Clara and I did several brand new things together today. She's really a sweetheart, and she's done quite a bit of team work on rolling loads - cart, road wagon - but had never been driven alone since she learned to drive sensible. Never pulled a load alone. Never pulled dragging.
2. Dragging loads make noise. Dragging loads cause the traces to rub the sides of their legs when they turn. It's a lotta hassle for them until the get used to it.
I didn't take any pictures, so all a story tonight.
I'll use some old pics of other people for illustration. Donkeys
3. The traces hook to the singletree, which transfers the pulling force from their shoulders to the load. This is Abe, back at the beginning in November of 2018.
You can't see it here, but there's a 12' log chain folded double, hooked on to drag & be a load and noise.
4. No, the chain's not on there. I start out with the chain hooked up now. Otherwise the singletree bounces around and upsets them. The chain stabilizes the load.
So - first thing different today was, I didn't harness up her momma.
5. Normally I harness Clara up first, then lead her outside & turn her loose to graze in the barnyard while I harness up Missy. Then I hook them up as a team.
(At the end of work Clara goes in first to be unharnessed, and that's Missy's turn to graze.)
6. But today I harnessed her up, hooked a set of single lines to her bit, and drove her out of the barn. First new thing.
Each new thing requires thought. Each new thing also brings goodies, goodies while thinking, goodies when successfully doing the task.
She still got to graze
7. I always have to bumble around and get myself organized, and grass is free energy. She's learning the rules. She's smart and agreeable.
So I laid out the singletree and chain, and drove her over to them.
8. A lot of today I was driving with the lines in my left hand and my right hand on her butt pushing. She wasn't froze down - I can't move a froze-down donkey - but she needed encouragement. Just walk along gently pushing. Pretty gently. Variable, you know?
9. The way the place lays out, the barnyard is two adjacent, offset, fenced rectangles separated by a gate. One of the rectangles has the work cart, the road cart, and some junk in it. The other one has two little tractors (old 8N, Yanmar John Deere), a trailer load of lumber,
10. And the mandatory some junk in it.
These are all handy for driving obstacles - we can go around them, between them, around them the other way - good stuff when you're training a youngster.
But then (hear that spooky music?) we can go out the *other* gate into the Big World.
11. And the farther you get from the barnyard, the more gravel is in the drive. And then, suddenly, it's ALL GRAVEL AND THE CHAIN AND SINGLETREE MAKE ALL THIS NOISE AND it gets pretty exciting.
But she stopped, which is lots of goodies.
So we did that a while. Round and round.
12. Then we went out in the road, still dragging the chain. The road is your regular gravel country road. By the time we got down near the property line this chain-on-the-gravel business was old hat, and I was out if goodies.
So back to the barn for replenishment.
13. The sled is about 7 feet of corrugated steel barn metal, 26" wide, with a rough 2x4 frame on the long sides and a log across the front. It hooks to the singletree with a chain.
These pics are all 2018, Abe. Working donks has taken 40 lbs off me since then. I move better.
14. You think a 12' log chain folded double makes noise when you drag it down a gravel driveway, wait til you hear a two foot by seven foot sheet of thin corrugated steel.
She did well. Didn't spoon as bad as the first two passes with the chain.
These critters is smart.
And 🍬🍭
15. She didn't bat an eye when we took it down the road.
This load weighs nothin. I could pull it a mile easy.
So now the next new part.
I went in and got G. Asked her if she'd hold Clara to stand while I unloaded. We took the sled back to the barn, got a big black tub,
* up in 14 that's "didn't *spook as bad..."

16. and I shoveled the tub about halfway full of mostly dry donkey manure.
Been raining a lot this spring, so dry manure is not the predominant variety, but it's a lot lighter.
She'd never pulled a noticeable load by herself before.
17. She carries 40 and 50 pound bags of feed all the time, but that's different than pulling from the shoulder.
I said Walk up, and she bounced off her collar and said WAZZAT???
This required a firmer push on the behind, but she figured out pretty quick it wasn't hurting her.
18. When we decide to kill the grass somewhere in the yard to plant food or flowers, we bury it about ankle deep in donkey manure. Works on the same principle as covering it with cardboard. Robs the grass's energy source and it dies.
We've got one half made in her yard.
19. We took 3 tub loads of manure down there and finished up the bed. By the last load she was pulling a tub full of wet manure. Three to four times the weight, at least, that stopped he at first.
She's a good girl. Real good.
Missy & Abe were tied in the stall all this time.
20. But - when they're asked to stand tied, and they do it, that's goodies. That's work. That's cheerful cooperation. So everyone gets goodies.
Clara might have gotten the most today, though. While nobody was looking.
Good day.

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