03-28-2012, 12:41 AM
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I love donkeys but really want a mule! Don't se many mules in the UK! In all my years with horses I can only remember seeing three mules and two of those were down the road and no one could do anything with them. They were only there for a month before they were sold.
Ages ago a retired couple bought what had been three farm cottages and converted it into one beautiful house. Very old, low ceilings, beams through all the rooms, thatched roof and leaded windows. I met them through some mutual friends. One of the things they asked me was why when people rode past they always stared in the windows. I explained that they were not staring into the house but looking at their reflection on the windows to check their position.
This couple went and bought a jenny donkey from the sales ring. She (the moke) had run on the New Forest all summer and was not in the best of condition and obviously pregnant. They asked me for advice after purchasing her.
We wormed her, had her feet trimmed and was groomed. For a feral donkey she loved her new life and soon became really friendly.
She grew bigger and I was worried about her foaling. She decided to foal on a cold wet February night. I was called and when I got there it was obvious there were problems. I called the vet who was out on another emergency. When things got really bad, I called another vet practise but they refused to come as I had already called the ones I use.
The little mare died as I got the foal away from her. Big foal for a little mare.
So, having got the colostrum away from the mare, we fed the foal, wrapped him in towels and I took him home, which was at my parents house.
Somehow this foal ended up with the name Diddle Eye! He was bottle fed, travelled to work and home again in the back of my van with the dogs.
That donkey was a real character. He was impossible to keep in any field, he would lie down and wriggle under any fence. He would spend every night in the pub where he was addicted to tobacco and would empty all the ash trays an steal anyone's cigarettes if they were left on a table. He was never dirty inside.
He was a great source of amusement always acting the clown and more interested in people than other horses.
When we had the Riding for the Disabled group on a Monday he would hand around with the children and when it was time for them to go he would lie down in the door of the arena so they couldn't leave and after moving him he would lie in front of their bus.
The stables were all being rebuilt and the horses were tied up in the indoor arena. Diddle Eye did his usual wandering about the place and one very windy day he tried to push the heavy oak door open to come out the arena and got his head stuck between the door and the wall. When I found him he was unconscious. It took three of the builders to help me lift the door off the hinges and drag him clear. He came around and was affected by the lack of oxygen. For a couple of weeks he had very bad balance and was acting like he was drunk. He preferred to lean against a wall when walking. Gradually he improved and was back to his usual self.
Problems began to arise with him when the horses started to get very possessive of him and would fight over who was his best friend.
One of the residential schools for the disabled children started a petting zoo and Diddle Eye went to live with them. He had a wonderful time, still escaped on a regular basis and would leave the paddocks to go into the school to attend lessons, have lunch with the kids and generally annoy the adults!
When they fenced a paddock for him with chain link below the rail, he just jumped out so his attendance at school was accepted.
He lived a long and happy life there and was well into his early thirties when he was euthanised because his arthritis was so bad. The kids all loved him and he was an encouragement for them to attempt to do things they thought they couldn't.