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burro-boy

Burro-Boy
Burro-Boy Gerald

Call me Burro-Boy.

OK, so a little background is in order. During the summer we work at The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The Pageant is a presentation of “Living Art” now in its 75th sold out year.

This year the script called for a burro. So a miniature burro was obtained along with a companion pygmy goat. Stella, the burro is three years-old and Blanche the goat is a yearling. And this is where the fun begins!

Seems whenever Stella was taken out to appear on stage, Blanche had a severe attack of separation anxiety. And for those of you who have never seen a goat throw a temper tantrum … it ain’t a pretty sight!

So what’s all this got to do with barrel racing and when is Gerald going to get to the point of this whole story?

Stella and Blanche are close; you might say they are buddy sour. So what is wrong with that? We get upset when our barrel horses get buddy sour EXCEPT when we are the buddy. Then it’s just fine and dandy to have a horse tightly bonded with the rider.

It’s the ‘Sour’ part that is of concern. Gate-sour, barrel-sour, buddy-sour, barn-sour or whatever. Sour is sad. Sour translates into fear. Fear of being alone, fear of going outside, fear of being harshly ridden in the arena.

So what do we do about this? Well how about showing your horse a little bit of the world outside the arena? Spend time with your horse, take a trail ride, work on trotting poles, or just hang out. Teach your horse that going in the arena does not mean a harsh ride or the boredom of running barrel patterns over and over and over and over at full speed. Teach your horse to enjoy life. Work is work and play is play. Keep their mind fresh. Teach them to work and play with you and with different companions or maybe just alone. The more they get used to different situations and activities, the less fear they will have of new things.

So what’s with the Burro-Boy bit? Well, your's truly has to take Stella the Burro and Blanche the Goat out every night, dress them in the costume of a traveling comic troupe from the Italian Renaissance, and walk them through an audience of three thousand people. OH, and put up with every burro, donkey, ass, goat, and clown joke! And YES, I have a costume too (see photo above)!