Tuesday, November 10, 2009

we have redtails and donkey races today

This morning I went out with the intention to get all the barn chores done early, as we are expecting two days of possibly heavy rain associated with Hurricane Ida. I fed breakfast tubs and then stood in the little barnyard while the horses and donkeys ate.

The redtail couple came out together for the first time. I've only seen the male, in a series of close encounters written about previously, and although I assumed there was a female close by, had never seen her.

Today, beneath the gray sky and still brilliant autumn color, including that rich tobacco brown of leaves past their prime, the redtails carried on a lovely conversation, pinwheeling along from fence post to fence post, while I watched.

As equines finished up their tubs, we opened the arena gate in hopes that the donkeys and Salina would go in and get some exercise, but the way it ended up was that Rafer went in, was quickly joined by Redford and Salina, and then Rafer decided he wanted to play, but on his own terms.

So he went through the arena fence into the paddock where he could face off with Redford through the fence. The two of them played a new donkey game today, in which they played hide and seek from either side of the fence and the mounting block. Redford would peep out at Rafer, then paw the ground. Rafer would prick his ears and Redford would gallop a full circle of the arena, return to Rafer, roll, and then they would start it all over again.

At some point Rafer decided he wanted to race. The dirt paddock is a long rectangle that parallels the arena, and since we're using the back field this week, Rafer was able to run down the paddock, through the back gate, and around the outside of the arena all the way around except for the short side by the woods.

He and Redford raced like this for about 15 minutes, and at some point Cody joined in from the back field and he and Rafer were neck and neck on the outside, while Redford kept up inside the arena.

I have never seen anything quite like it. I began to have visions of building a race track, and having our own donkey derby in the spring. We could drive the truck into the center of the arena and have our own private tailgate party!

As quickly as it began, it ended. I'm not sure who the winner was, but they got quite a work-out this morning and should be all set to enjoy the rainy part of the day when it rolls in.

For now we have a slight wind blowing and leaves gliding and then cascading in groups as the wind picks up. The longer the rain holds off the better, but we're ready for it when it gets here.


Grey Horse Matters said...

They sound hilarious, I'm sure they had a great time too. Maybe they know the rain is coming and wanted to get all their exercise out of the way, just in case. I'd love to see you hold donkey races in the spring it could become THE annual event. Instead of wearing huge expensive hats like the ones worn at the Kentucky Derby we could all get Minnie Pearl straw hats with the price tag still on.

billie said...

Arlene, it was hilarious.

My vintage hat collection has long been gifted back to the thrift stores from whence it came, but I suggest we split the difference between KY Derby finery and straw hats with price tags and all wear our best thrift store find!

Michelle said...

I'm in for the party - although I'm a little thin in the hat department. At least I have a few months to find something appropriate! Sounds like a blast - hope the rains aren't too bad for you!

Claire said...

where was the camera? :-)

billie said...

Michelle, did you get more than rain where you are? I haven't kept track of this system beyond the fact that it arrived here today, but I imagine it came from your neck of the woods.

billie said...

Claire, where it usually is right when I wish I had it - in the house!!

ponymaid said...

Billie, we thoroughly enjoyed the tale of donkey antics, though I fear the woman now expects me to race about in similar fashion. It goes without saying that Jack is all for it. Will you be having a tailgate party when you hold the races? I could come to that and bring my tub of gummi worms. I prefer spectating to working up an ungentlemanly sweat. How nice that Rafer doesn't even have to think about the long-ago broken limb.

billie said...

Oh, Sheaffer, you would NEVER merely spectate. You would be the Master of Ceremonies and I'm sure derby participants would appreciate being awarded with gummi worms.

I forgot to mention that this week the November Hill herd discovered Medjool dates. OH MY. You should have seen the expressions, the faces, the studied enjoyment of these special treats.

Redford's excellent manners go south once you give him one and he realizes there are not many many more forthcoming.

I appreciate you remembering Rafer's long ago broken leg. Whenever I watch him run I say a huge thank you for the fact that he has healed so completely and that he can run like a wild man when he chooses!

Matthew said...

Gummi Worms and Medjool Dates. I would not have expected donkeys to like both of these!

billie said...

I think we still have much to learn about donkey taste and cuisine!

jme said...

they sound like such a pair of clowns! i love donkey antics :-) if they don't just put a smile on your face, what will? we had a pair of donkeys at one farm where we boarded and all day they would stand shoulder to shoulder, nipping at each others legs, then tear around the paddock together and meet in the middle to start all over again. even the horses couldn't resist standing at the fence and watching the fun.

billie said...

jme, they are the life of the party. which is saying a lot, given that we have a barnful of personality plus equines in the first place!