Monday, January 24, 2011


In yesterday's public proclamation of my fitness goal and desire for baggy jeans, I alluded to a recent development which is proving to be a great weight-loss motivator and which might change the course of history at the 7MSN.  I'll get to that in a minute. I think we should first put all of this into context.

Many of you were around last February when I unexpectedly lost my beloved Lyle. Will I ever be able to type that with dry eyes? Probably not.  Several weeks later, I kicked the elephant out of the room and told you I planned to get another horse because I couldn't imagine my life without riding. I even went so far as to say it would be a saddle-trained BLM mustang. But then I took Hank to the vet and learned it might be a really bad idea to bring a new horse into the herd, given the condition of his knee. In order to do right by Hank, I decided there would be no new horse in our future and life would just have to go on.

Over the course of the next eight months, we grieved and adjusted and grieved and adjusted some more, and Hank, George and Alan became a band of brothers, albeit with one of them getting more than his fair share of the hay. Then in November, Bernard from Morning Bray Farm came over for a play date with George and Alan. Hank didn't play or get physical with our guest donkey as he would a horse, and I got to thinking that maybe I could bring a new donkey into the herd permanently. The next day, I announced that my search was on for another donkey, maybe one that was saddle-trained. That was November 8. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that adding a riding donkey to the herd would be a huge win-win for Hank and for me.

But little did I know that riding donkeys rarely come up for sale. I kept checking the national equine classified ads, to no avail. I wish I could remember who said "the horse you want to buy is the one that's not for sale." Anyway, I remembered that sage advice and placed this wanted ad on Meredith Hodge's website in mid-December: I am looking for a saddle-trained donkey/burro - large standard or small mammoth, gelded male. He would be used for trail riding. I can offer him the very best home and lifestyle (learn about us at Am willing to travel to find the perfect match.

I never heard from anyone.

Until last week.

I got a message from someone who had checked us out and said she may be interested in selling her donkey – her saddle-trained, in your pocket, do everything, sweetheart of a donkey. A few more messages and a long phone call later, I was ready to hook up the horse trailer and go get her. Cooler heads prevailed and I realized that the middle of winter is not a good time to be traipsing through the Rockies hauling a horse trailer. It may be April before the coast is clear to make the trip. And it may turn out that once I get there, this may not be the perfect match. But in my heart, I know it is. Still, a lot can happen between now and April and this could all blow up. But in my heart, I know it won't. Anyway, without further adieu, meet my motivation to get back into riding shape:

If this gorgeous 14-hand jenny turns out to be my new ride and I'm 99.999% certain she will, I think she'll appreciate me more if there's about 20 pounds less to appreciate. You all know there's nothing I wouldn't do for my animals, present or future, and she's all the motivation I need to meet the goal.

A few of you expressed interest in joining me in my 12-week fitness challenge - whoohoo! The more the merrier! Let's plan on meeting back here on Saturday to swap ideas on what's working, share healthy recipes, commiserate and otherwise kick each other in the butt support each other. Wynonna told me she plans to weigh in with some of her favorite weight-loss tips.


  1. GREAT news, and I know it will all work out for you .. mmmm, no pun intended with the 'work out'! LOL

    I look forward to next Saturday .. love getting ideas from other folks about fitness, and can hardly see what Wynonna has to add to the comments!!!

  2. Excited for you. So much fun ahead. I am like you--April is forever but makes sense to wait. Can't wait to read the adventures.

  3. What great news!! I am sure the boys are just thrilled!!
    Do you own an IPHONE ? There is an app called "lose it". I downloaded it in october 2010. with it I keep track of my calories and it takes into account your exercise. so far I have lost 15lbs without really "dieting" (shudder) or joining a gym etc. The only exercise I get is my morning stretchs to keep me limber, walking my 80lb dog and shoveling and shoveling and shoveling snow. (the city version of cleaning horse/donkey poop)
    Can't wait to meet the new member of the 7MSN!
    THeresa in Alberta

  4. She is PRETTY! How exciting! A rose to come and live among your thorns.

    And, btw, this news is nothing like what I would have guessed...

  5. That's a perfect solution! Back in the saddle again sounds so exciting for you!

    Can't wait to see how this all works out. :)

  6. Count me in, too! I'm sure my horses would appreciate me being about 40 pounds lighter! I'm eating salads for lunch and I'm out walking in the mornings. :-)

  7. Great news, Carson. Congratulations. I'm sure if it's meant to be she will be yours. The two guys might like having a lady around.
    Thanks for the heads up on this video challenge. I need to get into shape before April as I'm starting horseback riding lessons and like you I don't want to have the poor thing buckling under me.
    Best always, Sandra

  8. Oh Linda! I am so excited for you!!

  9. Hee-haw! This is great news! She looks lovely and will be princess of the pasture...I guess I shouldn't let Wynonna hear me say that. :)

  10. So cool! Can't wait to meet your new addition. Is 14 hands big enough? At 5'11" I know my feet would probably hang to the floor! Also I've been meaning to ask you ... can you talk a little bit about how you manage everything alone? Do you ever miss living around people or get scared out there? I give you so much credit for doing what you're a true pioneer woman! (No offense P-Dub!) P.S. I'm not a fan of Jill Michaels style on tv, is she different on her dvds? Thanks!

