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View Full Version : A day-hike with the burros.



J P
10-30-2017, 04:08 PM
A beautiful fall day here yesterday so we loaded up the burros and took them to a new (to them) area for a walk.

At the trailhead, ready to go.

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I built this guy's saddle this past winter but still need to get it fine tuned and fitted. New saddle pads too that I wanted to try out.

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'Tis the season. Blaze orange, the other fall color. Hunting and shooting is prohibited in this area though.

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The burros did great, both out and back. Nice moderately fast walking pace, no crowding or lagging, no drama.

Gib Etheridge
10-30-2017, 04:14 PM
How do they react to large predators? Do you carry anything defensive?

SKIP KILPATRICK
10-30-2017, 04:16 PM
That is awesome! Where in the world is this?

They look like beautiful animals!

Thank you for posting.

J P
10-30-2017, 05:28 PM
How do they react to large predators?

They are very alert, observant and cautious animals. When something spooks them they'll usually bolt about twenty to thirty feet then turn to face whatever it was that set them off. It seems like at that point they are processing whether to fight, flight, investigate, or ignore it. They haven't had any close and threatening encounters that I am aware of, and I hope they/we never do, but it is certainly a possibility. They see a lot more than I do but this summer on our home property I watched them observing a bear a couple hundred yards away. They just watched it in high alert mode. Another time near the house they had a stare-down with a cougar that was sitting eighty feet away. That cat wasn't showing any fear of me, and maybe too much interest in them, so it got a hazing shot to send it on its way.

They can be aggressive with canines which we have to be careful of as we have dogs too. Sometimes when meeting people on the trail with dogs we have to explain that it's the dogs safety that we are concerned about, not the dogs threatening the burros.


Do you carry anything defensive?

Might vary depending on where we are ... pepper spray, .357mag, knives ... body odors ... bells, bad singing ...

J P
10-30-2017, 05:38 PM
That is awesome! Where in the world is this?

They look like beautiful animals!

Thank you for posting.

Bitterroot mountains in western MT.

Thanks Skip, I think they are beautiful too in their own way.

J P
10-30-2017, 06:00 PM
Noticed the pad under the new saddle was slipping back so had to make some adjustments.

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Took them off the trail and down by the lake shore. This would be about ten feet under water in the summer. I was half expecting them to drop down for a roll when we got down onto the sand there, but some new-to-them kind of grass kept them occupied.

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That way be wilderness. Hopefully we'll get in a good pack trip or two out that way next summer.


.

J P
10-30-2017, 06:27 PM
I have never seen burros in the backcountry, not even llamas, just horses and mules. They seem like a good option, if you intend to walk rather than ride, and want to carry more gear than a backpack. Are they from a BLM roundup?

As aging backpackers, that's pretty much why we got interested in them. Less on our backs and the capacity for longer trips in the backcountry. And I just enjoy their company. Usually. Some folks ride the larger standard and mammoth donkeys. Not fast but they're sure footed critters. Probably more likely to see burros in use in Colorado than in this country.

Our grey ones parents were adopted from the BLM but he was born in captivity. The dark one was with a group rounded up by the BLM in the Mojave desert in CA. He was no more than a year old at the time and was shipped to a holding facility in Utah. We went there and ended up picking him out of about 250 other male burros. That was an interesting experience. Still is.

Glen Longino
10-30-2017, 06:41 PM
A great thread, J P...Thanks!

bamamick
10-30-2017, 07:14 PM
Beautiful place. My brother in law is pretty famous here locally for having his miniature donkey ride around inside the truck with he and his black Lab. He just took the back seat out of the cab and threw some blankets down and she does some traveling.

I know that most areas have places of great beauty near them, but I think you folks got more than a fair share.

Mickey Lake

skuthorp
10-30-2017, 09:11 PM
Speaking of ageing backpackers…………. I have used a pack horse and walked myself. And on xc ski trips I carry a kite so on steep uphill stretches it can carry some of the pack weight.

J P
10-31-2017, 10:22 AM
Yeah, I am starting to think ahead. Bob Marshall mainly.

In his book 'Packing With Burros', author Dave Daney mentions an eighteen day trip through the Bob that he did with one of his burros. It's a pretty good book on the subject in general if you are seriously considering it.

