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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Only one comment so far...

  1. Bunny

    One of the reasons some horses (mules, donkeys) hate blankets is that there’s static electricity that generates unpleasant little shocks when the blanket interacts with a hair coat. So, when warming in the dryer, either use a dryer sheet (unscented – scent is irritating to skin) or some of those inexpensive “dryer balls” which can be used multiple times – both are good at removing static.

    I too have an anti-blanket guy, he’s 30+ and even starting as a baby he absolutely would not tolerate a blanket though he wasn’t afraid of them – I used to catch him ripping blankets off of others so he had to be in a paddock where he could see other horses but not personally destroy their turnout blankets, a task at which he was extremely efficient. He actually wasn’t ever able to be saddle trained, either; I was told too “cold backed” and “cinchy” so guessing he was always hypersensitive to anything on his body. Yes, I kept him, a pasture ornament for 30 years and counting. But because at his age now he’s susceptible to rain rot (scratches, mud fever – though I have little if any mud at my farm, drainage is great here) if it is bad weather he stays in the barn, which he isn’t happy about either.

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