My donkey and the Iocane powder.

For those of you who have yet to view THE PRINCESS BRIDE, stream or rent it immediately.



Now then… for the story of my donkey, Norma Jean, and the Iocane powder…

Clearly, she has seen the film.

Do you know how I know?

Because she is constantly looking for the poison in what I serve her.


Norma Jean has Cushings.  Yes, I know, donks are not supposed to be able to become Cushings, but let this be a lesson for you.  Donks get laminitis, founder, IR and Cushings.  Especially if a neighbor feeds them carrots all day.

Sadly, due to these conditions brought on by my neighbor feeding extraordinary amounts of treats through the fence to Norma, she has had ample experience with poison (medicine) – and she is not having any of it.

I’ve tried disguising her meds in her favorite treats, and all that did was ruin her favorite treats for her.  Now, she will not touch an apple, pear, carrot, melon or bran muffin.

If I put a new ball of molassessy gooey yum (in desperation) or a little bit of something palate thrilling in front of her, it goes something like this:

Me:  Look at this new, wonderful treat I have for you!

NJ:  Uh, you take a bite first.

Me:  Why would I eat donkey food?

NJ:  Uhhuh, as I suspected…

Me:  No, I really do not like equine cookies… this is a treat for you.

NJ:  As I said, you bite it first.  If you survive, I will maybe eat it.

No matter what I bring to my donkey, she will be suspicious.  I can bring her an apple core and she will sniff and walk away.  “I didn’t see you take any bites…”

Literally, I have to eat an apple in front of her and give her a bite of exactly what I am eating before she will – maybe – take it.   Sadly, I’m not quick enough to slight of hand it so she doesn’t also see me put a pill into the bite I am removing from my mouth to give to her.

Norma can watch the others eat treats out of a bag in my hand, but if I reach my hand into the same bag of treats that I have just finished giving everyone else, she will demand proof of no medicine.

It is sad, really.  She won’t eat anything except what she knows to be safe.  Even if I am giving it to her.

Smart Donkey.


So, when I heard about Nicker Bait Pill Camo, I was immediately on board!  I thought the fragrance of these lovely treats would cover up the smell of the medicine and we’d be home free.  Also, being able to shove the pill inside the pit of yummy goo in the center was a real bonus.

The bag I ordered came almost immediately.  Yay!

So, I went around, specifically within sight of Norma, oohing and ahhhing to all the other horses as I presented and gave to them the luscious Pill Camos.

Oh man, all the horses gobbled up these gorgeous treats!  Of course, I made such a big deal and commotion over it all, the horses were lining up and jostling for position as I made my way around the pastures.

And then, it was Pony Pasture time.

So, I approached Slick with my mouth watering and throwing forth images of ice cream and cake… and Slick grabbed the Pill Camo out of my fingers as fast as he could!  Atta Boy!

And then came Norma’s turn.  She wanted to believe Slick, she wanted to partake… so I exclaimed excitedly and offered the morsel to NJ.

She sniffed…

and walked away.


I called to Norma and told her to “Look, look, Slick will eat yours!” – which he did.

She was not impressed.

I begged her to try.

NJ:  Nope. Shetlands can be very impetuous and not necessarily make decisions for their own good.

Me:  Aw C’mon Norma!  Everyone had one.

NJ:  Yes, but not everyone had the one you are presenting to me.


Case was closed.

So, I offered the last Pill Camo to Dodger who said, “I do what the donkey does…” and walked away after Norma.

I detect Iocane powder.

I detect Iocane powder.


Again, my exchange with Norma reminded me of the one of many awesome scenes in THE PRINCESS BRIDE.  I will share it for you fans.

Man in Black: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right… and who is dead.

Vizzini: But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You’ve made your decision then?

Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

Man in Black: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Vizzini: Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?

Man in Black: Australia.

Vizzini: Yes, Australia. And you must have suspected I would have known the powder’s origin, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You’re just stalling now.

Vizzini: You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? You’ve beaten my giant, which means you’re exceptionally strong, so you could’ve put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But, you’ve also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

Man in Black: You’re trying to trick me into giving away something. It won’t work.


Man in Black: Then make your choice.

Vizzini: I will, and I choose – What in the world can that be?

Man in Black: [Vizzini gestures up and away from the table. Roberts looks. Vizzini swaps the goblets]

Man in Black: What? Where? I don’t see anything.

Vizzini: Well, I- I could have sworn I saw something. No matter. First, let’s drink. Me from my glass, and you from yours.

Man in Black, Vizzini: [Vizzini and the Man in Black drink]

Man in Black: You guessed wrong.

Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…

Vizzini: [Vizzini stops suddenly, his smile frozen on his face and falls to the ground dead]

Buttercup: And to think, all that time it was your cup that was poisoned.

Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.



FILTHY, SKIN and BONES: TOTAL, ABSOLUTE NEGLECT while with a trainer. Meet our June Bucket Fund Trio: Estelle, Gypsy and Royal.  CLICK HERE to read the story and donate!

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