Thursday, September 04, 2008

it's a wonderful day in the donkey-hood

And we badly needed one!

Rafer Johnson has been in great spirits all day long. He brayed for his morning hay at 8, he brayed for his feed and supplements at 10, he brayed when he heard the wheelbarrow coming up from the labyrinth path, he brayed for Salina's lunch at 3.

Around 5, I took out a late afternoon treat of melon and carrot chunks to tide everyone over until the big horseflies go away. Rafer ate a few melon chunks but decided he preferred the crunch of the carrots, so he got most of those.

Salina and Keil Bay ate a number of melon chunks before deciding that perhaps they were a bit weird.

Apache Moon and Cody said, hey, we'll eat anything! And they finished off the melon.

Rafer and Salina shared some hay at his front door. You can see Salina's blind side here, although to be honest, she is pretty savvy about knowing what's there even without the eye. Rafer Johnson loves nothing more than sharing a pile of hay with her, so I'm glad we figured it out so they can still do that while he's stalled.

He is in fine Rafer form - making faces at the camera. You can see his peg leg at the rear of the photo, wrapped with pipe-insulation foam to keep it from rubbing. The stall is very shadowy this time of day, but the wall to the right is where his licking ball, water tub, and salt lick are.

He got a get well card in the mail today and I'm going to put it on the back wall for him along with a few surprises. I figure we'll add one thing at a time to keep him guessing.

Sheaffer, Dougie Donk, Ginger, and Fred have all given me wonderful ideas for more donkey toys and items of interest to keep things hopping out there.

Tomorrow he gets his cast - so I hope once that's done we can settle in and let the healing continue.


the7msn said...

That picture of Rafer's head poking under the stall has me grinning from ear to ear. I am SO glad he had a good day. Has anyone suggested a mirror for his stall? Not a real one, but one of those shiny things that don't break that are used in public restrooms. I've read that horses with stall vices like weaving and cribbing see their reflection and convince themselves that they have company. Sounds crazy, but come month 2 or 3, you may need a few more tricks up your sleeve.

billie said...

Linda, I haven't thought of that idea. I did think about those activity board things that people hang in children's cribs. I am wondering if I could make something he could play around with.

There is so little time in the day/night that he is completely alone. Salina will barely leave his sight - even at night, she grazes right outside his stall and comes to his window and stall doors every few minutes to see him. The geldings are always coming up to to his back door and hanging their heads in. Even with free access to paddocks, my horses come in to their fans during the hot part of the day, and when we switch turn-out, they come in at night. The only way to keep Keil Bay out of his stall for mid-day heat or night-time cold is to LOCK him out!

One of us is out there every hour or so except when we're sleeping - M. goes out every night right before he goes to bed and sits with Rafer for awhile with his laptop.

Dickens the cat is in and out of the stall too - so I don't worry so much about loneliness as depression over the inability to get out and about.

I may be wrong but I simply can't imagine Rafer cribbing or weaving! Gak - if he starts either of those I'll just bring him in the house! :)

Thanks to the donkey recs from Sheaffer's site, I have put a tree branch in the stall so Rafer can de-bark it.

Keep the tricks coming - I like having a lot up my sleeve. You're right that we may need them.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Those are such cute pictures of Rafer. He seems happy enough and I'm sure he loves all of the attention. It is so nice all his friends come to visit him all day. Salina is a treasure, she must love him so. Glad he had a good day.

Janet Roper said...

Those are great pictures, billie. Rafer looks like he's taking things in stride.

I didn't realize Salina is blind. So's Shiloh, on the left side.


jme said...

yay! i'm so happy he's in good spirits! that picture with his cute little nose poking out under his door is so sweet. stop me if i've already suggested this one: a friend of mine once gave me a book on how to train trick horses (just goofy stuff like teaching them to smile, count, etc.), and it's a good way to keep stall-bound horses occupied. don't know how well that translates to donkey, but if you're bored or desperate one day... good luck with the casting tomorrow :-)

billie said...

Arlene, he and Salina are like a mutual admiration society. He was her best pal when she had the abscess and knee issues, and now she's staying with him through this broken leg.

The funny thing is that we take Salina on her halter for a walk around the arena at least once a day and both of them handle that fine. I guess because of the way we've set things up they know we're making every effort to keep them close, so they don't stress the little separations.

billie said...

Janet, did I know that about Shiloh? It almost seems I did, but in any case, yes, Salina lost her right eye many years ago and she gets along quite well without it.

The fascinating thing is that she still "blinks" - you can see the muscles in that socket blinking. Oddly though, she doesn't mind in the least having the socket gently brushed and sponged out so it doesn't get dusty inside. It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to learn her habits and the special things about her.

I've always wondered if you had two horses blind on opposite sides whether they'd make a good driving pair. (blind sides in, I mean)

Have you written about Shiloh on your blog? I would love to read his story.

billie said...

jme, I don't think you have - I was thinking one day this week that I should do what Victoria did with Siete in the winter to keep her busy - clicker training. If not careful, Rafer Johnson would end up with the clicker and I would be the one doing the tricks. :)

He actually marched out of his stall tonight while it was being mucked. He didn't try to run, but wanted so badly to get out of there. I confess we allowed him to stand in the barnyard and graze for a bit. Because he did so well - not running, coming back in the stall easily - we let him graze a bit more while I put shavings in his stall tonight. He went back in again with no problem.

Today was definitely a big shift back for him to his normal Rafer self.