The donkeys eagerly wait for their "grass time" which is usually after their lunchtime hay. I open the gates toward the pond and they get to chow down for about an hour now.
My habit is to go and get Dorica first (she the smallest and is getting a bit role poly.) She comes out very nicely because she knows it's her lesson time and she would rather be clicker trained than eat grass (amazing!) So we do a little lesson - Deenah is content without her for a while but eventually comes trotting off the grass herself to see where Dorrie has gone.
My habit is to then halter and tie both jennys and go and get Ringo. Then with all three hitched to the fence, I set about grooming, picking hooves, etc. Well, this time, I must have tied Deenah too long. It was just a short pony lead but enough to cause a mishap.
I heard two bangs as though a hoof was hitting a fence - Ringo and I hurried back and saw that Deenah was down. Poor girl must have stepped over the lead and tripped herself. It looked awful! She had her body crammed against the fence rail with her head twisted and one front hoof over the lead. She was still tied of course so her head was held up - I immediately unhooked the lead rope and freed her foot but she couldn't get up. She was breathing hard and in a sweat and I was panicky. No one was home and I wondered if I would have to call a neighbour to help get her on her feet but I didn't want to leave her side.
Soon though, she had caught her breath and with me heave-hoeing from behind her, she scrambled to her feet and just stood as though stunned. I asked her to walk to make sure her legs were okay - other than a scrape over her eye and another scrape below her nose, she was okay.
The whole incident lasted for maybe ten minutes tops, but it could have ended in disaster. How easy it is to become a bit lax in how we do things. Donkeys are generally so calm that I never expected something like this to happen. Who knows how she tripped herself - but the awful truth is that it was my negligence that caused it. Talk about learning the hard way!