Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is that animal in the pasture?

Believe it or not, this is a question that I hear from visitors at Andalusia as often as any other. They are referring to the beloved hinny named Flossie, the only full-time resident at the farm. She is actually a descendent of some of the animals that lived here during the time O'Connor was at Andalusia. So what's a hinny? Well, you might say it is the opposite of a mule. And what does that mean? A mule is a cross between a female horse (mare) and a male donkey (jackass). But a hinny is a cross between a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jenny). So you have a mixed breed of a horse and a jenny, thus a hinny. They are a sterile breed, and often have more horse-like features than a mule. Flossie is in her very golden years, probably approaching forty if she isn't already there. She is very cautious but will often come up to the fence when visitors stop to speak to her. She has become more curious with each passing year of the people who come from all around the world to this historic site. And here's an interesting tidbit: she is the subject for more professional photographers than anything else at Andalusia, including the main house! She has appeared on several websites, and her image has appeared in numerous newspaper and magazine articles. She was given world-wide attention in the three-page spread in the New York Times on February 4, 2007 by Lawrence Downes. I am happy to report, however, that Flossie remains humble in spite of her international fame.


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