Have you ever tried to move a donkey who didn’t want to move? Yup, I did that today, alone… here’s what I learned.

It has been a long time since I have had trouble moving an equine from one paddock to another – because the place is rigged to make sure I don’t have any issues.   You see, over the years, I’ve made all the paddocks connect through a labyrinth of chutes and ladders  – on purpose.  I did this because I have had trouble moving horses, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have issues in the future – basically because sometimes you really need to move a horse.  Now, I can open a gate and either tempt or shoo someone to where I need them to go, usually.

But, not today.

Donkeys can just decide to not do something.  They have very strong courage of their convictions.  They aren’t like horses.  Donkeys are many wonderful things… but they are also suspicious, smart and stubborn – especially if you suddenly want to move one.



The farrier is coming.  I’ve never had trouble catching her for the farrier, however, last time, she ran away from me and would not be caught.  Her hooves grow oddly and quickly, so she really needs to be done.  I didn’t want a repeat of the same scenario, so I decided to move her into the barn with Norma for the night.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Easier said than done.


It has been a long time since I’ve had a non-compliant equine around here (cookies always help that I seemed to have lost my marbles around this.  It would have been smart to have had a plan.

But I didn’t.

I just went out there, put her halter on and tried to lead her to the barn.

She was suspicious, smart and stubborn.

I completely lost it when I put my entire body weight into pulling, which is clearly ALWAYS the wrong thing to do… What was I doing?!

I sat on the ground and started shaking my head.  I knew better than this…   Here I was, dirty and sweating, frustrated … and there she was, in the same spot, looking at me on the ground.

It was at this point that I actually started thinking about a plan.


Sadly, my plans forgot to include grabbing my phone and taking photos of each step.   So I retraced my steps for you below.

After I made my plan, I did succeed after about 20 minutes… but I had called a very generous neighbor to come and help – and I think knowing that I had backup on the way, made it easier to relax and take the proper time required.

I had just shut the barn gate on Ethel when my neighbor arrived.


Ethel was under this tree.

The barn is behind these trees… FAR AWAY.  I had to get her across 2 paddocks and the driveway.

First, Dominic had to vacate his paddock.

I put him in the paddock below the arena. For some reason, there were a lot of flies in there, even though no horse has been in it for months. Poor guy. I stopped and put more fly spray on him.

Next, I had to move these guys so I had a clear path with Ethel.

Watermelon. That’s all I had. The treats I had ordered from Amazon were stolen from in front of our house yesterday.  Luckily I had watermelon.  Ethel loves watermelon.

On the way, I noticed a tree that Norma had shed herself upon.

I used this shorty lead rope hidden in my pocket – just to have something on her.

Oh, I forgot, I had to put Norma in her little outside paddock so the barn was clear.  She’s watching all the activity.

OK, now I had to put the two hooligans (Rocky the pony and Princess Buttercup Pebbles) into this mini area inside their paddock.

Then, I had to get Ethel through this gate which leads through Dominic’s paddock.  She was not willing to walk with me or on a lead…

I let the hooligans back out and they watched through the gate we just cleared.

Now we had to get all the way across Dominic’s paddock to his gate on the other side. This took forever.  Every ten feet, I put out watermelon and waited.

We made it to Dominic’s gate…  Watermelon. I put watermelon in her bowl and set it 10 feet ahead of her, and then I walked away and didn’t look at her. She would walk the 10′ to her bowl and ate the watermelon. Then I’d go up to her very carefully and move her bowl with a new piece of watermelon… I did this the entire way… It took 20 minutes.

This was the hardest stretch of land. The driveway. I had to get her to cross the driveway and go into the barn, without being distracted to take off to the lawn or the house.

WATERMELON. Watermelon was her undoing! Here she is, in the barn catch pen. I could not believe it! My neighbor pulled up just as I shut the gate.

Here is Norma, upset that she had to give up her outside rights for the night. You can see Ethel between Norma’s ears, outside.


That was my plan.  Watermelon every 10 feet, and then walk away.  Watermelon, walk away.  I did that for the entire length.  Ethel is a sucker for food.  Thank the donkgods!



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)

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2 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    I had the farrier help me. She led and I walked behind her, herding her back to her paddock. Princess Buttercup Pebbles was so happy to be reunited!

  2. Julia S

    Ha! I love the photo trail of your brilliant plan — did you have to execute it again to get her out of the barn and back to her paddock?? :))

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