We hope you’re enjoying our favorite blog photos/moments from 2011. Remember if you click on any of the photos, you’ll be taken to the original blog posts.

June 2011

The expression on Bernard’s face the day we discovered the donkeys love watermelon:

And the drooling delight of Patrick:

The day Enzi got her very own beach in our backyard:

Ellsworth’s very first trail ride with his trainer, Ryan (I was beaming with pride for both of them):

Watching the ducklings thrive and grow over the summer was awesome:

July 2001

An Independence Day celebration with wonderful family and friends (and Maryland blue crabs!):

My first trail ride with Ellsworth, a.k.a. Big Red:

The afternoon the ducklings sat out in the yard enjoying a summer rain shower:

There’s lots of donkey training going on ’round here these days.

Not to be outdone by Ellsworth, Bernard insisted on having his own session with Ryan on Saturday.

Ryan pointed out there are two reasons a donkey won’t do what he’s asked.

One: Because he doesn’t want to. Ellsworth generally falls into this category. Ellsworth is one to do things on his schedule; at his own pace.

Two: Because he doesn’t understand what you’re asking of him. Bernard generally falls into this category; he always wants to work and seeks to do what’s asked of him.  You know that Barnyard lives to be the center of attention.

Once he got it, Bernard was awesome. He switched directions at the drop of a hat and moved toward and out from us as requested. I think he would have lunged all day long if we had asked.

Ryan also pointed out that because we’ll be driving Bernard rather than riding him, our ground work with him will be even more important.

All the while, Big Red looked on.  As an awesome big brother… watching out for his best friend.

♥ ♥ ♥

Just like that, our boy is now a man.

Big Red got his first headstall, bit and reins on Saturday.

Ryan selected an eggbutt snaffle bit to get Ellsworth started.

Ellsworth took to it like an old pro.

I’m so proud of him.

A few adjustments were necessary, but as always, Ellsworth was very patient.

Lessons for Big Red – Week Two

Lessons for Big Red – Week One

Do you know the feeling you get when you realize you’ve made a really good decision?

Hiring Ryan to train Ellsworth this summer was an excellent decision. 

On Saturday, during Ellsworth’s sixth lesson, Ryan took Ellsworth on his very first trail ride.

With Ryan’s experience and confidence guiding him, Ellsworth did a phenomenal job.

Ryan has a knack for knowing what Ellsworth needs and what he’s ready for.

Perhaps it was the antics of Ellsworth’s brothers on Saturday that prompted Ryan to take Ellsworth off the property for his maiden ride. Check out the peanut gallery:

Ellsworth clearly responds to Ryan’s consistency, perseverance and patience. For example, getting Ellsworth to cross over these logs has always been a big challenge for us on our walks.

On Saturday, Ryan had Ellsworth walking over them inside of five minutes.

And riding across them inside of seven.

Hey, Ryan? Don’t forget us when you’re famous, okay?

Lessons for Big Red – Week One

Ellsworth had his first official saddle training lesson on Tuesday afternoon, and let me tell you, he was a star pupil.

We’re very excited that after taking Ellsworth down to their farm, Ryan has agreed to work with and saddle train Ellsworth at Morning Bray Farm this summer.

As was the case the last time Ryan worked with Ellsworth, Ryan was confident, assertive, calm and quiet with him. It was a beautiful thing watching such a talented young man work with Big Red.

Ryan’s methods revolve around building Ellsworth’s confidence rather than instructing by force. I’m seeing Ellsworth react so positively to Ryan’s tact, and I couldn’t be more proud of them both.

Ryan has agreed to let me take notes and pictures so that you can follow along. Both Ryan and Big Red are going to do great things this summer!

Lessons for Big Red – Week Two