Horses as Healers

Can You Pin The Birth Date On The Donkey?

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Edith, an expectant momma donkey and her daughter, Gloria greet visitors at Spring Reins of Life's open house on June 3, 2018. Credits: Lillian Shupe
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Edith, left and Gloria the donkeys Credits: Lillian Shupe
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THREE BRIDGES, N.J. — Pin The Tail on The Donkey is a game that dates back to 1899 and has long been a staple of children's birthday parties. A new twist on the game will raise funds for a real life, long-eared equine — pin the birth date on the donkey.

Donkeys, Edith and her daughter, Gloria were a gift to Christiana Capra, founder and director of Spring Reins of Life, (SRoL). The organization is a non-profit , EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model program offering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) which incorporates the use of horses for therapeutic intervention toward promoting emotional growth and healing.

The program has always used horses, but Capra thought their long-eared brethren would make good therapists too.

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Back track to November, 2017 when the mother and baby donkey ended up at an auction. Although the baby was still nursing, the pair was separated and Edith was put into a pen with horses destined to be slaughtered. However, before the load shipped out, Barbara Bemelmans, owner of Hunt Cap Farms, (where SRoL resides), found out about the donkeys, bought them both and reunited the pair.

The pair was sent to quarantine in Pennsylvania where it was discovered Edith had pneumonia. So it was off to an equine hospital for a few weeks, where she made a full recovery before being shipped to Hunt Cap Farms on Dec. 11.

On Christmas Eve, Capra went to do night check on the SRoL herd and found the donkeys in a stall with bows on them and a note from Bemelmans.

Fast forward a few months and the belly straps on Edith’s blanket keep getting tighter and tighter. Three veterinarians agreed — another baby was on its way. Edith’s due date is anyone’s guess. The average gestation length in donkeys is about one year but can be longer or shorter, and donkeys can conceive again as early as five days after birth. Gloria is estimated to be about 10 months old as of June 15.

It is also not known who — or even what — the father is. There’s a small chance the father is a horse. In that case the baby would be a hinny — a hybrid of a horse and donkey. Since donkeys and horses have different gestation periods, a hybrid pregnancy could change how long Edith will carry.

With the new baby, there will be new and unexpected expenses. So SRoL is hosting a fundraiser.

For each $10 donation, donors have the option to guess when the new baby will arrive. They may also guess if it will be a boy or girl, donkey or hinny, born in daylight or night time. The person who is closest to the actual birth date will be given the chance to name the new equine and have visitation rights — as a "Godparent" of the baby for the rest of his life. Donkeys can live for 50 years.

If the foal does not survive, the funds will go toward the continued car of Edith and Gloria.

Donate $10 for each guess:

  • Guess the delivery date of new Donkey (pick date from through Sept. 15.
  • Guess the delivery time of new Donkey (pick nighttime/moonshine or pick daytime/sunshine).
  • Guess the sex of the new Donkey (pick boy/Jack, girl/Jenny (or) boy/Hinny, girl/Hinny).

Donations can be made through PayPal with a note that it’s for the donkeys or go to www.gofundme.com/a-surprise-baby-donkey to make a donation.

Follow Edith the Donkey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/allintthefamilydonkeys/.

For more information about Spring Reins of Life see www.springreinsoflife.org, call 347-886-2798 or e-mail info@springreinsoflife.org

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