We had a hectic summer and I cannot believe it is now fall. Our final show for the year, which happens to be an NMDA show is the Tennessee State Fair. After this show, I scheduled surgery on my hip with a recovery period of approximately 6 weeks, therefore, this show meant a lot to me.
In the Weanling/Yearling Halter – Geldings and Jacks class, we showed Li’l Angels Playitagain Sam. He’s a beautiful boy and I feel he will have his day but I really had not worked with him and he is such a “baby”. I was tickled, despite wiggling and constant squirming, Sam received a 5th Place ribbon in a very large class.
I then showed our spectacular jack, Short Assets Firetruck. The first time I showed Truck, I was so nervous I felt that I hampered his chances by in-turn making him nervous. Today, I was much calmer. Firetuck walked away with Reserve Grand Champion – Jack for the 2012 Tennessee State Fair. What a thrill!
In early 2012, I decided to show a beautiful Cobra jennet that has an exquisite head, beautiful top line, perfect legs and lovely feminine outline. One problem, she was terribly shy. When we first acquired the Cobra herd from Texas, Cobra’s Windy Lue (“Lue Lue”) was definitely afraid of people and had a constant look of terror in her eyes. I really don’t think she was mistreated, but she had not received much attention from humans and just could not trust anyone. I spent countless hours (over a 2-1/2 year period) sitting in the pasture, talking to Lue Lue and trying to get her to understand that I would not harm her. Initially, the only way I could touch Lue Lue was to isolate her in a smaller area and basically trap her in a corner. She trembled and looked up at me with HUGE eyes, petrified. Wherever I touched Lue Lue, she would cringe and move away. If I touched her legs or hindquarters, she collapsed to the ground. After 2-1/2 years of talking to Lue Lue, feeding her treats, multiple attempts of massaging Lue Lue and telling her how beautiful she was, one day she walked up to me and bravely was seeking attention.
From that day forward, I have told Lue Lue every day how pretty she is and thank her for trusting me.
Never being halter trained, I got Lue Lue to understand walking and trotting on a halter. In the Spring of 2012, I bathed her and show shaved her, evaluating whether she could be shown this year. I knew I was asking a lot, but even if she showed terribly, I really think she is so pretty and deserved to get out and trust people. Our local donkey club, Tennessee Donkey Association holds a novice day each year. I loaded Lue Lue in the trailer and took her approximately one hour from home to experience being in a public setting. It was overwhelming and all Lue Lue could do was stand at our trailer, trembling. Did I push her too hard and make a mistake trying to show her?
I decided to not show Lue Lue at the larger shows and only take her to two local “fun shows”. At her first show, the Bedford County Fair, Lue Lue had a melt-down. She would not trot past the judge, trembled, moved away from the judge whenever she got near Lue Lue and was obviously terrified. However, something interesting happened. When she exited her halter class, she realized that she survived this activity and no one harmed her. I then took her back into the Solid Color class and she received a 5th Place ribbon and actually showed well.
At her 2nd Fun Show (Wilson County Fair), Lue Lue was frightened (however less so) and would not trot past the judge in the jennet halter class. However, she stood well and did not shy away from the judge. The judge even commented on how well trained she was, I giggled, if he only knew.
The show season was winding down and the last show I would be attending was the Tennessee State Fair. This is a highly competitive event with large entries and NMDA (National Miniature Donkey Association) sanctioned. I had no intention of showing Lue Lue, but at the last minute decided, the worst that could happen is Lue Lue might not trot and would move away from the judge.
The big day was here. Oh no, in the arena were “dark wood chips”. My husband, Richard, advised me to walk the Donkeys in the arena and get them used to the difference in color and texture. Everyone did fine, except Lue Lue initially refused to step onto the chips. As I walked her around on the wood chips, the strange surface became more familiar.
Our judge, Ron Thompson was a very kind man that made the Donkeys and exhibitors feel at ease. When her class came up Lue Lue entered the arena, walked towards the judge, trotted away perfectly and stood squared off with her head up and ears up looking at me. When Mr. Thompson approached her and gave her a good look over, she stood still and did not move away. Thank you Mr. Thompson for being kind and making our animals feel comfortable.
Lue Lue was awarded Reserve Grand Champion Halter Jennet!!! Lue Lue is very, very special and worked so hard to trust me. I could not be more thrilled!