Does this picture of a herd of Mammoth Donkeys look familiar? Visualize for a minute. It reminded me of many of the pre-shift meetings I have had. Look closely, some are paying close attention, others are eating, and still others, are looking everywhere except where they are supposed to be looking.
I traveled to
I found two 14 month old yearlings at Bill Garrett’s ranch and they will be delivered to Bishop,
Dealing with donkeys in one form or another is something we do daily. Whether on a customer-from-hell level or just discussing procedures with and observing a stubborn team member who wants to march to their own drummer, we have all had donkey training experience.
When choosing the two new members of my family, a herd of about 30 mammoths were summoned by car horn to a corral on Garrett’s 400-plus
At first I couldn’t get within arms length of him. But after a forty-five minute whispering session, and a dance routine that would have made Bruno Tonioli proud, I was able to scratch his withers for the rest of the day. Garrett explained that when he was a novice trainer he would keep pushing the trainee until both parties got angry. Neither Garrett nor the donkey would give in. A confrontation would usually occur. Garrett got his fair share of kicks out of the deal.
After years of struggling and fighting and getting angry at the asses, he learned it was better to work with them, get them to learn one thing at a time, and then go to work on another donkey.
Garrett is a multi-tasking trainer. With a herd of over 100 mammoths, he has to be. He is in constant observance of the herd. He knows each one of his donkey’s characteristics, their bloodline and how their personalities will interact with other equines and humans. And, he constantly preaches that training is an ongoing process that takes time, patience, and repetition.
Garrett is a firm believer that training never ends. It is a constant, daily process that donkey owner’s need to accept and realize if they want their animals to learn. I could tell from his demeanor he is more patient today than he was 35 years ago when he began breeding mammoths. And, he is most likely delivering better stock because of it.
Each morning he makes the rounds to his array of pastures and paddocks. He overlooks the particular herd he is feeding to make sure they are all in healthy form. He separates the ones that need to be separated and has ranch hands who work with the ones that need special training and attention.
At the end of the day he evaluates the herds again and makes sure they are good to go the next day.
Throughout the day he offers advice and training tips to his ranch hands, his donkeys, and guys from
Looking at it, if I could train one waiter to wash his hands after bussing a table and sticking his fingers in the glasses when picking them up, I should be able to train one of the donkeys in the picture above.