Learning about Donkeys

We love our donkeys, and we want to spend some time showing you how best to look after them, encouraging you to ask questions and obtain information before we entrust them to your care. Contact us for more details if you would like participate in an afternoon session about donkeys.

In the meantime, here are a few tips on how to train and lead a donkey :

- Your donkey

A donkey behaves like any normal child aged between 5 and 6. A firm but gentle guiding hand is necessary from the outset, if you want to get the best out of a donkey. Remember : a donkey is not stupid, he's going to want to test you out, so don't let him nibble the grass along the roadside, otherwise you're going to have a hard time of it when out walking…

- Examples of what to do and what not to do

A donkey can be pushed, but never pulled. One person should walk in front, waving a small branch if need be, leaving the others to follow on behind. Never wrap the strap around your hand or your wrist. If it is pulled tight you could get hurt ! A donkey can pull 300 kgs and you are very lightweight in comparison !

- The pack-saddle

The donkey's back must be protected by using a mat underneath the pack-saddle and its two pouches, one on each side of the donkey. It is essential that each of these pouches contain the same weight, so that the pack-saddle is well-balanced on both sides. Heavy items should be placed at the bottom of the pouch, with lighter things on top. It is not a good idea to have the donkey carry a burden which weighs more than 40 kg (although this does depend on the donkey and on the terrain). Be careful not to overburden yourself (or the donkey) with too much baggage. Leave it behind, and it will be waiting for you on your return.

N.B. : All donkey owners have their own way of putting on the pack-saddle. Listen carefully, and follow their advice to the letter.

Extracted from : 'Advice on Leading a Donkey on a Ramble, Trail or Trek' edited by la Fédération National Ânes et Randonnées (F.N.A.R.)  

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