If you are new to this blog and haven’t read many of my previous posts, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There is a recurring theme on this farm. It is never a good idea to leave the property with an empty trailer.
Darling Husband was headed to the cattle sale. We have 4 or 5 steers, (I don’t pay any attention to the cattle) that are headed out for processing. Darling Husband is in the market for more steers or maybe some cattle to work the horses with. I don’t know. What I do know is that, since I pretty much ignore the cattle, I should not have to worry about anything he brings home. It will only be here temporarily and pass through within a few months. Wrong.
Who knew that a herd of miniature donkeys had escaped captivity and had been living the free donkey life in Milam county? Who knew that the county had managed to round them up and drop them off at the auction house? Who knew that on Friday, the “cattle only” sale day of the week, the auction house would decide to go ahead and run the unclaimed miscreants through the sale hoping to get them off the property? All of these things happened and an unsuspecting Darling Husband with an empty trailer just happened to be sitting there with a bidding addiction.
And….that’s how we ended up with Burrito. We knew next to nothing about him except he is cute, he’s male, he’s virtually unhandled, and he’s LOUD! This little 34-ish inch donkey is louder than all three of our standard burros combined. He apparently has his own internal clock because every hour of the day he lets the world know he exists, morning or night. In Darling Husband’s defense, Beau Pony did need a companion since his son that we were babysitting, Peanut, went back to his home. A miniature donkey did seem like a good pasture mate for Beau. After a bucket load of treats a few days confined in a stall, Burrito discovered people are pretty cool and he had hit the jackpot. We discovered that he’s not a jack, and was gelded at some point.
Then….while I’m at the Mustang Magic, geeking out over my favorite trainers and hopping over to John Justin arena to watch the Southwest Donkey and Mule Association show, getting ideas for little Burrito, our neighbor Tra-Exotic sends Darling Husband pictures of some miniature ponies for sale. Tra wheels and deals in donkeys, sheep, and just about any animal he can fit in a trailer. Zebras and camels seem to be animals he has available frequently as well. Tra knows I’m always in the market for the right pony, and just happens to have made a deal involving a donkey(s) that ended with him bringing home 4 mini stud ponies of appaloosa breeding all under the age of 2.
I have this goal of training a six hitch of mini ponies. I’m about three years into this ten year goal. Assembling the right size of ponies, at the right age, fully outfitting them in harness, and building the perfect wagon for them to pull within my set budget (and let’s face it budget is a somewhat fluid term) means this was always going to be a long-ish term project. As soon as we returned from Fort Worth I headed straight to Tra’s to see if any of these ponies would be a good fit. One little yearling caught my eye, and looks like he will pair nicely with one of the current ponies, so in the trailer he went. Say hello to Buckwheat. Beau Pony went from no friends to two friends within a week which should keep a cantankerous little stud happy. Buckwheat instantly took to Beau, but found out that Burrito is a more willing wrestling partner than a 20 year old stallion.
At this point, I may have my team of 6 comprised of 5 mini ponies and if Burrito is willing, 1 mini donkey. Harness should be arriving any day for the ponies that are old enough to put to a load. Buckwheat has a few more years before he can pull, but since he was totally unhandled, we are working on leading and handling his feet. Burrito has also been getting feet and halter lessons, but he’s a donkey and these things take more time. Very low expectations for that one…Soon I will check out his teeth and make a guess as to how old Burrito might be.
So for the first time since we bought the farm, I’m not in the market for any more ponies. Which means everywhere we go there will ponies available for sale, within my budget, at the perfect size for my team. I will do my best to show restraint and focus on the ones at home at least until I get the first two pairs working…