J P
10-31-2017, 04:28 PM
Beautiful place. My brother in law is pretty famous here locally for having his miniature donkey ride around inside the truck with he and his black Lab. He just took the back seat out of the cab and threw some blankets down and she does some traveling.

I know that most areas have places of great beauty near them, but I think you folks got more than a fair share.

Mickey Lake

I bet that's hysterical. I've seen some photos of donkeys riding in truck cabs. One of our little ones would probably get in but I'm not going there.

One time I was in a travel trailer that I have, getting something in the back and I'd left the door open. I heard a clomp clomp behind me and turned to see Huck, the gray one, had let himself in. His exit didn't go well and it was my fault. Not much room in there and I wasn't sure if he could get turned around so I backed him out. His hind feet slid off the step platform and under the trailer and he went down on his butt. He sat there a moment, and to my relief didn't freak out, then got himself out and back on his feet. No injuries except a little pride. In hindsight I should have just let him sort it out. They are good at that. Now if that trailer door is open he'll poke his head in but he hasn't tried to go in since. And I don't encourage it.

J P
10-31-2017, 04:52 PM
Speaking of ageing backpackers…………. I have used a pack horse and walked myself. And on xc ski trips I carry a kite so on steep uphill stretches it can carry some of the pack weight.

Interesting about the kite.

Depending on the terrain, you'd likely get where you're going faster with a horse or mule than a burro. Like with sailing, we aren't usually in a hurry to get somewhere and our load needs aren't great. I like that these standard/large standard burros' leg length and walking pace is close to our own. At this size they are easy to build pack loads on too.

mmd
10-31-2017, 05:59 PM
Is this you, Tom, spouting authentic frontier gibberish at the town hall meeting? <grin>


https://youtu.be/ke5Mr5eCF2U

McMike
10-31-2017, 06:29 PM
Looks like a blast!

J P
10-31-2017, 08:16 PM
That would be me in my 70s and 80s. In my 60s I imagine that the burro packing will be pretty much on the up and up, Patagonia clothing, etc. At the end, sometime after 90, I will trade the burros for a white stallion, and gallop bareback into the wilderness, in the snow, naked.

That is hilarious and beautiful. Your humor cracks me up twodot, mocking or not, whatever, I laugh at it.

I'm close to entering those 60's ... got the Patagonia clothing ...

Maybe see you on the trail in the Bob pard ...

.. watch your topping knots and keep your chowder dry.

J P
11-20-2017, 07:43 PM
Here's a few pics from another recent outing with our burros.

We're still fine-tuning their pack rigs. Cinches and latigos needed a little adjustment and tidying up, otherwise, this guy was good to go.

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We hadn't been on this trail before and we soon came upon what turned out to be the first of four small stream crossings that day, which was/is just the experience these guys need to be exposed to. They have an instinctive cautiousness with water and wet, muddy ground.

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.

J P
11-20-2017, 07:51 PM
'Whoa ...'

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'You want me to do what?'

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'OK, got it'

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J P
11-20-2017, 07:58 PM
'You can do it ...'

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Thanks buddy

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CWSmith
11-20-2017, 07:59 PM
They are very alert, observant and cautious animals. When something spooks them they'll usually bolt about twenty to thirty feet then turn to face whatever it was that set them off. It seems like at that point they are processing whether to fight, flight, investigate, or ignore it. They haven't had any close and threatening encounters that I am aware of, and I hope they/we never do, but it is certainly a possibility. They see a lot more than I do but this summer on our home property I watched them observing a bear a couple hundred yards away. They just watched it in high alert mode. Another time near the house they had a stare-down with a cougar that was sitting eighty feet away. That cat wasn't showing any fear of me, and maybe too much interest in them, so it got a hazing shot to send it on its way.

I wanted to ask you about keeping the burros in their paddock. They seem trapped if a predator comes. I'm assuming they are in greater danger at night? Is it a problem?

J P
11-21-2017, 12:50 PM
I wanted to ask you about keeping the burros in their paddock. They seem trapped if a predator comes. I'm assuming they are in greater danger at night? Is it a problem?

Yeah, that's definitely a concern. They have forty acres to roam around on most of the time.

