There are times when, in order to work with donkeys, you need to clear away some of the clutter and concentrate, forget some of the clutter of your mind and it’s inevitable in modern day, fast paced living and find a way just to connect with the donkeys that you have to work with. Well I found a way today which was to spend a couple of hours mucking out their stables and stalls. Just being around them, clearing out their area allowed me to watch them to see who was comfortable and uncomfortable.
You are here
Ben Hart's blog
I started early this morning visiting the donkeys who had a peaceful night and I have to say there can’t be a much better early morning experience than just being around calm, placid donkeys in beautiful early morning Californian sun. Especially if you can have just found a small English tea shop in America which makes a perfect cup of tea and you can stand there talking donkeys drinking tea in the sunshine.
Let me set the scene... 21 hours travelling after only a few hours sleep due to 4½ month old son, feeling poorly and waking up repeatedly, due to a bug he also seems to have given to me too. A two year old boy on the flight spent 11 hours kicking me as he understandably fidgeted and squirmed at 35,000ft, without a single toy, imprisoned between me and his mum who was busy watching videos. Oh and a really important week with a chance to make a difference. Do I feel a little bit stressed? Oh yes!
I know I am a behavioural anorak loving to learn about behaviour in all sorts of situations, and bleary eyed after the 21 hours of travelling, I arrived with a sense of ground hog day back at the Econo lodge Davis California. I start to reflect on what I had learnt on the journey.
It was the 31st of December 2013 when Eric Davis the organiser sent his first email asking about the 2014 Donkey Welfare Symposium and the possibility of me coming, and frankly it had been on my mind for the next eleven months. Some of you may have read last year's blog “The American Dream” when I did a presentation and a practical demonstration for an hour and some extra work with some lovely donkeys.