Monday, April 20, 2020

Horse, Mule, Donkey, Burro by Paty Jager

Sprinkle me with glitter and call me a fairy! Ever since reading Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry  in grade school, I thought burros were different than a donkey. That only burros had the line across their shoulders and down their back.

Fifty years later, I learned the truth. Donkeys and burros are the same thing! While some people call a wild donkey a burro and a domesticated burro, donkey. The word burro came from the Spanish word borrico meaning donkey. It was shortened to burro and used instead of the word donkey by some people. These days burro refers to the wild burros/donkeys. Or sometimes if a donkey is smaller in stature.

The agile, strong little equine helped to populate and expand the western United States. The miners found them to be low maintenance and could carry 20% of their body weight or around 100 pounds. Because the donkey came from Africa originally, they require little water and can live on forage that isn't high in protein. In fact, they do better with less protein and having to travel to get their food.

Why did I bring all of this up? Because we have a donkey, who I have always called a burro. His name is George. He is also affectionately called Houdini. If he is in a corral, pasture, field, or any place he doesn't want to be, you will find him outside of it and not be able to figure out how he got there.  He loves kids and being messed with.

Here are some terms for donkeys and mules you might find interesting:
Mule: Cross between a male donkey and female horse
Horse mule: Male mule
Hinny: Cross between a female donkey and a male horse
Jack: Male donkey
Jennet: Female donkey
Mare mule: Female mule
Horse hinny: Male hinny
Mare hinny: Female hinny
John: Male mule or hinny
Molly: Female mule or hinny
Jackass: Donkey
Burro: Same as a donkey but often referred to as a small donkey
Miniature donkey: a smaller breed of donkey

And I have a mule, named Horse, as a secondary character or sorts in my Gabriel Hawke novels. Hawke named the mule Horse hoping the animal would behaved like what he was called. You know, how they say if keep calling someone a liar or a thief or a bad egg they become that. Well, he wants the mule to act more like a horse and that is why Hawke calls him Horse.

I had thought about giving Shandra Higheagle a burro/donkey and didn't do it, but as I am thinking of a new twist in that series, I may just give them a donkey or two. If you could have a donkey-male or female- what would you name he or she? I'll need a name when I add a donkey to the horses, dog, and cat already at Shandra's place on Huckleberry Mountain.

Abstract Casualty the newest release in the Shandra Higheage Mystery series is out. This one is set in Kaua'i so it's not really a western in any sense, but if you have been following the series, you might be interested in it.

Next month I'll have the first 3 Tumbling Creek Novellas in an ebook boxset. I'll give you all the info on that at the Cowboy Kisses Facebook page when they are ready.

Abstract Casualty
Book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series

Hawaiian adventure, Deceit, Murder

Shandra Higheagle is asked to juror an art exhibition on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

After an altercation at the exhibition, the chairwoman of the event, Shandra’s friend, arrives home with torn clothes, scratches, and stating she tried to save an angry artist who fell over a cliff. Shandra and Ryan begin piecing together information to figure out if the friend did try to save the artist or helped him over the edge.

During the investigation, Shandra comes across a person who reminds her of an unhealthy time in her past. Knowing this man and the one from her past, she is determined to find his connection to the dead artist.  When her grandmother doesn’t come to her in dreams, Shandra wonders if her past is blinding her from the truth.

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 44 novels, 8 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

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Julie Lence said...

Hi Paty: Thank you for explaining the difference between the animals. It's always fun to learn something new. Hugs!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Julie. I can't believe I went so long thinking they were two different things!

kathleen Lawless said...

I learned something new today. thanks, Paty.

Paty Jager said...

You're welcome, Kathleen! I try to impart knowledge in my blog posts and my books.

GiniRifkin said...

HI Paty love the post. I have two donkeys, both rescues one from the BLM. They came with names, Rosie and Jack (that took a lot of thought on the previous owners part) and I try not to change them, but Rosie is also called Briar Rose and Jack is Jackson Brown.

I think the French Poitou donkeys may not have crosses. Please be aware the Chinese are globally slaughtering donkeys by the thousands for what they call "hide glue" it is used in cosmetics.

Glad you have a donkey, they are so special.

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