Not a Good Day to be a Donkey


Donkeys, at least mine, are generally calm, happy-go-lucky, cooperative creatures–unless you want them to go somewhere in particular. Then they act like mules. They love people, and get along well with most other farm animals. Unless they find them specifically annoying. Like, say, Boomer. They pass their days in serene acceptance of their superiority and dignity.

Until the farrier comes to visit.

And then they don’t feel superior or dignified at all.

In fact, they get a little irritated.

Donkeys are smart animals, and they get to know their farrier. Jack has had a long relationship with this particular farrier. He was his farrier before he came to us. They are old friends.

Jack has some special problems with his hooves. He was foundered at some point, which makes his hooves splay out a little.

Foundering can be caused by several things, including poor diet or some kind of extreme stress. Jack has been through several owners, and whatever happened to him is so far back in the distant history of his owner rotation that we don’t know. (We plan to be Jack’s forever family!) He is lucky in that his case is manageable. Some animals have to be put down if their foundering is severe. The farrier told us about a horse he worked with that had a difficult delivery after a seemingly normal pregnancy. She foundered so badly from the stress, she had to be put down.

Jack just looks a little weird and needs regular trimming.

He asks you to love him even though he’s not perfect.

Jack has not led a life of hardship, by the way, so don’t let his Eeyore-eyes fool you. He appeared to be leading a life of pampered leisure when we picked him up and brought him to our farm to make him work with sheep. He probably wishes he could go back to his last home. Well, that’s only because he hasn’t met Poky yet. Once the conjugal visits start up, I think he’ll be feeling pretty chipper! We found Jack through my dear Faye at the little store in town. She called me one day and said, “I hear you want a donkey.” I told her, “I got a donkey.” She said, “You want another one?” And she told me she’d heard about somebody who was looking for a home for a donkey. I told myself I wasn’t going to call, but I did, and then next thing you know, we were heading down the only road I’ve ever seen that is worse than ours. I don’t know why I didn’t have my camera with me that day. Jack was living in the booniest of the boonies–in quite pampered style. They were even having trouble keeping him off their porch. He was perfectly happy living on licorice treats and love, but they couldn’t keep him any longer. They didn’t want to give him to just anybody, though. They came out to our farm to visit and see our goats and chickens and sheep and where we would keep Jack. They’d turned down people before who’d offered to take Jack. We hadn’t had Poky very long and I didn’t really know anything about donkeys, so I was glad we passed inspection and got to have him. You should have seen us trying to get Jack onto the back of the truck into the big crate of pallets we’d prepared for him. We backed the truck up against a bank and they brought Jack around onto the bank. All he had to do from there was walk a few feet across the open tail gate of the truck into the crate. The one thing you can’t do with a donkey is tell them where to go. I think we moved him about an inch an hour. I kept thinking the whole time, WHY DON’T I HAVE MY CAMERA?! Because, you know, there was plenty of time to take pictures while we were inching Jack across the tail gate. Miraculously, we finally got him in there. At least we brought a big enough crate. Someday I’ll have to tell the embarrassing story of the teeny tiny crate we brought with us to pick up Poky and how the farmer laughed and laughed and asked us if we’d come to pick up a cat. Then he built a crate on the spot out of pallets and twine. Because he was a real farmer and real farmers can do stuff like that. That whole thing is just too embarrassing, so forget I mentioned it, but that’s how we learned how to make crates out of pallets.

Poky is just getting acquainted with this farrier and so far they are off to the typically rocky start and she doesn’t really want to be his friend at this point.

It takes a while for them to get used to having their hooves trimmed when they’re young. The first time he trimmed her, she wrestled him to the ground.

He told her, “You ain’t gonna win!”

He says that a lot while he’s trimming hooves.

This time, at least, she didn’t wrestle him to the ground, but she wasn’t real happy about the whole thing, either.

Oh, my.

Poor Poky.

Clover was happy she wasn’t Poky.

The rest of the gang hung back even further. They didn’t want that farrier person coming near them!

Then he finished, patted Poky on the back and told her she’d done a good job.

We gave him $50 and a beer. Because that’s how things work around here. He had his wife and little boy with him. I asked him if he was going to teach his little boy to be a farrier. He said, no way! He wants his son to be educated and get a nice job instead of making money getting kicked by horses. He said, “Would you like it?”

Then, to demonstrate, I suppose, he kicked me.


Sometimes it’s not a good day to be me, either!


  1. Knotted Tome says:

    Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!! I was trying to figure out how to say Jack needed a toe trimming badly, but couldn’t figure out how to without sounding like a total snot. :help:

    Glad he got his manicure! :snoopy:

  2. Johanna says:

    So when it’s manicure time out there, who does Clover and the goats? And can they get the deep red polish, or is it always just a buff job? Maybe if they had more options, they’d be more interested in foot care! And of course they should get bows in their hair to match the polish, just like my friend’s toy poodle did when we were young!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      We do the goats ourselves. 52 holds them on his lap and I man the clippers! (Most people with goats do them on their own. Some people with horses/donkeys do them themselves, too. We actually have the tools to do the donkeys–Jack came with a set of tools–but it’s a little more complicated than with the goats and we haven’t worked up the courage to try it yet!)

