Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. “Fun-sized” is perhaps the best descriptor for the unusual relationship between Caitlin Romeo’s event horse Audacious Comet and her BFF, a mini donkey named Baby Kong.
The story of Baby Kong begins in August 2014, when Advanced level eventer Caitlin Romeo began leasing an 80-acre farm in Voss, North Carolina. When she moved in the owner still had a couple retired show jumpers on the farm, whom Caitlin cares for, as well as four mini-donkeys, three jennies and a jack named Donkey Kong.
It was unclear whether the jennies were pregnant or not so Caitlin moved them to paddocks by the barn in order to better keep an eye on them. In November, one of the jennies gave birth to a sassy ball of fluff who came to be known as Baby Kong.
In an adjacent paddock Caitlin’s green event horse Audacious Comet (“Addie”) looked on with curiosity. The 5-year-old Thoroughbred/Irish mare, by Formula One out of a full sister to Courageous Comet, was just beginning her eventing career with Caitlin.
While successful competitively — they made it to the East Coast Championships for both the Future Event Horse and Young Event Horse series and moved up to Training level this summer — Addie’s social skills were somewhat less developed. “I was unable to put her with any other horses because she played too much and would dominate,” Caitlin says.
The baby mini donkey next door, however, was a different story.
Addie became, says Caitlin, “quite attached.” “We started having really cold nights, so we had to bring Baby Kong in at nighttime and out during the day in a small dog-sized Amigo blanket,” Caitlin recalls. When he was that small, she could just pick him up and carry him all over the farm. “I think that was his favorite way of transportation. Once you held him he would relax like a dog, even when he was 60 pounds.”
Addie didn’t like having her new friend next door taken away, though. “She wasn’t too happy with the situation and started breaking boards when he would leave,” Caitlin says. When it came time to wean Baby Kong from his mother, moving him in with Addie seemed like the logical next step. With Baby Kong as Addie’s new pasturemate, Caitlin says, “her whole personality changed, and she became much happier having him.” The pair has been keeping Caitlin entertained ever since.
Baby Kong once again agrees that cross country schooling is not acceptable today #DontTakeMyFriend #Eventerproblems tug a war with the mini donkey doesn’t work A video posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on
“Baby Kong is a riot,” Caitlin says. “They have now become such close friends that every time we go to grab her he will either try to steal her halter from us or bite the lead rope. If we are quick enough to sneak them away, he will start running in front of her and try to bite her chest, and she will just walk right over him.”
Baby Kong gets soooo mad when you take his friend. A serious case of #eventerproblems when you get hassled to work your horse #irishmare #AudaciousComet #babydonkey #donkey #DontTakeMyFriend #woodlawnfarmeventing A video posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on
“He then started playing with her tail — which is a big no-no — so I put a tail wrap on,” Caitlin says. “Now that he’s not afraid of the wrap, he starts to play tug of war with it.”
Does Baby Kong get any naughtier? trying to preserve the tail and he thinks it’s a tug toy #Eventerproblems #donkey #babydonkey #babykong A photo posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on
“When we put her back in the field it’s almost like a fairytale, the way they run to one another. When we aren’t taking her away from him, you almost catch them daily running around in the field together, and Addie will be jumping over his back or he’s chasing her,” Caitlin says. “If I wasn’t afraid of getting in trouble, I’m sure this donkey would travel to events with us to keep her company, but they make a little more noise then your typical mini pony.”
Love him #babydonkey #miniass #cuddletime #babykong #fluffball A photo posted by Caitlin Romeo (@woodlawnfarmeventing) on
Addie and Baby Kong: best friends forever. Be sure to follow their adventures (and misadventures) on Instagram (@woodlawnfarmeventing), and you can learn more about Caitlin’s and her program at caitlinromeoeventing.com. Go Eventing!