There was fencing that needed fixing, toxic plants (not many, thank goodness!) that needed removed, pastures needed seeding (thankfully we moved just as the summer rains were gearing up!) and the barn needed a thorough cleaning.
In addition, I was on the hunt for a friend for Secret to keep her company.
By the end of May, Secret came home, along with a former track pony by the name of Cowboy.
Unfortunately, that plan backfired, as Cowboy was obsessed with Secret. If I took her to work out front, he paced and hollered. In turnout, he kept her moving and if she didn't listen, he kicked her. She lost weight and had lots of cuts and scrapes. He was soon placed in his own pasture, but that was not acceptable to him and he was clearly not happy. It was stressful.
I had been on the hunt for a donkey...I have been wanting a donkey for years, and the week after Secret and Cowboy arrived, my husband and I drove out to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in Clermont, Florida.
We decided on a jenny and a week later, the 10 year old came home. Her name had been Flower, but I immediately started calling her Blossom. I also call her Petunia, Long Ears, Funny Face and Donkey!
Another week passed before I allowed Secret and Blossom in the same pasture together. It wasn't exactly the easiest introduction....Secret was fascinated and wanted to be let off the lunge line that I had her on, while Blossom was not so sure about this big chestnut mare and wanted no part of her. By the end of the afternoon, they were buds. Cowboy returned to his home in Ocala a few days later and peace settled over the farm.
It hasn't always been easy and not every day is peaceful, especially when one has an accident prone horse, but the rewards are worth it. Secret is bonding with me in ways that a horse can only bond with the person they see 24/7. She is not a warm horse to begin with (typical chestnut mare!) but she nickers to me every time I come down to the barn and while she still is ticklish to groom, she suddenly loves when I take a towel to her face and ears and leans into it. Baby steps!
We had a few weeks of her settling in. There were scary noises in the woods behind the barn (apparently a mama bear and her cubs) as well as deer and turkey and a horrible Fourth of July to deal with, which I truly thought both Secret and Donkey would be dead in the morning. There were a few more injuries, but thankfully nothing serious, other than a bad bump to the eye, which resulted in a cautionary $150 vet bill to ensure that the eye itself was ok (it was.)
Secret seems to have adjusted to her new routine and life. She and Blossom have an interesting relationship...Blossom wants to be the boss and will pin her long ears and charge at Secret, who just stands there and ignores her, as if to say that she could in fact knock Blossom on her tail in no time at all if she wanted to. But when gates are open to different pastures, Blossom is following right behind Secret and never strays far, and when Secret returns to the barn after being worked, she is greeted by a bray...not too loud for a donkey, but a bray none the less. We gave Blossom the stall next to Secret and had a back door put in, so she can come and go. Having spent the first 10 years of her life living outside, she has taken time to adjust to the stall. She is spending more and more time in it but still can't bring herself to get inside the dry stall during a storm. And at night? Like a brave little donkey that she is, she parks herself between Secret's stall and the back fence line, keeping watch!
Having a farm is a lot of work, that is for sure, but I love this hard work! I relish it and go about it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. This is the life I was meant to be living!
I am in bed by 10 and there is a sense of deep satisfaction of climbing into bed after accomplishing so much in one long day.
|Secret taking a break after being worked|
|Isn't Blossom adorable?|
|Secret and Blossom, never far from one another!|
|Blossom thinks that maybe she should have her own stall!|
|Thank you for giving me a stall!|
|Always keeping a watch over Secret!|
|Secret and Blossom turned out together for the first time.|
|My, what big ears and nose you have!|
|One of many boo-boos|
|Lets injure our eye while we are at it|