It finally happened yesterday. We really touched Nigel for the first time.

Thanks to Sam’s mom, Linda, we ordered a DVD from Longhopes Donkey Shelter called Matching Wits with Donkeys. By following the techniques demonstrated in the video – all towards building trust and confidence – Don was able to touch and hug Nigel after working with him for several hours yesterday morning.

More or less, the technique involved putting Nigel into an enclosed area by himself, then approaching Nigel on his terms. Don walked with Nigel when Nigel walked, and stopped when Nigel stopped… getting a little closer each time… backing off when Nigel flinched. Finally, Don was able to touch him. Don discovered Nigel’s “safe spot” over by the shed (a.k.a. future chicken coop), where Nigel would allow Don to pet him… and when Nigel backed off, Don would let him go. Don spent all morning building Nigel’s trust, and in the end, every second was worth it.

For me, coming home from my riding lesson and being able to really touch Nigel for the first time was quite surreal.

And then, of course, I had to brush him.

There’s still a lot more work for us to do with Nigel, but we’re finally over the bump in the road. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