Uninvited Guest

Our uninvited guest. Note he does not have the typically long ears of a donkey or mule.

Some weeks ago we had an unexpected visitor arrive at Mule Springs. Bruce was working along the banks of Kickin’ Mule Creek, and suddenly he heard a commotion in the bushes. A large horse broke through the undergrowth, sprang up from the creek, galloped past Bruce, and headed toward the barn. Bruce knew the donkeys were grazing somewhere on the property, so he called me to tell me a strange horse was on its way to the barn.

 

Horses react to donkeys in one of three ways—they do nothing, they befriend them, or they attack.

 

At the moment the horse arrived at the barn, the donkeys were grazing at the far west end of the farm.

 

It didn’t take me long to see the horse was a stallion, and that he was badly cut all over his body.  It seemed he had been sliced by barbed wire. I noted a particularly deep gash across his rib cage, puncture wounds on his neck, and multiple lacerations on his legs.  He was also thin, and looked like he’d been fending for himself for some time.  Everything about him suggested “no home” except for his feet. They were neatly trimmed and perfectly smooth.

 

What was a stallion doing out by himself?  And why did everything about him look forgotten and pathetic except for his feet?

 

I was worried the donkeys might come back to the barn and encounter the horse, so I opened the paddock gate as wide as possible and stood back. The stallion trotted into the yard, and I closed the gate behind him.

 

When the donkeys came home, I locked them in their stall away from the big horse.

 

I called all our neighbors, but no one knew whom, nearby, owned a stallion. A few neighbors came to see the horse, and they all agreed he had been out on his own for months – perhaps longer. A few suggested the horse might have been abandoned last year, because its owner could no longer feed the animal or afford the cost of neutering. I was beginning to feel worried about what I would do with this animal when Jason called and said he’d take a look at him.

 

Jason is “the” equine man in this region.  He claims there isn’t a horse alive he can’t get into a trailer.

 

And, it turns out he isn’t a braggart.

 

Jason got out of his truck, and took one look at the horse and said, “You got yourself a donkey.”

 

“What do you mean?” I said.

 

“That’s what I call a mule.”  “This is a mule, not a horse, that’s why his feet look so good.  A mule out on the range doesn’t need his feet trimmed.  They trim down naturally as he walks.  If this were a horse, his feet would look like hell. They’d be cracked and overgrown. It’s the donkey part of the mule that gives him his good feet.”

 

“I’ll take him to my place; I think I know who might own him. Over the ridge there’s group of twenty or more mules, and I bet he came from there.”

Jason begins work. The big animal looks dwarfed, because Jason is a huge man well over six feet tall.

 

Over the next thirty minutes Jason and his son worked a miracle. Bit by bit they coaxed and finally got the mule to jump into the trailer.

The mule shows some resistance to Jason and his son’s coaxing.
Closer. Note the trailer gate on left and the paddock gate on right–eventually Jason will use these two gates to encourage the mule gently into the trailer.
Jason begins closing the trailer gate.
Jason’s son begins closing the paddock gate.

 

You can bet I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard the thump of the mule’s feet hitting the floorboards of that trailer, and I saw Jason swing the trailer gate closed behind the butt of the mule.

Jason–our regional “horse whisperer” has done it again. The mule is safely in the trailer, and on its way to Fargher Farm.

14 thoughts on “Uninvited Guest

    1. Maybe he was a runaway & needs a new home!?! Handsome critter!!!

      Hey Peri- I think he probably does need a new home and someone who will train him and pay attention to him. Jason said he is young — maybe 2 or 3. He has had some work, because he let a neighbor put a halter on him, and he did, eventually get into the trailer. I wish him well. Wish I could save all the animals from abuse, malnutrition, and loneliness. Learned a long time ago, though, the best I can do is do a good job with the animals in my home.
      You can’t tell, but this mule is at least twice the size of the donkeys. 1200 pounds versus 250 pounds.

  1. What an extraordinary story, Sher… once again, you had me on the edge of my seat with this. Brilliantly told, with dialogue and action and everything!

    1. What an extraordinary story, Sher… once again, you had me on the edge of my seat with this. Brilliantly told, with dialogue and action and everything!

      Thanks Reggie — My goodness. I am trying to shorten the stories and hone to fewer words but get in the story as best I can. I’m glad it seems to be working okay. It is my best effort to keep the blog going. Short winded and photos…and keep going. That is my present motto. 🙂

      1. Well, I don’t mind if your posts are long – as you’ve no doubt noticed, mine tend to be a bit longer than average too. How else is one supposed to COVER everything, hey? 😉

      2. Well, I don’t mind if your posts are long – as you’ve no doubt noticed, mine tend to be a bit longer than average too. How else is one supposed to COVER everything, hey? Hi Reggie- Thanks. It is mostly me that minds right now, just because I am so busy with farm projects this year, and it takes me a ton of time to produce long essays. I have never been very speedy — even when I was in school. 😦 Sher

    1. Sher, Thank you for sharing your wonderful stories. I just loved this one!

      Thanks for reading! I hope you are having a good summer up there; I have heard it has been wet. 🙂

  2. Sher, So good to hear of your adventures in a “new” land. It is so different from Ketchikan and I do enjoy hearing of all your adventures and am so glad you still have time to enjoy music too. Thanx for sharing your news and events with us.

    1. Sher, So good to hear of your adventures in a “new” land. It is so different from Ketchikan and I do enjoy hearing of all your adventures and am so glad you still have time to enjoy music too. Thanx for sharing your news and events with us.
      Hi Judi – Thanks for your comments ; I was just thinking of you the other day and hoping you are well. It is true Oregon seems like another planet compared to Ketchikan. I am doing such different things. A new phase in life, I suppose. Really nice to hear from you. Sher

  3. He is so beautiful!! I am happy he found his way to your barn!! Hopefully he will get the attention and love he needs!!! awww…poor fella!

    1. He is so beautiful!! I am happy he found his way to your barn!! Hopefully he will get the attention and love he needs!!! awww…poor fella!
      Hi Janine–I hope so too … 🙂

  4. I’m always intrigued with stories of people who have a magical knack with certain species of animal – elephant whisperers, horse3 whisperers, etc. Note that cat whisperers are few & far between!

    1. I’m always intrigued with stories of people who have a magical knack with certain species of animal – elephant whisperers, horse3 whisperers, etc. Note that cat whisperers are few & far between! Hi Alison — I wonder what that is- about cats I mean. Maybe they just don’t need whisperers…lol. No, I know cats can have their behavior issues just like any other animal. I am sure a cat whisperer is out there somewhere. Thanks for reading. Sher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s