It was all so far away – there was quiet and an untouched feel to the country and I could work as I pleased.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Ghost Ranch

Ghost Ranch2

We wrapped up a wonderful visit yesterday with Don’s sister, Debbie.

From the moment she arrived, she dug in to help with chores around Morning Bray Farm.

The first morning she was here, Debbie and I hung out in the corral waiting for presents from all the boys.

For the record, two hours is a long time to wait for a donkey to poo.

You know you have an awesome sister-in-law when she’s willing to ride in the car on the way to the vet with five bags of donkey poo in the back seat.

On Sunday afternoon, Debbie taught us how to make margaritas from scratch.

That was serious fun.

She spent a lot of time talking with the boys.

And loving on Nigel.

We even did some sightseeing.

Debbie is one of the loveliest people I know and having her here was a gift. So much so, it felt like Christmas in July here.

Speaking of Christmas, Debbie discovered a new meaning for it during her visit. Christmas in New Mexico also means both red and green chile on your breakfast burrito.



You can imagine my horror. The place that we rescued Patrick from had three new donkeys yesterday morning. Yes, three.

They are small and from what I can tell are young. They still have a spring in their step and don’t yet wear the shackle of a halter that Patrick endured for almost three years.

Two are white and one is grey. They’re beautiful.

We have to stop this. Many of you offered to help, and here’s your opportunity. I have drafted the following letter and would appreciate your comments.


Date 2011

The Honorable Art De La Cruz
Bernalillo County District 2 Commissioner
One Civic Plaza, NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico  87102

Dear Commissioner De La Cruz,

We are writing to express our concern about the practice of using donkeys as a training tool for roping horses. We live in your district and this issue is very important to us. Donkeys are extremely intelligent and sentient animals and are not made to handle being roped – either physically or emotionally.

Roping is necessary for ranching cattle, and team roping as a sport hones the skills needed to treat cattle on the range. However, that doesn’t excuse using donkeys to improve roping skills. There are many mechanical roping dummies that can be used, and can be cheaply built with a little ingenuity. 

The wording of the law as we understand it today falls under the following New Mexico statute:

§ 30-18-11. Unlawful tripping of an equine; exception

A. Unlawful tripping of an equine consists of intentionally using a wire, pole, stick, rope or any other object to cause an equine to lose its balance or fall, for the purpose of sport or entertainment.

B. The provisions of Subsection A of this section do not apply to laying an equine down for medical or identification purposes.

C. As used in this section, “equine” means a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny.

D. Whoever commits unlawful tripping of an equine is guilty of a misdemeanor.

E. Whoever commits unlawful tripping of an equine that causes the maiming, crippling or death of the equine is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

L. 1995, Ch. 113, § 1, eff. July 1, 1995.

Donkeys are being used as a training tool for sport roping just down the road from us. When we contacted the New Mexico Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Taskforce about this, we were told that, “…the roping issue won’t cut it with law enforcement.”

We urge you to please enforce the law against this illegal and inhumane practice and are seeking your help in how to make sure this happens. Thank you for your consideration.




If you prefer, you can also download the letter here: Letter_to_Art_de_la_Cruz.

To send your own version of the letter, please see Clair’s comment here.

Thank you all for being such wonderful blogging friends. ♥