage the structure. It is a painful condition. A topical treatment can be applied to the bottom of his hoof, if he will allow it. A rare free Monday, I went in for morning chores and to connect. He said no to the reiki at first, walking out from under the hands when offered. Later in the morning, he accepted a short reiki and allowed one hoof to be treated. I tried to lift the other front hoof but could not get him to shift his weight to the other leg. Plus, he kept snapping his teeth toward me. I had to give up after a while. Donkeys are heavy when they lean over on you. The skies cleared and I lead him out to pasture. He still limped. But, the rains softened up the earth and gave hopefully a less painful step. He started to lean on me with his head half way to the gate. I merely steered us into the field. He communicates in his own way. The impression was he has a physical problem and is a little lost what to do. He would cooperate but it hurts too much. He cannot understand the treatment leads to healthy hooves. If I could distract him for a few minutes, than I did my job, he forgot about his pain for a moment.
A donkey’s tale to be continued.
Here is a link to a webpage for Kevin O’Hara that includes video of he and Missie on the road during their travels around the coast of Ireland.