Category Archives: Norma Jean

Have you heard the expression, “Stubborn as a Mule”? Well, it’s the DONKEY part that is stubborn. Case in point: Norma Jean.

I’ve had Norma Jean Donkey for almost 26 years.

She is wonderful… very easy to manage, sweet, kind, wouldn’t hurt a fly, took care of both of the Shetland ponies for years.

On the other hand, she is very, very, very stubborn on what she feels she doesn’t need to do.

Now, most donkeys don’t even lead.  Norma will lead.  Most donkeys hate halters.  Norma will wear a halter.

But, where Norma draws the line is a BLANKET.  Uh uh.  Nope.  Nada.  Never.  Don’t ever come near me with that thing.

TRAINING IS A THING… not sure who is training whom here.

When we lived in Grass Valley, I purchased a WeatherBeeta for Norma.  At that time, I realized that I would never win the blanket battle with Norma – especially because I only try to train her when I need her to wear a blanket, which isn’t optimum.  Hence, I usually just brought all the littles into the barn when it was a stormy night.

Here in Paso Robles, you’ve all heard me bemoan my decision to purchase a place without a barn, thinking we’d just build one on this pinnacle of a property.  Well, in California, nothing is easy or cost effective… so we have many shelters, but no barn.  Waaaah.

OK< so on the very few horribly stormy nights when the rain blows every which way, Norma Jean tends to stand in it.    I do not know why she is always drenched during stormy nights.  Everyone else takes cover or huddles together.  Not Norma.  She embraces it – and then she’s soaked and I worry – nonstop.

So for the last few days of this torrential and non-stop rain, I’ve tried everything I can think of to get her under cover.  First, I put her alone in a pen.  She got drenched because she stood out in it.  Then I put warm towels on her – which she liked – but they got wet, of course. Then I put her in my shed with panels around it… and she stood out in the rain.   Today, I put her in the pen with the three newbies, crossing my fingers that they might bond and huddle… but they didn’t.  That might take a few days.  So, tonight, I will warm up the blanket in the dryer (great suggestion reader, thank you) and beg her to please wear it.


Here, Norma is finally drying off as this shed has lots of cover. I put her hay inside so she’d have to go in to eat. But, instead, she put her head in and then stood out in the only portion that was exposed to the rain.

Awww, c’mon Norma, come in! I’m inside the shed, begging her to come in.

She was happy to put her head in and eat, which I thought would be enough to keep her dryish over night.

SUCCESS!! I warmed the blanket and added a bucket of grain. It ends up that this blanket is now a bit small for our girl. Hmmmm. I have no idea when I purchased it but it is about 4″ too short. However, it is fine in the chest so it is worth wearing, for sure.

Then somehow, Norma moved to the big feedbin and the donkey duo moved to the back.

I came back with more hay, and they were in this position.

I went in to take this photo of Norma in her blanket… and PBC (Princess Buttercup) was sent to her own pile.

So I went up to Bully Ethel Merdonk… who looked at me like, “Whaaaat?”

And the best part… the pony (Rocky Balboa) never moved once. I think we know who is boss.


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POOR NORMA… do you wrap-up your horse during the (hot) fly season?

I feel so badly for Norma… she is badly irritated by flies in the summer months and it really exacerbates her donkey psoriasis.

So, this year, I’ve decided to add a few weapons to our arsenal.  On top of the natural herbs, fly sprays and fly masks… I’ve added leg wraps (mesh) and a huge, lightweight, nose/ears covering fly mask.

She hates it.

I don’t blame her.  (The issue is that no one that I have found makes a true DONKEY fly mask… they make a one-size-fits-all-longears and that isn’t true.  Norma is a regular sized donkey and this mask is for MULES AND DONKEYS which is totally a misnomer because donkeys and mules are totally different animals!  Please, someone, make a flymask for regular donkeys… I know, I know, there aren’t enough of them to make it fiscally worthwhile – but I need one.)

Let’s see how long the flymask lasts…

(PS:  She has a fan… and I have only had unfortunate luck with feed-throughs.  Not saying they don’t work for some, just not for my horses.)

Poor Norma Jean… She is a curly donkey and she doesn’t shed until August. So I brush her daily to pull out loose hair and keep her sprayed down. But now I’ve added mesh leg wraps and a huge fly mask. She hates it all.

(Couldn’t help but think of this image when I took Norma’s pic in her new gear.)

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