The stories coming from the Bar MW Ranch may take on an added dimension over the next few years because of what Russ and I did yesterday.
Backing up for a second…….you might have read in a previous blog about a grass fire at our Carievale field over the weekend. Within a day the knife broke on our haybine. It was felt that perhaps we were pushing our luck and maybe it would be okay to call it quits, the 2022 haying season was over at that point. There was only a bit left. Sometimes you just have enough of enough.
That freed Russ up to do something that he has been scheming to do for much of the summer, a road trip that felt epic to us, in order to pick up a horse and a donkey. We left the ranch Tuesday afternoon, were in Saskatoon by early evening, had time with one of my sisters and her family and then slept. Russ was up at 5 in order to get to a ranch about 30 minutes out of Saskatoon by 6:30am. That is where our Andalusian colt was waiting for him. The owner wanted to go for a ride with Russ and get the details settled before she went to work, hence the early start. The horse is actually a stud colt, a year old as of today.
After riding a grown Andalusian horse……
and having a great visit with Dana the owner, Russ was thrilled like he thought he would be, and made the colt purchase.
Russ caught up with me afterwards, we spent a couple hours in Saskatoon, (the subject of a different blog post, currently under production) then we hit the road headed for Shoal Lake, Manitoba. That is where we were to find our donkey colt. Slow drivers and construction on the Yellowhead highway combined with a couple stops in Yorkton meant we were quite late getting to Shoal Lake area. So the rancher with the donkey to sell loaded two donkeys up, so we could choose one, and brought them with him to the rink in Shoal Lake so he could get to his duties there. When we found Dan and looked into his trailer it only took Russ one look at the two donkeys, he knew exactly which one he wanted and sealed the deal.
We then backed our trailer up to Dan’s to make the transfer.
Russ and Dan held hands in order to create a hoist to get the back legs of the donkey off the ground and the front part moving forward towards our trailer. Russ is funny in the way he tells of this, he calls it the slowest wheelbarrow race in the world, with a total stranger. A bit of a visit, use of the rink bathroom and we were off, heading home to the ranch with the supper of champions in our possession……bottled water and Hawkins Cheezies.
Now…..what is stirring? What is the thinking behind these purchases?
The Andalusian……..its a breed known for its beauty and smooth ride. Russ has never owned one but feels like he would really enjoy the smoothness of it as he continues to reckon with a body that holds aches and pains. We are not in the habit of spending a lot of money on horses. We turn basic or spoiled or cheap horses into good ones through love and lots of hours. This is different. Russ had to talk me into it because I am cheap. In the end we were able to give ourselves permission for this splurge by selling one of our older horses that isn’t doing well with cow herd work, its more of a kids horse and putting that together with some money from my Mom. So we say our Andalusian is a gift from Georgie. The colt has a beautiful disposition. I am not a horse person but I loved it from the moment I first set eyes on it. There is something about it.
The donkey colt is because we enjoy having mules in our herd but the two we have, Dick and Jane, are getting old. We decided that we would try to breed some more for ourselves. Morgan is an avid shopper on Kijiji and he found a few different donkey options. One of them led to a story with surprising twists and turns but ultimately a dead end. Then this donkey quite close to home, relatively speaking, came up as an option. We are thrilled with the work Morgan did to find this colt. Now maybe I should back up a bit. If you are not used to the terms you might be confused. We will use our new donkey to breed a mare (a female horse), the resulting animal will be a mule when its born.
Morgan is getting to be a great horse trainer, this has given Russ courage to get breeding some animals for ourselves, we may even keep our Andalusian stud intact and make more colts with him. Who knows. So many unpredictable things can happen.
At the end of our first full day home with our new family members there are a couple things to report:
-Morgan was able to halter the donkey after school today and set a saddle on its back. He was able to lead it around pretty well. Russ felt this was a great thing, Morgan thinks it had some training already put into it and isn’t taking much credit.
-Our donkey gave a morning wake up bray at 5am. Honestly, I didn’t hear it, but Ron did and said it wasn’t too bad, didn’t go on too long. Later in the day we had those donkey calls ringing through the yard at a couple points. There is a new kind of music in the Bar MW yard.
On that “note”………..may I introduce you to our new friends.
Its bedtime and I am exhausted so the stories of these names are going to have to wait. I am just going to conclude by saying I really really like our new boys.