The drive from ‘ell!

Whell that was the worst 42 minutes of my driving life!  Hitched Merlin and Marshall and all went well until I climbed into the cart, then it seemed as if Marshall was the only one in control.  Had to jump out and stop Marshall twice to fix the lines.  Then somehow  they fell to the inside of the team and I had a hard time reaching them, what a frickin’ mess!  I need my hitching area back, this didn’t work today!  Here is what I have in my hitching area.  The fence line isn’t bad but they have to back uphill to get up to the road and it is something they really do not like to do!


Then going down the driveway Merlin caught his line under the neck yoke and Marshall was not in a stopping mood.  That was another get out of the cart to fix things.  Still didn’t seem like I had a lot of control but all looked okay.   One more check and then it was off to the hay field.

Marshall was wound up and high headed so we practiced whoa and back and I tried to keep him calm.  All was fine until we saw the horses pastured on the backside of your place.  We watched them and then turned around and went back through the field.   About half way I turned around again and went back towards the horses who were running and that was all it took to completely set Marshall off.  By now we were all the way to the back side of the field.  So it was step and whoa,  then a couple of steps and a whoa.  Nothing would settle him, tired a circle and that make him worse.  I could feel a big runaway building.

Jim, who getting ready to swath hay, came out into the field and got a hold of Marshall and helped me get him back to the hitching area.  By now Marshall was almost completely out of control.  Thank goodness Jim was here to help, it probably would not have ended well.

After Marshall was put up I checked Merlin’s feet I could see that the entire back side of his hoof wall, that abscessed so badly, is going to come  completely off.  I think I will retire him until that hoof is rebuilt.  I’m guessing another four to six weeks at the most.

Marshall is going to be confined to going up and down the driveway with Luc until he can settle down and relax.  He is so upset with the deer, I am really hoping he will eventually decide they are just a part of the landscape.  He is just not driveable at this time.

Stats from today’s drive from ‘ell… total was 42 minutes that was 29 minutes moving and 13 minutes stopped time.  They drove 1.32 miles at a 33 mile minute, highest moving out speed was 6.4 miles per hour,  their average walk speed was 4.1… our normal speed is 3 mph.  Thank goodness I wore my heavy leather driving gloves, I really had to pull for all I was worth to keep him under  control.

PLAN B… Marshall gets to ground drive with Luc up and down the driveway, around the machine shed and to the unhitching rail and away from it… that will NOT make him happy.  I think ground driving him is the way to reboot his working mindset.

Today he had the open gate lesson… just because the gate is open… you may not exit until I say you may!  After all was said and done… Marshall came up to me and said he was so sorry… would you rub my ears and just love on me for a few minutes?  All is forgiven Marshall… I will just revise your driving plan!


2 thoughts on “The drive from ‘ell!

  1. Mary Stuman

    Somehow I didn’t think donkeys would be as bad about running off as say mules and horses – please be careful – driving sounds more dangerous than I thought.

    1. Teamdonk Post author

      I do hear that a lot Mary from non riders/drivers. I think I have had way more experience with upset/out-of-control donkeys than anyone I know. Some donkeys are worse than others but all the donkeys I have had have been involved at one time or another in an uncontrollable run away. Marshall is very excitable and he needs more time to become comfortable and know that he really will live thru whatever situation he finds himself in. I watched him interact with a deer in the pasture next to his the other morning and he just watched the deer without aggression. That was a first and tells me more time and patience and to be sharply aware of his triggers to keep us both safe. I have to say I pushed it a little by going back to see the horses and I just can’t do that again. He wasn’t his normal self from the start. We’ll go again hopefully field driving away from the horses! For now I am staying very close to home with him.


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