Donkeys may not be used for riding, but they can be trained to be. Like horses, donkeys are capable of carrying 20 to 30% of their own bodyweight when properly trained.
Training a donkey takes time and patience. Before beginning to mount it, build trust between animal and rider through ground manners training as well as tack training.
Donkeys typically range in height from 35 inches to 51 inches at their shoulders and weigh 400 to 570 pounds, whereas horses can stand as tall as 67 inches and weight over 1,200 pounds!
Donkeys come in an assortment of sizes and colors, ranging from miniature donkeys to the enormous American Mammoth donkey. Donkeys are known for their intelligence and work ethic.
Animals trained as service animals are adept at performing all manner of labor tasks ranging from construction to animal shows; children also often treat these creatures as companions and pets.
Donkeys have long necks and shorter legs than horses for desert survival. Additionally, their hair is shorter and their hooves more oval-shaped than horses’ hooves. Their eyes are at the sides of their heads providing them with an expanded field of vision while their long ears allow them to locate sources or general directions of sounds independently.
Donkeys have long been used as transport animals since ancient times, and remain integral parts of many economies today. But riding one can be risky and even harmful if done without adequate training and supervision.
Training a donkey to ride requires patience and discipline from both the trainer and owner, along with building trust before beginning lessons.
Veterinarians or experienced equestrians can assess a donkey’s physical health to ascertain if it can be safely ridden. If any hoof issues exist or it has too much weight on its frame, riding should not take place until these issues have been rectified.
As part of your donkey training preparations, it’s essential that they become desensitized to unfamiliar sights, sounds and people. This will enable them to remain calmer when approaching unfamiliar trails and will increase willingness to participate.
Riding a donkey safely takes careful planning and consideration, with its own specific safety measures that must be observed. A saddle made specifically for riding donkeys must also be used and taken the time to familiarise oneself with them before setting out on an adventure ride.
Donkeys can become wary if not properly trained, so it is crucial that their handler is gentle and patient with them during training sessions. You should avoid going places that upset the donkey, as well as riding too quickly or abruptly.
Donkeys possess a natural instinct to protect themselves from danger, and can react more rapidly than horses to novel situations. Donkeys will sometimes act out, such as by spiking, yelping or using their rear legs as weapons in times of fear or pain.
Donkeys make great farm animals, but they can also be quite costly to purchase, maintain, and train. Their upkeep could cost thousands of dollars each year.
Keep your donkey healthy with regular vet visits and care, such as exam fees, dental checks, deworming treatments and vaccinations.
An annual exam for your donkey should cost roughly $50. Additionally, deworming them could require up to three visits annually.
Hay and supplies can also play an integral part of a donkey’s budget. They must receive high-quality feed that will aid their continued strength and health.
Acquiring a donkey is an ongoing expense, so it is wise to prepare financially in advance. By creating a monthly budget for vet bills, food, and supplies you can more accurately predict expenses that may arise over time.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.