Elk, Deer, Wolves and Coyotes

Today my long time donkey girlfriend was able to sneak away from her family and check on Galahad’s ground driving progress.  Erin was instrumental in helping us with Luc when he came to Idaho.  I’ve relied on her donkey handling knowledge to guide me over the years and was thrilled to show her how well Galahad was coming along.

This morning I decided to change things up a little, this may or may not have been a good idea.  We left Luc in the pen and only brought Galahad out to play.  They would still be close enough to see each other while we pursued Galahad’s training.  The plan was to hitch Galahad to the tire today and let him pull it around. 

We decided to work in a pen that was new to Galahad.  The two horses that had occupied this area were now gone.  This was an extra large open flat spot that I thought would work great.  It had a bunch of dried up blackberry branches with the thornes still attached, Erin racked them into a huge pile.  Then we got busy and moved a lot of big rocks near the fence line to make walking easier.  Getting Galahad use to the sounds of us throwing rocks and them bouncing off the fence and posts behind him was great while we were ground driving him.   Erin grabbed the pole traverse and brought it up to the enclosure along with the tire and the singletree we planned to use. 

This is about where our good day ended.  Occasionally we had seen deer in the flat going to and from the creek to get a drink and that was never upsetting to the donkey boys.  Today Galahad stopped and his ears radioed in on a small herd of elk above us on the ridge line.  They were running along side of a fence then disappeared into a canyon.  They soon reappeared and one by one jumped the fence coming towards us.  This was about all Galahad could handle.  We moved him closer to Luc hoping that would settle him down.  We watched the elk as long as they were visible and then attempted to go back to work.  Galahad was pretty shook up and he really wanted to know where that herd of elk was going to appear next. 

It was about this time Tony Carlson drove up and we had a long visit with him giving Galahad time to relax.  That morning Tony had been watching a pack of wolves playing with their babies in a canyon and a pack of coyotes doing the same thing about two canyons over with his spotting scope.  We suspect the elk discover the predators and were vacating the area.  Or was it the other way around and the wolves had discovered the tasty elk.

 When Tony left I took the PVC pole and rubbed Galahad all over with it, slipping it in and out of the shaft holders.  Erin grabbed the tire and attempted to drag it but Galahad was still not a happy little camper.  We decided to forgo the hitching to the singletree and just do a little relaxed ground driving.  He was too shook up for anything new today.

It was a definite disappointment but on a positive note it did made me think about changing my training direction.

 The elk were a long way from us but this is how they appeared thru the lens of the camera.

Elk May 16, 2009

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