So how do you know what a donkey is thinking? Well, first you ask a lot of questions, and then you let the donkey tell you for themselves. Working with behaviour requires you to have a passion for uncovering the truth, it’s not that people lie or deliberately mislead me, it is simply that we all have our own perceptions of the same situation. One person’s cheeky donkey is another naughty, difficult donkey, another’s dangerous, aggressive donkey is someone else’s defensive, confused donkey.
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Ben Hart's blog
"We have a problem right now with one of the donkeys from Fuente de Piedra." As the Sanctuary's behaviourist this is always the worst start to an email I can get. There is a confused donkey perhaps in pain or scared that is in need of urgent help, it is in a different country and our European staff who care for this animal need help and support as soon as possible. You see, the staff at our rescue centre are really experienced and they work with donkeys and mules all day and everyday from difficult backgrounds, who need understanding and training.
Well, my original description of the Grizzly as cold, wet, windy, muddy, slippery, demanding and strength sapping were absolutely correct. In all truth, Sunday's weather was quite kind, despite a strong wind; there were only a few wintery showers and the occasional hail storm which did make the ground very slippery and the bog section of the course even wetter and colder than I had hoped for.
Training is progressing, I have been out for a long run, practising around the Sanctuary and part of the course that will be included in the Grizzly, down to the beach and back up through Weston. I am reminded what a beautiful walk it is (one of the walks around the Sanctuary) so if you've ever got an hour when you are visiting the Sanctuary give it a go, but perhaps don't try to run back up the hill.
Best laid plans of mice, men and donkey trainers go amiss. I am beginning to fear the decision to have chosen to take part in the Grizzly. As mentioned in my previous blog, I was about to begin my training schedule on Saturday, but unfortunately, on Friday evening, I managed to trap a nerve in my neck causing me considerable pain and the slightly strange look of someone who's head doesn't turn independently of their body. Not good for those about to try and start training.