My partner for the day, Thumper, was campaigning for some of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich while we prepared for our run. I gave him a few bites and he blew on my face with his donkey-breath to show his appreciation. I also gave him my banana peel (yum?). Fast friends.
Thumper was zig-zagging for much of the morning, but overall he was a very sweet, cooperative guy. He didn't pull or drag or push. He ran right at my heels. He is such a good boy. And very handsome with his white nose.
Look- Thumper and I are goin' minin'!
And at the end of the day, mile 8, when I had almost run out of gas, I got a very special treat. "I am going to drive, Thumper," I warned him. This means I get behind him and smack his butt with the lead rope to get him to go in front. The goal is to have him pull me up the hills. All of the sudden Thumper glanced back at me and broke into a trot - without even a tap on his rear. It was like the memory of the PBJ and banana peel had come flooding back to him. I had earned his loyalty. And maybe even his respect. I hooked the lead around my waist and enjoyed every moment of him pulling me up a 12% grade hill. Glorious. THIS is what burro racing should feel like! Looks like the PBJ really paid off.
Today I also had the chance to snuggle with a sweet little sheep named Coco (softest brown fleece ever), hang with the llamas (including a baby llama), and check out the reindeer with their velvet antlers. All very cool, in addition to the usual giant blockhead labs and German Shepherd/Wolf mix puppy that lounge in the shade.
Unfortunately I left my camera on a fence post up at the ranch so I can't show you how cute Thumper is (his mom's name is Bambi), but I have included some great shots from Brad Wann!
The short 6-mile race in Idaho Springs is this Sunday (July 18). The race starts at noon in downtown Idaho Springs and finishes near the Argo Mill. Come check us out if you can! It should be an excellent opportunity for me to test my skills before the Fairplay race...