  11. She is darling! I bet the boys will love to have her (ha ha know how the girls can be sometimes!)
    My jeans have also gotten too snug - and I can't blame it on the dryer! I'll 'tune in' on Saturday for sure!

  12. Boy! Will she rule the roost! Think Wynonna, with EARS! Does she have a name? Or would sharing jinx things?

  13. A jenny? How wonderful! This is so exciting. Where is she located? Here's hoping your gut feelings are right on target. Can't wait to hear more...

  14. The whole family gathered before school to read the adventures of 7MSN this morning and the kids and I were crying by the time we finished reading. We are all so happy for you. Giddyup losing 20 lbs and welcoming a new sweetheart on the ranch. (fingers crossed) The Olde Bagg and Co.

  15. Wow! I think this is wonderful and a fantastic compromise. Everyone will be happy. How exciting!!!

  16. Oh that is so exciting! And totally worth losing 20 punds for!

  17. i knew months ago, you would be adopting another donkey into the family. Congratulations. I think she is perfect and beautiful.

    I would love to have a mammoth jack but at 5'4", I would need a ladder to mount.

    Can't wait until April!! So on with the exercise/weight loss program.

  18. Very- VERY- exciting news! All the way around it...and to a smaller you. I may join you all too...
    April will be here in no time...I am booking clients now for the week SPRING official!
    And for me that means...NEW SADDLE...yea-been saving for Soooo long!
    So 8 weeks for me. Thanks for ther inspiration!

    Your Jenny, is sounding so nice...hope she and you will be a match made in heaven~

  19. Sooooo cute. What is her name?

  20. Yay for you and Yay for me! I decided over the holidays to do the same thing! Most of my problem was confidence issues. I was out of shape and out of sorts due to back issues that are now resolved. It didn't matter that I was out of pain. I had lost my confidence and therefore did not get in the saddle.

    I made the decision to find a trainer with school horses and gain my confidence back! Lesson 3 is in 45 minutes and after a few more on her horse she is going to come to my house and we will start lessoning on my horse, Des!

    So proud of me and so proud of you to get back to our love of riding!!

  21. Oh I so hope she is the one :-)

    She looks quite sturdy ... well built, good bone, and she seems to be stepping out quite willingly. I also love the way her ears are swivelled around listening to her rider. Is that by any chance you in the saddle taking a test ride ?

  22. Oh, she's lovely. Do we get to know her name yet or must we wait until you've met her? (which I could certainly understand)
    Are you familiar with gelding/jenny behavior? I got a very sudden, overnight, trial-by-fire education when I ran the donkey rescue satellite adoption center in 2008. Let me know if you want to chat.

  23. PS: just saw on Dr. Oz about weight loss pitfalls and the biggest one was losing motivation. He gave some kind of solution but he should have read your blog first to learn of the most motivating thing :)

  24. Well, shoot, if Wynonna can do it, I can. So far, I really only have time for Bikram Yoga every second day. It's a surprisingly intense workout and I can feel my metabolism getting cranked up. I've only been at it for a little over 2 weeks, so I haven't noticed any weight loss, but they tell me it happens, so I'm hopeful.

    A new donkey! I didn't know they made riding donkeys. *smile* She looks like a real sweetheart and she'll be the belle of the ball around your place. I can just see the boys vying for her attention and showing off.

    Can't wait to meet her! What's her name?

  25. I'm 99.99999999% sure it will work also


  26. She's precious, I hope you and your new friend have a wonderful connection and time together. This is exciting.

  27. Oh wonderful! Can't wait to meet the newest member of your family. April can't get her soon enough anyway as I am getting sick of all the snow here in northeast KS.

  28. I should have anticipated most of these questions...let's see if I can answer them –

    Theresa EH: I don't have an iphone, but I'd love to find a similar app that works on my computer.

    June: Would love to know what you were guessing.

    Anonymous: She's actually a little over 14 hands and that will be plenty big enough. The rider you see in the photo is 5'6" and I'm 5'4". Jillian isn't as harsh on the DVD as she is on TV - that's not to say she doesn't push, though. I'll try to answer your questions about managing/living alone in a separate post someday.