  3. Nicolezmomma says:

    I laughed out loud when the farrier kicked you. Not at you, of course. Great writing.

  4. Jan says:

    I thought you were going to say that it wasn’t a good day to be a donkey because it is Palm Sunday and the donkey would be called to Jerusalem to work. See Dina from Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo’s donkey story!

    Two of my favorite blogs have donkey stories at the same time!


  5. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Glad that’s over for Jack and Pokey. I imagine getting your hooves “manicured” is not the most pleasant experience. Even if it doesn’t hurt, it has to be somewhat stressful. Jack and Pokey will make a cute couple.

  6. Karen Anne says:

    The candidate in the lead in the polls for Governor of my state used to be a farrier. I hope that’s good training for dealing with our totally dysfunctional legislature 🙂

  7. Valerie says:

    Most of our donkeys get along pretty well with the farrier. 2 of the boys,Hawthorne and Scruffie, will stand like little donkey statues and submit to the pedicure, takes about 10 minutes per donkey. Our girl, Sassafras, always give him grief when he’s working on the last hoof. Beau (the farrier) calls it “4th hoof syndrome”. Seems Sassy isn’t the only one who will stand still for 7.5 minutes, not a second more. So out comes the yellow rope around her nose, then she stands perfectly. No one has to hold the rope, he just puts it on and she knows to stand still. Baby Keister and Uncle Cubby are another story. Once Beau had to leave without doing Cubby cause I couldn’t even catch him. Once the Cubster sees the white truck pull up in the yard, he’s out of there like lightening, if a donkey can run like lightening. Now that he’s retired, my dh John wants to do them. He does the horses just fine, as they, too, stand like horse statues. I told John to wait til I increase his life insurance, then he can try to trim Cubby.

  8. Diane says:

    What a day you and your donkeys had. We do blacksmithing demostrations at some local events and people always asked if we shoe horse. lol. Then we have to explain to them the diffrence between a farrier and a blacksmith. Blacksmiths at one time did shoe horses way way back when they did everything. lol.

    If I owned a small farm I would be taking in critters who needed homes. Its so nice they have a forever home with you. And the animals are treated well so well they are spoiled. lol.

  9. claudia w says:

    I love your animals….um…I mean furbabies! (and feather babies) You are so good to them, it makes my heart feel good!

  10. MousE says:

    …he kicked you?

    heh, well, I suppose… that gets the point across. But really. Did you kick him back?

    I have to go sign up for the newsletter now!

  11. catslady says:

    LOL great post as always. And I thought doing dog’s black nails were bad :woof:

  12. Sasha says:

    Yeah for Pokey! Just wait till she gets her teeth floated… that will make her cranky. Well at least until she gets doped up, then she won’t really care.

    I think it’s great that you’re going to be their forever home..

  13. CherShots says:

    OMG I can’t begin to tell you how much I love your blog! :snoopy: How many animals do you have and what are all their names? I love that kind of info. There’s always a story behind the origin of their names! Thanks for sharing your little piece of heaven!

  14. Louise says:

    Loved the story. I never heard of a farrier kicking anyone before, though, I have heard of them kicking a horse.

  15. Nancy in Iowa says:

    And Clover really is smiling her superior, no-one-treats-me-that-way smile!!!

  16. Estella says:

    I love your stories!

  17. Barbee' says:

    I love donkeys large and small!

  18. Imogene Burdette says:

    Suzanne, just wondering how long will it be before you get a cow so you can make your own butter, and buttermilk, and cream? And, of course you’ll want to get a couple hives of honey bees so you can have your own honey! You see, there’s no end to the things you need to have on a farm!!

  19. scorwin says:

    My horses aren’t crazy about the farrier coming either. He’s never kicked me but he does kick my big part draft once in awhile as he (the horse) likes to lean on him almost to the point of knocking him over. You know the horses always see what they can get away with!!!

  20. Nicky Hurt says:

    LMBO! I needed a good laugh today! Thanks for sharing!

  21. CindyP says:

    I come from a long line of horse shoe-ers and blacksmiths. Dad always said the word “farrier” was for city slickers! 😆 When I was young, I would go with Dad to help (it was our summer job!). He would never let us trim or shoe the draft horses, we were only allowed to file. But the ponies, mules, donkeys, and some of the saddle horses were ours if they didn’t kick. They always seemed to do better with us kids around than without us. Before I was in high school, that’s what I wanted to do…….I should have stuck with that……..I would be in the country already with my own farm! Instead, I’m sitting in town, living vicariously through your blog and your pictures of donkeys, and chickens, and goats, and farriers.

  22. Valeria in NC says:

    Yay farrier! I was going to mention that Jack needed a trim badly, so I’m really glad to hear he has a good relationship with an obviously great farrier (hold on to him, they are rare). And don’t worry about Pokey, she can point her toes all by herself if she wants to! :chicken:

  23. Runningtrails says:

    lol! That farrier sounds like a good guy! I’m sure he secretly loves it, and them or he wouldn’t do it. It takes a special kind of person to work with animals.

  24. lavenderblue says:

    Poor Jack, poor Pokey, poor SUZANNE! I do believe that after he kicked you, you should’ve at least taken the beer back!

  25. Alyce Shane says:

    I like your farrier! Will he come to Ohio?

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