My latest person reads me your column. I'm a donkey, a saddle donkey, 13hh, and I've had AppleLady about a year. I call her that because she shares apples with me. Well, in your latest column, when we came to the sentence about your FarmWife saying "I wish you had a mane," it brought up a subject close to home. Why don't donkeys and mules have manes? My AppleLady wondered about this, and no one had a good answer. She wondered if it was because the manes don't grow well, or are unsightly. So we decided to grow mine out and see what happened (it was completely shaved off when I first came to live with her.). Here is a picture of me with 9 months growth. AppleLady thinks it's very becoming, and wonders if it will be twice that long next summer. She combs it with a purple comb. I like having a mane because it helps shoo flies away in summer, and provides a little warmth and snow protection in the winter. And of course, riders could have something to hang on to if they were riding bareback. (I doubt AppleLady would try it, but The Boy might when he comes home from college.) If you or your person have any info on why donkeys and mules' manes are kept short or how, why, when this fashion started, we'd be interested in knowing!
David 4D (4D is my freeze brand, and Apple Lady pronounces it Ford, tells people it's my surname.)
It was a pleasure to receive your letter and picture, and I hope you won't mind me sharing them here. You are cute, and cuteness like this should be widely publicized. I am cute, too, but this is not something one can have too much of! There is no maximum cuteness capacity here at Brays of Our Lives—like Muleness, cuteness only gets better when shared.
Your mane is quite dapper. I admire its well-trained lay. Please commend AppleLady on her attention to detail—you would not want, in the words of children's book* author Don Freeman, to appear "wild and foolish" nor "a little unrulish"!
I had a mane like that once, but it went straight up. It was not unattractive, but FarmWife has always adored the tidy look of a roached mane on an animal of cobby build. (I hope that
"of cobby build" is not, in my case, simply her nice way of saying "fat".)
In their book Mule Trader, Ray Lum and William Ferris write that most people roach a mule's mane to keep him from looking like a horse. I'm not sure I follow this logic, since a horse can wear a roached mane as well as the next guy. Oh, well.
In your case, I think some silken locks are just the thing. I'm glad you grew them, and I hope you'll update us with your growth reports!
Ears to you,
p.s. Do you think you might be related to Henry Ford, the entrepreneur, or Harrison Ford, the movie star? It's a very dapper name, anyway. I like the way you spell it. I know a human who has his name tattooed upon himself . . . inside his lip, like a racehorse. That way, he can be identified if he ever winds up lost.
(*this is not a link to Don Freeman's book. This is a link to FARMWIFE's book! Wasn't that tricky of me? I am a marketing genius.)
|The author at his former home, exhibiting his maximum mane length|