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Sunday, October 27, 2013


jack and jenny

The donkeys are settling down a bit. I've been staying out of the meadow over Jennie's readiness to kick. She kicked Jack whenever he would move within range. I was out there with a plastic bowl of sweet grain in hand. Both of them would start kicking when they came to me for grain. It turned into something that told me to get out of there. This was donkey business going on. Did not include me. No need to be donkey kicked when I have a choice. For three days I handed Jack his daily carrots over the fence. He was not the problem. Here comes Jenny. Jack growled and kicked at her. She kicked him a good broadside, both hooves on Jack's ribs. It was like she'd kicked a tree. Jack didn't budge. They danced around with their rear ends to each other, moving out of the way and into position to kick at the same time. So much tension was running between them, I thought it best to leave the kick-boxing ring to them. First day, I noticed Jack was kicking back and Jenny was a little reluctant to start a kicking match with him, but it didn't slow her down. Second day, Jenny stayed out of kicking range while Jack was having his carrot. I offered her carrot, but she was too reluctant to be near Jack. Instead of her kicking him, she stayed away from him. It told me something major was changing in their relationship. Before, she had one wet place on the back of her neck. This day I saw that Jack's teeth had left marks over an area about as long as my forearm. He had been taking charge of her with intent.
By the third day, Jenny stayed back and watched while Jack took his carrot. I left off the sweet grain. They were in such an equine place that did not include me, I made the daily visits brief. Jenny was anxious, but not kicking. She was calmed way down from what she was a few days before. Jack had been pulling her down, taking hold of her neck, evidently taming her to himself in the way a stallion takes a mare for his own. It looks like she is conceding to his will, tired of him pulling her down by the back of her neck. Jenny in her first days with Jack was obviously in charge. Jack was shy around her, let her kick him and did not kick back. The first time I saw him pull her down by the neck was first time I saw Jack taking charge. Jack was kicking back, kick for kick. He was aggressive with her like he was telling her to stop kicking or there would be hell to pay, and she evidently knew what he meant. Each of those three days I stayed out of the meadow, I saw she was paying more attention to Jack's will daily. Third day, in front of me he mounted Jenny's back, not for penetration, but to show me what he can do now. Twice he mounted her back and she did not move from under him, nor did she kick. He only stayed a few seconds, enough to let me see the progress made training his babydoll. When she would swing her rear end around, ready to kick, he swung his rear around, too, and it went no further. He told her to stay back from me with grunts I took for donkey growls.
Fourth day, I tried going into the meadow. The donkeys were at the far end of the meadow. I called to Jack. He started walking while I called, "Donkey Jack." He broke into a casual run and ran to me without braying. We spoke and I handed him the carrot to take a bite from. I leaned down to eye level and spoke to him, told him I'm glad to see him again. He looked at my eyes while I spoke. He understood what I was saying. Like cats, we did not need to linger and have a conversation. The eye-contact for a moment was all we needed. I'm glad I have learned from all the four-leggeds in my life that without the forebrain they don't have need to make a moment last. The moment speaks its meaning, that's it. Jenny, seeing it was carrot time, walked to us while Jack chewed on his carrot. I took the moment to talk to him, see him eye to eye, remind him that I appreciate his donkeyness. Jenny walked up to us, Jack grunted a growl, turned his rear end to her and she backed off. I held out a handful of grain to Jack that he picked up with his lips that he can work like fingers. For Jenny, I extended my left arm out to the side so she could have some grain without stepping into Jack's strike zone. I stood beside a small maple trunk that helped keep them apart and gave me something of a shield. Jenny step too close to Jack, he let out a growl and she stepped away. This day, they would be standing side  by side, even touching, and not kick..

Jenny would not approach me while Jack was there. He growled at her several times, and she paid attention. Only once Jenny turned her back end to me like she was about to kick. Jack turned his back end to her. It was looking like a kicking match was about to begin. Jenny backed down and Jack settled down. This almost incident caused me to step over near the tree to put something between me and them in case they started getting rambunctious. They settled down. I gave them both a handful of grain until none was left. They were focused entirely on each other. This was a tense time for them. I knew they would not miss me, so I said good-bye and walked back to the gate. Looking back, they were standing side by side picking up bits of grain that had fallen from my hand. The sides of their bellies were touching. They probed around on the grass with their lips picking up the grain. It told me Jenny is now Jack's donkey. They appeared comfortable together. I don't know what to call what they are going through. It is definitely a courtship, but not in the way we tend think of courtship, wooing your sweetheart spending money on her. Donkeys don't have money to spend, so they do it their own way. Jack breaking Jenny's will by intimidating dominance reminds me of caveman cartoons, knocking the woman in the head with a club and dragging her home by the hair of her head.

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