I suppose the ideal setup would be a secure barn to put them in at night ... heated .... with a cot for their old attendant to rest on between chores ...

amish rob
11-21-2017, 12:55 PM
I love this! The black one is ADORABLE.
Thanks for the pictures. Never hesitate to post more burro pictures. :)

Peace,
Robert

P.S. It’s fine if you don’t torture us with anymore of the natural beauty you’re surrounded with.:d Nice stomping grounds.

J P
11-21-2017, 01:09 PM
On the last stream crossing that day, for some reason the gray one went right on across but the other wanted no part of it. It's usually the other way with them.

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Eventually I had to lead him upstream a little to another spot where he crossed just fine. Looking back at the photos I wonder if it was the glare on the water there that he didn't like? It was our only crossing that day that had light like that. Might have to add some polarized burro goggles to the kit.:cool:

J P
11-21-2017, 01:18 PM
I love this! The black one is ADORABLE.
Thanks for the pictures. Never hesitate to post more burro pictures. :)

Peace,
Robert

P.S. It’s fine if you don’t torture us with anymore of the natural beauty you’re surrounded with.:d Nice stomping grounds.

Careful there Robert ... I have thousands of burro photos.:)

Flying Orca
11-21-2017, 01:22 PM
This is completely alien to me, but I LOVE the photos! Burros look like neat critters.

J P
11-21-2017, 02:23 PM
I had a thread on building the gray one's pack saddle but the photos in it are gone with that host site that shall not be named. I'll stick a few in this thread.

I have a saddle that I was lucky to find used and it fits the black one well. It was made by a local saddle maker. I pretty much copied it for the new one except I used some betathane webbing for some of the rigging to lighten it up some. Gray guy is put together a little different than the black, generally a little less broad port to stbd. with more taper and flare fore to aft, so I wanted to custom fit the new saddle tree.

I took his lines with some wire and made a drawing.

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Two actually.

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I hadn't originally planned on building the form but it was quick and easy enough to do and it proved useful for getting some of the initial shaping done.

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SKIP KILPATRICK
11-21-2017, 02:27 PM
Very interesting, I'm with Rob post as many photos as you would like!

How old are the burros?

J P
11-21-2017, 02:41 PM
I left the bars a little thick figuring I'd probably need to do some final fitting. The other saddles bars are riveted to the crossbucks so you can't do much shaping without re-riveting it. For this one I countersunk and plugged t-nuts for the attachment so I could continue shaping them.

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I left the bearing surfaces a little rough thinking I'd put some chalky paint on these to indicate how it's wearing on him. I still need to do that.


Test fit.

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View from the danger zone. Not too bad. I think he filled out a little. Need to take some off the lower area of the bars and more flare relief front and back.

CWSmith
11-21-2017, 02:46 PM
View from the danger zone. ...

They like to kick? I've never been comfortable walking behind a horse of any kind.

J P
11-21-2017, 03:03 PM
Very interesting, I'm with Rob post as many photos as you would like!

How old are the burros?

Gray is five, black is six-ish -- born in the wild sometime in 2011. We got him in '13. Man, time flies. They are slower to mature than horses.



They like to kick? I've never been comfortable walking behind a horse of any kind.

No they are not really kickers, with me anyway. You don't ever want to let your guard down though. If they do want to kick something those hard little hooves are like lightning, and accurate. When the gray fella was younger he used to be a little nippy and would occasionally throw a foot at the Ms. Didn't do it with me. I think he meant it to be playful. He seems to have outgrown it.

J P
11-21-2017, 03:22 PM
I made up some new rope halters for them recently. In that other fall color. Kinda like these better than the flat nylon halters for some stuff. Still need to check the fit on these too.

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Friggin fiador knots. Where else would one use one?

wizbang 13
11-21-2017, 04:01 PM
Thank You for this thread.
bruce

J P
12-18-2017, 02:59 PM
Had the burros out for another hike yesterday.

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Last year the gray fella balked at this particular bridge and didn't want to set foot on it. Yesterday he went right on over, several times, but was cautious.

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Couple little steep spots to deal with but they got it.

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Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 03:22 PM
One of my great step grandfathers worked with work horses for all of his life. One day one of them planted a hoof right in the middle of his forehead, killing him on the spot.