    EvenSong and everyone else who is wondering: She does have a name but I'm from the don't-jinx-it school of thought. But maybe I'll cave and let you know once I get tired of calling her "she."

    Lilla: She's on the western slope of the Rockies, around Delta. Just learned from the owner this a.m. that there's another way to get there besides the pass from Durango to Ridgway. WHEW!

    Gazelle: I appreciate your keen observations.

    Danni: Please check your email.

    Thanks, everybody, for sharing in my excitement!

  29. Awesome! Makes me wonder if you would have heard from someone sooner if you had mentioned in Meredith's ad....jenny! I know some lovely riding geldings and jennies just down the road from me. Doug and Sue Wallace (who I bought my mammoth from years ago) go to Bishop Mule/Donkey Days and really kick ASS! I would love to join you and Saturdays...and could certainly benefit by loosing 20#, or more. Yeehaw..should we just check in on Saturdays?

  30. learnt something new again - riding donkeys. as opposed to donkeys. interesting.

    i have 10kgs to lose myself, and a bad knee that prevents me from being over-exuberant. it's sad when you can't eat a passionfruit tart or brownie a day. very sad indeed.

    good luck with your finess challenge! :)

  31. How very exciting for you. I know it will work out beautifully.

    Who knew I could miss a horse I never met....

  32. You go girl! Glad you have come up with a way to keep Hank safe AND get you back in the saddle! I am concerned about putting a girl in with the boys (even if they are geldings), but if anyone can figure it out, it wll be you :)

  33. I thought maybe you were headin' off to Canada to a wedding.

  34. Hope the owner who is selling her precious donkey is okay. She obviously knows her jenna could not be going to a better place, especially now, with almost the entire country in support!
    Fingers and hooves crossed!

  35. Oh what fun! I can't wait to see what George and Alan do when they meet her. Hank will probably just roll his eyes.


    I'm a little excited. :)

    I'm so going to haul up your way in the haul and we going riding, girl!

  37. We're so excited!!! :D

    I hope you're happy... you motivated me to pull out my Beachbody DVDs. Those things kick my arse. Thanks Carson. ;)

  38. This is very exciting and I'll look forward to learning about saddle mules along the way. I had made up mind, after being horseless for several years, to get another for trail riding but after losing a horse to colic I am scared to go down the horse road again. I thought a saddle mule might be perfect for me, but, like you, have found them to be quite scarce in our area...or terribly expensive. So for now that idea will be on the back burner and I'll live vicariously through you.
    BTW I lost 30 lbs just cutting sugar out of my diet and only eating whole processed.
    It isn't that hard. Your taste buds really adjust.

  39. Absolutely awesome news! I am so glad for you! Hopefully she will make that hole Lyle left not seem so big anymore.

  40. This news is awesome! Can't wait to see the whole pick up and arrival and greeting. I am using a treadmill to start with, as I just got one handed I have it and I need to try it. Walking in my neck of the country/farm roads is so icy right and very cold right now. So I am in. Goal - at least 10 to 15 pounds lighter by the time your jenny arrives. Thanks for the offer of motivation!

  41. Well, of course I will be crossing fingers... Looks like an awesome willing donkey... We here at Parelli have now 2 Pilates and one Cario Vascular workout each week... Phew... I can only imagine how fit I will be come spring :-) Best wishes for your goal!

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  42. She is very pretty and 14 hands should be a great size for you. So much easier than mounting a 15+ hands horse......... I'm very happy for you! Wishing you much success with the weight loss and Ms. Jenny :) Carol

  43. That's awesome! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. We had a standard sized riding donkey for a while. I rode him bareback and my daughter used to ride him - I think she was about 10 years old at the time. He was fun to ride. His gaits felt a little flatter than a horse's but he was super sure footed, willing, and smart. Good luck!!

  44. I LOVE her! She's beautiful. I don't know how you can possibly stand waiting. I'm green with envy here.

    Good luck on the weight loss! I've been on that journey for a while now, will try to keep up with you. :)

  45. Oh, she looks like a sweetheart :).

    You do a LOT of walking and it's a good way to lose weight so you probably just need to tweak your calorie intake a little bit.

    This is helpful :)

    I have to push twice as far as other people walk to get the same results but when you live in a place as beautiful as where I live and combine it with photography, that's very easy :D.

  46. Hi there ~ just catching up with your blog and WHAT EXCITING NEWS! I can't wait to "meet" Lucy. She's adorable. What a great solution to your herd dilema. I love it. I, too, am trying to lose a few pounds... figured Piper would appreciate that and like you, I'll do just about anything for my animals. Good luck and congrats on the soon-to-be new addition. :)