Hatteras Village is having a virtual 5k called the Hatteras Hillbilly Fun Run and Flip Flop Trot. My friend organized it and asked if Rusty the Donkey would be the mascot. Rusty was supposed to come to the Civic Center and do a meet and greet while people signed up and picked up their t-shirts. I was thrilled that my little burro would get his picture on a banner and be a part of the community. He’s such a fun little guy, and I enjoy sharing him with the world.
Well. Rusty the Donkey was less enthusiastic about his role, mostly because that required getting on the trailer. Keep in mind that I have ALWAYS been able to trailer load him. I have a 100% success rate at loading this donkey. I showed up at the barn thinking we were going to hop in the trailer and head 15 minutes down the road to the event. Nope. THREE HOURS LATER the donkey was still not in the trailer.
I tried everything from treats to the lunge rope around his butt. Meanwhile the clock is ticking and eventually it was clear that we were not going to make it. Talk about pissed. I was SO MAD. I had told my entire community and announced on Facebook that my darling donkey would be attending the event. We all know logically it isn’t true, but sometimes I swear it feels like our equines are trying to humiliate us on purpose. The horse who is perfect at home is a nightmare at a show when everyone is watching, or you bring friends out to the barn to visit and your horse is a turd. Sometimes it feel like they have it in for us, even though we know they don’t.
I did absolutely nothing different when I tried to load Rusty the first time. I follow the same procedure every single time, and usually he walks right on pretty quickly. I put him in there every now and then when I’m not going anywhere, just to stay in the habit of doing it. Sometimes when we’ve gone somewhere and it’s time to come home, he doesn’t want to load again. It can take up to an hour to get him back in. He needs a lot of time to think about it, and realize that the only way to go home is to get on the trailer. But he ALWAYS gets in. Until the only day that I actually NEEDED to go somewhere. Ugh. Donkeys.
The only change I can think of is my energy. I must have showed up with an agenda and he didn’t like that. My energy communicated that he did not have a choice; he had to get in the trailer by any means necessary. He doesn’t like being told what to do. He likes to be partners. He likes to be asked and respected. Apparently, I did not fulfill my end of the bargain because he would not load.
The icing on the cake is that I showed up at 7 a.m. the next morning, tried putting him in the trailer, and that little stinker walked right on like it was nothing. He pranced his little fanny right on that trailer like he was happy about it. He ate his breakfast in there, and didn’t even try to get out when I stepped out! What. A. Turd.
At that point you just have to laugh. You can’t take yourself too seriously if you’re going to work with equines. They will humble you over and over again!