Horses · Project Pack Donkey

The donkey redeems himself…

My donkey was invited to be the mascot for a virtual 5k here on the island (virtual meaning you run it on your own time instead of doing it as a group because of social distancing), and he was supposed to make an appearance on the evening when they handed out t-shirts and race bibs. Well. This post will tell you the whole sad story of how my donkey disappointed the entire village by refusing to get in the trailer to go to the event.

I was bound and determined to get Rusty in the trailer to walk our 5k around Hatteras Village like all the other participants. There was no urgency; we could do it whenever. I picked a Sunday afternoon when the weather was nice, and enlisted my mom to help load and then walk with us.

My mom has never handled horses or donkeys before, and she did great!

Wouldn’t you know it, that little turd of a donkey walked on the trailer in 2.5 seconds flat like he had not embarrassed me in front of my entire community only a few days prior. It is much more common for the donkey to be cooperative and sweet, so I wasn’t all that surprised. Of course he gets right on when I don’t NEED him to. You have to laugh though; you cannot take yourself too seriously if you’re going to work with equines.

We drove 15 minutes to the Civic Association to start our walk. We made a loop all the way around Hatteras Village and ended up doing 4 miles instead of 3.1, the 5k distance.

Trucking along Highway 12 (it’s a two lane)
A snack break in front of the Methodist church

I have zero complaints about Rusty’s performance. He walked quietly the entire way around and never once got spooked. Vehicle traffic passed us pretty closely and he wasn’t bothered at all. We saw bikes and a few people came up to pet him and take a picture. He handled all of that like a pro.

We visited my brother’s outfitter business for another grass snack.

It occurred to me as we were walking that we would have to cross two bridges in order to do our intended route. They are both tiny little bridges over creeks that run through the village. You can see in the picture of our route what a watery place this is!

We started to cross the first little bridge and Rusty slammed on the brakes. It’s impressive how he could immediately sense the difference in footing even though it was paved the same as the road. After a minute of holding up traffic and coaxing him, he followed me across. At the second bridge he didn’t even pause, just kept right on trucking!

Crossing the second bridge like a champ! Notice the floppy, relaxed ears.
In front of Lee Robinson’s General Store, one of my favorite stores on the island!

I think having my mom along was very helpful because it made Rusty feel like we were a little herd. He does fine with just me and him, but having my mom with us was an extra layer of security for him.

Passing Jeffrey’s Seafood at Hatteras Harbor Marina

The real test was whether he would get on the trailer to go home. Would this be another time when I spend 2 hours convincing him, or would he walk right on like a champ? I admit I had some anxiety about it, because I didn’t want to spend my evening in a parking lot begging a donkey to cooperate.

Happily, Rusty balked once and then walked on the trailer. It really could not have gone any better. He did everything we asked with a happy attitude and seemed to enjoy himself very much! My only complaint about the day is that I forgot to take a single selfie!

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