Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's All Thanks to the Donkey!

Both before and since Rhio's very short-lived (thankfully!) bout with conjunctivitis, he's been spending his days outfitted with a fly mask.  A week ago I bought him a brand-spanking new fly mask, because I couldn't find his older-than-the-hills-but-still-completely-functional one, which was lost somewhere in the 16 acres he shares with 6 other horses.  He's been losing the new one regularly (almost every day), but so far I've been able to find it. 

Sporting the new fly mask.

Not so a day ago - despite my best efforts, I couldn't locate either fly mask.  Argh.  And thus, I embarked on the great fly mask hunt.  Fellow horse owners will know what this means: a systematic search throughout the entire field for a dirt-color piece of screen hidden away in an inconspicuous place.  I count myself lucky that Rhio, as a rule, doesn't rip, tear, explode, or otherwise destroy his fly masks.  He just loses them in inconvenient places.  This usually happens when he rolls.  He considers his head to be the ultimate in itchy body parts, and thus enthusiastically rubs it along the ground when he rolls.  If the mask doesn't just slide off in the midst of this maneuver, it plops to the ground as soon as he stands and gives his whole body shake-off.  He then wanders nonchalantly away, without a backward glance at his now-abandoned fly mask.  You scoff, but I've watched him do it!

I did find his new fly mask last night, brought it home to wash, and outfitted him in it again this morning.  In my extensive search, there was still no sign of the old fly mask.  I knew that there was one major area of the field I hadn't covered yet, but as he can only wear one mask at a time, I called off the search for the other upon locating the new one. 

Tonight, as I went over with his nightly chow, all the horses were standing pressed up against the eastern fenceline staring into the neighboring pasture.  There are two horses that live there, and as far as I can tell, they are amiable cross-fence buddies.  Rhio turned to look when I called, but his attention was held fast by something, and he did not turn to walk up for his food as he usually does.  I tramped my way out to them to see what was up - and discovered a small black donkey in the adjoining field.  Ah!  Hence our herd's fascination.  I do not know why horses are so fascinated by donkeys, but unless the horses live with donkeys, they are either too scary to contemplate or utterly absorbing.  This little guy was clearly of the utterly absorbing persuasion.  Rhio has actually lived with a mini donkey in the past (albeit a white-and-brown spotted one, entirely different from a black one, clearly), but he was still crowded along the fenceline with his herdmates.  I do wonder how long they've been standing there staring at the little guy - who is, of course, completely oblivious to their presence. 
The adorable donkey ignores me and the horses.

Rhio decides the prospect of dinner is, in fact, more interesting than the donkey.

Rhio turned to follow me back to eat as soon as I was within about 20 feet of him, and what do I spy on the return journey?  YES!!!!  The old fly mask!  Intact and unharmed. 
It lies there so innocently, just waiting to be found.

So, temporarily at least, I now have both fly masks and am armed and ready for the continued onslaught of face flies and hot sunny weather (has anyone mentioned to Colorado that September usually means fall??). 
A happy sight.

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