When Donkeys Attack!

You all have heard me speak of my wonderful, mild mannered jenny, Norma Jean.  Norma is the sweetest and most gentle equine on the place.  She has the kindest eyes, the softest, most nubile furry donkey lips and never does anything that she isn’t supposed to do.

Sweet Norma…

Except yesterday…

What makes a donkey go bad?

Is it because my farrier called her ‘Enorma’?  (She has gained some weight…)

Is it because her ears were itching in the summer heat?  Did one of the Shetlands whisper something untoward in her largess receivers?  Was she tired of being let out alone?  Had she just decided to “do something with her donkey life” and was on a mission to be creative?

I have no idea.  I can only show you the spoils…  Here is my pictorial of the day Norma Attacked!


Every week, I let certain horses out to eat the irrigated lawns around the house.  They get some fresh green grass and we get cheap lawnmowing.  It works out well.

Most of the time.

Yesterday, I let Norma out to graze.  Now, she has a bit of a weight problem so I really didn’t need to let her out.  But, since we don’t speak of her weight to her face, I didn’t want to make an issue of it.  So, I decided to let her out since it was way past being her turn.

There she was, standing at the gate, ears pricked towards me.  As I approached, she sucked in the huge amount of air that she needs to force out the bray heard around the neighborhood.  I caught her mid-gasp and called her name, “Noorrrrrrrrrmaaaaaaaaaa…”.

Let me digress here.  I have found that if I catch her during her air intake, I can generally stop the bray from occurring.  I guess she figures that as long as I recognize her attempt, she really doesn’t have to put out the effort.  Or, something like that… Anyway, if I call her name when she is preparing to call mine, I can cut her off at the pass.

“Noooorrrrmmmmaaaaaa, it is your turn today!”  She forces herself to stand back from the gate so I can open it and then she darts in her donkey stiff stride right past me and onto the green grass.

OK, all seems fine.  I totter off, back into my writing den, and forget all about her.  After all, its Norma.  What could go wrong?

Famous last words.


The first attack was a brand new (really only one day old), gorgeously full and robust Mexican Heather plant that my mother had just bought for me from Home Depot.  It was sitting on the grass, in a pot, making sure it got a good dose of sprinkler water to keep it moist and beautiful as it got used to its new pot.

Buzz Cut and thrown around the place

News to me, I had no idea that donkeys liked the taste of Mexican Heather…  Not only do they like the taste, but evidently, they like to drag the plant around with them.  Alas, I found this Heather, unpotted, and laying on the lawn approximately 50 feet from its original home.  Upon the discovery, I immediately replanted it, gave it water and put it in a donkeysafe position.  Luckily, my mother hates the internet and cannot find this blog…


After the horrifying Home Depot plant attack, I decided to see what Norma was up to…  I looked up and noticed that the locked hay barn door was… open.  Wha?  It has a locking chain that is equine proof – or so I thought…  How could it be open?

And then I saw the tips of her ears.  (How can you not?…)  She was in front of the hay barn just standing there.  She wasn’t eating the fruits of her endeavor, she was just standing there.  It was as if she had pulled her Houdini move and was waiting for someone, anyone, to notice.  “Wow Norma!  You are really a very talented donkey!”  Or maybe she just wanted me to know that she could probably get out of any locked enclosure at any time but just stays in her paddock to keep the ponies in line.  I have no idea.  But, those nubile lips and teeth clearly opened the hay barn.

I went running down towards the barn as fast as my stumpy legs could take me. It worked.  As soon as she saw me coming, she skeeedaddled, in her donkey way, somewhere.

Chain hanging defeated, hay door open


As I got to the barn, I see that all was not well.  I mean, the barn gate was still closed – she didn’t open that one, thank goodness — but everything was tossed about.

Upon closer examination, I see that Norma had stuck her head through the fence boards of the barn and pushed the (empty) grain barrel over.  Was she upset that I was out of grain?  Probably.  We all know how much she likes to eat…

Then I noticed that all of the buckets and eating bowls were tossed as well.  I still don’t know how she did that —  short of grabbing a broom stick, pushing them about and then restanding the broom in its place.  This one is still a mystery.

I have no idea how she did this…


Now, I’m scratching my head and walking towards the house when I notice that I can see the house easier than I should be able to from this vantage point.  Hmmmmm.  Something is different.  I start focusing on why I can see the house from here and then I notice.  OMG.  Hubby is gonna kill me…

Elephanta Donkey has chewed down the entire grassy knoll of 6′ high plants.  (No wonder she wasn’t eating the hay at the hay barn…) This purposeful grass knoll blocks our view of the road from the house.  Not anymore.  Enorma has pruned these old and wonderful, used to be tall, grassy reeds.  Gee, thanks, Norma.  Now I’m gonna have to glue all the fronds back onto the plant before Hubby returns.  Sigh.

A mere stump of its former, leafy self…


And, as I run to find Donkeywoman to give her a piece of my mind — I see her, donkeyflailing, ears flapping, in her stiff legged full-on galumphy run towards her paddock.  She puts herself away (like a good donkey) and stands behind Slick.  She turns and looks at me with her most earnest donkey look and says balefully…

“Wasn’t me.  It was the pony.”

Y’know, she often gives me that look and I have always, in the past, believed her.

Not anymore.

“Wasn’t me… it was the pony.”

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

5 comments have been posted...

  1. Ann Carranza

    I used to have a pony that looked just like Slick (his name was Paint) and Norma is a character just like our donkey, Chiquita was. They’ve been gone for many years now but reading this story brought all the fun and liveliness back. Thank you so much for the enchanting story.

    (By the way, does Slick have a spot in the shape of a cat on his other side?)

  2. michelle

    I LOVED this story! Donkey’s are a kick, and it sounds like Norma is the lead kicker!

  3. Robynne Catheron

    OMG, Dawn, that was fabulous- I’m in tears. What an absolute HOOT! I just love that littls stinker after this escapade, and I’m sure you will again, someday…

  4. Maggie

    This had me rolling in laughter. Anything that isn’t tied down gets moved to a different place around here with 6 of those little donks. LOL

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