Thursday, 29 March 2007

Birthdays and Big Hairy Donkeys!!

It was my Birthday last weekend and it reminded me of my first Birthday here in 1992. I was on my own which was a strange experience for me. I decided to go out for the day as I didn't want to be depressed all by myself. I had heard about some Big Hairy Donkeys and thought it might be nice to go and find them. It was a beautiful day, so warm in fact that I went in shorts and a t-shirt.

I had the address of the Haras National at Dompierre sur Boutonne which was the home of these donkeys. I arrived just after lunch, I was the only visitor and was shown round by the gentleman in the picture who was in charge of the Haras[stud]. He told me a little about the actions being taken to save these amazing animals from extinction. The Baudet de Poitou as it is called is indigenous to the Poitou -Charentes region of France and is a very impressive animal being much bigger than most Donkeys with fabulous ears and a rastapharian coat, it is also incredibly gentle. The animal in the first picture shows a mother and foal, the second photo is an entire male.

On my first visit there were many new born foals which I was able to stroke and fuss it was a wonderful way to spend my Birthday and I fell in love with those gentle giants and would love to own one. Maybe one day!!! Since that visit I have been back many times taking friends to see these glorious animals and they all fall in love with them. I am glad to say that the number of animals has risen to the point where they are no longer endangered. The Haras has expanded with a new visitor centre, special visits for schools to teach the children of the need to preserve their heritage and better facilities for the Donkeys. A real success story.
But for me my first impression has remained the most vivid in my memory not least because of the passion of the Director at the time, he obviously loved his Donkeys and was determined to save the Race, which he has done. I have included a website with more info and pictures, it is in French but the photos are great and it's fairly easy to follow I think!

1 comment:

Caroline said...

They are so cute - great link too.
Happy belated birthday.