Monday, May 21, 2012

Close Encounters of the Jackass Kind

Saturday May 19 2012

I touched the horny jackass!

He's a semi-wild brash donkey who hooked up with two wild horses out in the Brown's Creek drainage.

A few horseback riders have had unfortunate encounters with him (see the above link). The virile donkey appears to prefer geldings to mares in his amorous advances. Rushcreek Mac and John were disconcerted by him enough during our September Owyhee Canyonlands ride that they missed a turn on the trail for trying to outdistance the 4-legged Lothario.

Last year I encountered him on foot while hanging ribbons for an endurance ride, but he didn't want anything to do with me.

Today I was out on foot again, marking the trail past the rock corral in Buckaroo crick and up onto the flats, when I spied the two wild horses. 

"Hey guys!" I yelled. Their heads snapped up over the sagebrush and they stared at me. Shortly another shorter head appeared - the horny jackass. I kept talking to them, and the jackass started moving toward me, rather nonchalantly - almost friendly-like, as if he were happy to finally see a human after a long winter of 4-legged companionship.

Last year when I saw him, he gave me a wide berth in the trail; I couldn't have gotten closer than 50 yards if I'd tried. As for the mustangs, they were now 50 yards away which is closer than I've ever gotten to them, but they started - rather animatedly - following the donkey toward me. 

I kept talking to the donkey, and he kept coming closer, unafraid, and he stopped two feet away from me. 

I lifted up my hand and stuck my finger out. He stretched out his neck… further… and I touched the jackass!

He then took two steps toward me, into my space, and I suddenly remembered he is a horny jackass, towards some horses anyway, and, while he was the size of a pony, he still had 4 feet that could kick, some teeth that could bite, a big honking head he could swing like a club, and the body strength of a mule. Just in case, I swung my backpack off my shoulder onto my arm… and he took a step back. In this country I always carry a plastic garbage bag - something I can open up to flap around and make a lot of scary noise - and I put it in my hand… just in case.

The two wild horses were on high alert and were now within 30 yards of me. Fine looking pair they are.

The donkey just stood and looked at me, and I stuck out my finger again, and he sniffed it and touched it, then I stepped back, and turned and headed on my way.

They watched me, and the donkey followed a ways behind, almost as if he didn't want me to go. It must have been a boring winter out there, no other horses to harass, and no humans to listen to.

Some local cowboys have talked of going out there and catching him and those horses, but I kind of like seeing them out there. It's as if I know a special secret - a couple of special friends out in those canyons and washes.


  1. Great story. I love your descriptions of the jackass and the wild ones. I'm one of those who is very fond of the mustangs. Just want to let you know that your pictures and words are much appreciated. I like following your adventures.

  2. oh, he's really beautiful! especially with the sagebush in the background, a perfect environment for a burro.

  3. What an amazing encounter! I love donkeys. They are very soulful. (I never knew they were very horny though.) Those photos are gorgeous! I'm so glad the trio is running free in that beautiful place!

  4. Hmm, kinda makes you wonder about his relationship with the horses, and their's with him! LOL, not that there's anything wrong with that... (Seinfeld reference, sorry!)

    Love the paint horse, though they're both gorgeous. Hope they get to wander around with their buddy for many years to come.

  5. Awww, what a sweet guy! I hope no one goes out and catches them. They seem so happy out there together :)

  6. That's very cool. The horses are very pretty ~ from a distance at least! Plastic garbage bag? That cracks me up. And I'd be carrying a pistol!!

  7. Wonder if they are actually real mustangs, or former domestic horses and the donk that somebody set free. It is kind of curious that the donkey would actually approach you.

  8. Hahaha, I love how you didn't think "hmmm he might rape HUMANS too" until after you got close enough to touch. I do the same type of thing all the time. It seemed like a good idea at the time!

    He's a really handsome donkey. I hope he gets to live in peace with his buddies!

  9. If he zeros in on one certain horse...look out! He got too friendly with Karen's horse last month and he got kicked real hard! That's the only thing that will make him leave! He just falls in love too easy and quick! Don't turn your back on him never know! lol!!! Good story!

  10. Make you wonder if the bunch of them are really wild or at one time someones pets...I know people were letting their animals go...awful friendly and to see him with two mares? Nice story though I am sure it is a beautiful sight out there...

  11. wild donkeys can be extremely aggressive and dangerous but there is one surefire cure for the most aggressive donkey on the trail, and thats a squirt gun or spray bottle a couple of squirts and the terrified donkey wont get within 50 yards. its pretty funny realy.