Category Archives: Norma Jean News

ETHEL MERDONK let us do her feet!

Ethel Merdonk came to us recently from a kill pen in Texas.  She was very afraid of people and hated HATED H.A.T.E.D. the farrier, or any idea of the farrier… or vet for that matter… anyone.  She didn’t like anyone.  No one.

So… I’ve been working with her for a while now.  She tolerates me at first, and then she lets me pet her if I have treats.  Once she forgets herself, she will lean into me and moan.   This girl has a very big wall – yet she loves and wants attention.

The problem was her feet.  They were long when she got here, and they are even longer now.  Because she is so guarded, she would not let me near her legs or feet.

To me, I knew she had had her feet done.  Ethel is older.  She’s been around a long time.  Clearly, she’s had her feet done in the past.  So I knew she knew about feet trimming.  The problem was getting her to admit it.

I figured if I petted her and then ran my hands down her legs, eventually she would let down her guard and lift a foot.  As soon as she did that, I’d know that she knew and the gig was up.

And, a few weeks ago, she flinched.  She lifted her foot when I ran my hand down her leg.


So I knew.  I knew she knew, and she knew that I knew that she knew.


I called Fernando and set up an appointment because I felt confident with treats and a halter, she would succumb and let us trim her.

And I was right.

Success.  Finally.  I am so relieved.

Ethel Merdonk Wonky Donkey can puff herself up and be very threatening.  But now we all know that she’s a softie inside.


She’s not happy about this at all… you can see all of the grey hairs on her forehead.  She is an older gal.

She smells the cookie bribe… (note all the scars on her nose)

Here she is eating the cookie bribe… while Fernando works

Resigning herself.

Here we are praying that she doesn’t kick Fernando… and she didn’t.

A beautiful sight… the fronts done.

All done! Her feet aren’t exactly conformationally even – so we left some foot for next time because we wanted to make sure she was comfortable after this initial trim. MUCH BETTER.

Here she is this evening… looking shorter but much happier. No issues with the trim. She is a happy camper.


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Getting to knooooow you, getting to know all abouuuuut you…

Our work is open again – for outside seating only.  Yay!  So I’ve been working a lot and running up and down stairs because we had to put a tent – to protect patrons from the elements – in our parking lot.

So, I’m kinda beat.  …Sorry about that.

However, I did spend some time today with the newbies.  So far, Ponyman Rocky Balboa has decided that I’m OK.  He will let me pet him to his shoulder, as long as he isn’t eating.  Today, instead of forcing the issue (I want to get a flymask on him to protect is bad eye), I decided to just sit with him as he ate.

For me, the best way to make friends with a horse is to break bread with them.  I sit and just do nothing while they eat.  Sometimes, if it is going well, I will find the best bits of the hay and feed it to him/her.

Today, I noticed that Rocky was standing at a mangate in the 5 acre pasture.  No one EVER has stood there.  So, I figured he was curious about where that particular gate led.  Instead of letting him through, I brought over some yummy bits of alfalfa, and we stood there together.  Well, I sat there.  He stood there.

After a few minutes, he came in closer and I rubbed his forehead as he munched.  Pretty soon he had pushed his hay into my lap.  I think that he is ready for a friend… since the donkey ladies have formed their own club… maybe tomorrow I can mask him.

By the way, Norma loves him.  But, he has no use for Norma.  It breaks my heart.  However, I haven’t given up.  We have lots of time to form a friendship.

Oh, I forgot to say, Rocky has this amazing whorl on his cheek!  Photo below.

I saw him, alone, by the mangate in the 5 acre pasture.

We sat together for a while.

This is his bad side… where he lost the eye.

I had a dog and a pony in my lap. It felt nice.  The field is starting to green up.


As you can see, he has a very pronounced whorl on his left cheek.


The two new girls are completely different, but they love each other.  I caught them grooming the other day!  They have certainly bonded.

Ethel Merdonk is definitely an older badonk.  She is also more wary and more protective.  Little Princess Buttercup Pebbles is a little firecracker.  When I let her into the big 5 acres, she runs and bucks and snorts… she is young and fresh!

Ethel is starting to let me pet her.  But she seems to forget that we were kinda friends the day before – like groundhog day.  Princess BCP always comes up to me with hopeful eyes.  She considers me an endless supply of cookies.  Neither will let me pet them all over… but they don’t run away anymore either.

Ethel Merdonk is older and more wary

I have yet to see Ethel smile.

Princess Buttercup Pebbles is very sweet and fresh and young! Neither will let me pet them all over – yet. It amazes me how Ethel has no long hair – as if it was cut… whereas PBCP is ALL hair!


THE WILD DONKS AT HALTER RANCHWell, we had some excitement last week.

The 4 wild donkeys had escaped onto a neighbors cattle ranch.  We had to use a drone to find them.  Luckily, they came back to the same water spot daily.  So, our GM had every single person from the winery and crew surround them (on the neighbor’s property) and then with arms outstretched (touching fingertips) we human chain corralled them home.

It was pretty amazing and a great cooperation.

Here they are in a very large wildllife corridor that we have fully deer fenced.  We know they are safe here until we find the break in the fence.  (They are the four who are huddled together, having a yummy “Thank you for letting us find you” fabulous dinner.)

Yes, we have two other domestic donkeys and three llamas in there.

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