JP, I noticed that you were trying to persuade them to cross the brook while pulling on the lead while facing them. I once learned, and found it to be so with horses anyway, that they are much more likely to follow if you turn your back on them. Less intimidating I suppose. What do you think?

I really like this thread.

John of Phoenix
12-18-2017, 03:32 PM
Fascinating. Thanks.

I did quite a bit of flying at China Lake Naval Weapons Center and Ft Irwin in the Mojave desert - the modern Wild West - not a soul for a hundred miles. We'd come across herds of mustangs, mules and burros almost daily - beautiful, interesting animals.

We hiked the Grand Canyon a few years ago and got a lesson on the mules (quite a bit larger than your burros) they use for the supply and passenger trains. An animal is trained and tested for at least two years as a pack animal before being considered for passengers. If they are of the "right temperament", they are further trained as a passenger carrier. Not many make the cut and as a result there is rarely an accident.

switters
12-18-2017, 03:42 PM
Cool, went to catch the girlfiends quarter horse after dropping off some hay yesterday and couldn't even get him in the halter. He really did not want to go for a walk after getting better about it all summer long.

Great pack frames too.

Working with animals can be work sometimes.

J P
12-18-2017, 06:00 PM
One of my great step grandfathers worked with work horses for all of his life. One day one of them planted a hoof right in the middle of his forehead, killing him on the spot.

Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?


JP, I noticed that you were trying to persuade them to cross the brook while pulling on the lead while facing them. I once learned, and found it to be so with horses anyway, that they are much more likely to follow if you turn your back on them. Less intimidating I suppose. What do you think?

I really like this thread.

I always aim to be their leader and 'show the way', but sometimes (most times) these donks need a little time to suss things out with new experiences -- that's where they get the 'stubborn' reputation. Gotta let them know what you want them to do and give them encouragement to do so. Generally, I want them to come to me (=trust) rather than pushing from behind (=fear). Donks, typically, are not as 'compliant' or steady 'followers' as horses.

J P
12-18-2017, 06:34 PM
Fascinating. Thanks.

I did quite a bit of flying at China Lake Naval Weapons Center and Ft Irwin in the Mojave desert - the modern Wild West - not a soul for a hundred miles. We'd come across herds of mustangs, mules and burros almost daily - beautiful, interesting animals.


Our black burro was a BLM capture from that area in the Mojave, the gray's parents roamed around in NV. Controversial, the whole wild mustang and burro issue.



We hiked the Grand Canyon a few years ago and got a lesson on the mules (quite a bit larger than your burros) they use for the supply and passenger trains. An animal is trained and tested for at least two years as a pack animal before being considered for passengers. If they are of the "right temperament", they are further trained as a passenger carrier. Not many make the cut and as a result there is rarely an accident.

Shavetails and Bell Sharps, eh.

Mentioning the Grand Canyon and burros ... Brighty ... one of the best burro strories ever.

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 07:15 PM
[QUOTE=J P;5426301]Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?



I always aim to be their leader and 'show the way', but sometimes (most times) these donks need a little time to suss things out with new experiences -- that's where they get the 'stubborn' reputation. Gotta let them know what you want them to do and give them encouragement to do so. Generally, I want them to come to me (=trust) rather than pushing from behind (=fear). Donks, typically, are not as 'compliant' or steady 'followers' as horses.[/QUOT

test (FAIL)


I guess this is as good a place to ask as any. How does one select only a section of a post to reply to then get it into that light blue highlighted box like in 43 and 44?

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 07:57 PM
But how to enclose it in the highlighted box?

If you look at my 45 you'll see what I get. The blue boxes make it easier to read.

Hi Donn, don't see you here very often any more.

John of Phoenix
12-18-2017, 09:24 PM
When you delete the unwanted text, be careful not to delete the brackets that surround the text. These little dodads - [ ]
Where #45 says, [QUOT. It should be [QUOTE]

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 10:40 PM
[QUOTE]Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?

Test.

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 10:43 PM
Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?



[/QUOTE]

Test

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 10:44 PM
[Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?]

Test

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 10:46 PM
[QUOTE]Dang, that's tragic. Any idea why? I wonder if there was some 'history' in their relationship?

Test

Gib Etheridge
12-18-2017, 10:47 PM
Could this be an IE7 thing?