Author Archives: dawndi

About dawndi

I've been a very happy film producer (commercial and long format) for over 20 years. But, the horses have always been foremost in my heart... Currently I live on a small ranch in California with my wonderful husband, 13 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats and various woodland creatures. Life is good!

August Bucket Fund: We helped save the starved 34 Year-old gelding, Shanghai!

Oy… how many of you saw the viral video of the poor, sway-backed, ancient horse, out in a field, starving?

Yup.  It happened near to us in Southern California.  Neighbors had been trying to feed him and get help for him, but his owners did not want to surrender him.  Two rescues continued to contact the owners and offer help.  Finally, they surrendered him.

The previous owners did not realize he needed to have his teeth looked over.  The poor gelding could not chew the alfalfa that was offered to him.

Here is a still from the viral video.

This is the image that went viral.

The sign the owners made to let passerbys know that he was OK.


I had seen the video but didn’t realize that he was so close to home.  When I received the call, I said YES.  The two rescues wanted to make sure he was vet checked, had farrier and dental exams.

All Seated In A Barn will be taking care of Shanghai and we have offered to pay his first round of vet, dental, farrier and feed bills!

This feels so good.

His first day in rescue

He was given soft food.

Look at this hips. He got a bath and grooming. They did his bloodwork which came back surprisingly good for an old guy.


I asked the rescue if Shanghai was well enough to show his personality, and this is what they said:

He is SO sweet!! He is literally the sweetest old man – such good manners – loves attention, loves molassas oat cookies

LOOK at him after only a week of soft food and medical attention.  His teeth were done yesterday.

Brighter and less ribs!

His body is smoother and he’s clean.

Re-feeding is a slow process but you can already see an improvement in a week!



Thank you all!!  Although we didn’t fund raise for him, we had enough in the Bucket to save him.  Wonderful!!

I will keep you posted on his recovery!

Thank you all!! This just feels good!



FUND TOTAL AS OF TODAY:  $25 (Thank you!)   We’ve saved POWDER PUFF 2/7/22 ($800),  EDDIE 2/9/22 ($1200), SURSHA 3/16/22 ($780),  BABY FRED 4/7/22 ($650), “CC” Close Call  5/17/22 ($550), PACIFICA  5/22/22 ($780), DONNA 7/25/22 ($600), MAXIMILLIAN 11/8/22 ($1300), “TJ” 1/8/23 ($1000), SWEETIE 1/8/23 ($700), MAMA and BABY 5/9/23 ($500)

Horse and Man Foundation, Inc has a new Fund button. KEEP THEM OFF THE TRUCK FUND. This Fund will go on all day, all the time. It will always be here. If you want to save a horse or donkey from slaughter, you know we will do that here.

All donations are 100% tax deductible!  Thank you!


If you receive this post via email, click here to donate!


Click here for the KEEP THEM OFF OF THE TRUCK donation fund!Screen-Shot-2021-11-09-at-1.42.36-PM.png

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

The good and the bad about having a free-range donkey.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 | Filed under Norma Jean

As most of you know, my 30 year-old donkey, Norma Jean, is now a free range donkey during the daytime.

This is mostly good, but sometimes, not so good.  Like the image below… this happens daily.  Not only is it potentially bad for our porch to have a free-range donkey clunking about, but this vision tugs at my heartstrings and I want to stop all I’m doing and run out to see what she wants.  This is not so good.

This is a daily thing.


I’m letting her roam because she’s old enough now where she doesn’t cause a lot of damage when she’s out, and she’s old enough to not get herself into trouble.  Earlier this year, her paddock mates were intimidating her… so I felt it best to separate her.  However, separating her made Norma Jean unhappy.   Hmmm, what should I do?

Well, I decided to let her be a donkey in the wilds of our home in Grass Valley.

Norma is quite respectful.  She knows when it is time to go into the barn for the night and she puts herself away.  She does have a daily pattern of roaming, but she also breaks away and does whatever she wants, when she wants.

Mostly, she will roam over to her old paddock and spend time, eating fallen bits of hay or brown grass on the other side of the fence from her old friends.  Then she usually meanders to the green weeds of the new tree (which is watered daily) and up the hill to the upper pastures.  It is about mid day that she wanders up to our porch, and sits at the front door.

I’m not complaining (OK, I am a bit complaining) because she is healthier than she has been in a few years since she’s been free-range.  She looks good for an older girl.  Norma is bright and reasonably happy – for her – Norma is not very emotive, however she gets her point across and is able to tell me what she wants and what she doesn’t want.

Versely, though, when I tell her what I want or don’t want, Norma becomes deeply offended.  For example, if I shoo her off of the porch, she pouts an inch off the porch for an hour or so.  If I need to get her back into the barn for some reason, she will greatly resist until I raise my arms behind her – and then she’ll literally RUN back to the barn, as if I am the worst/scariest/meanest human ever to be behind her.

I cannot tell in words you how much I relish watching her move about and make choices daily.  I find her life decisions fascinating.  For me, stealthily  watching her from my office window is a total joy.  I always stop what I’m doing when I see her down there, and watch.

If you have the opportunity to have a free-range donkey, you should.  However, they might be a (a little bit of an ornery porch ornament).  But, they might just fill your heart with the magic of donk.

I came out, of course, and gave her a treat, which made her smile.

HERE IS A VIDEO OF NORMA ON MY PORCH and me trying to figure out what she wants…

Norma Jean loves to sit on the porch and take a nap.  She also looks in the windows.  Usually she wants a treat.  Any fruit, please, and she loves cold cucumbers.

Click here to watch video.

Click image to watch Norma Jean at my door… begging for treats.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!