This is a donkey, a Mammoth donkey, a heritage livestock breed that is nearly extinct. She is taller than most of the Colonial Spanish horses that I ride. They have little fear and training them to saddle is much easier and safer than training a horse to saddle. They walk faster than most horses but they trot and canter slower than horses.
They have a need to bond with people that might even be stronger than the need to bond that I see with Choctaw horses. They respond well to clicker training and once they develop a skill it seems to be stuck with them without the need for refresher sessions.
In some ways they are too tough for their own good. Their tolerance for pain is so high that it often more difficult to to tell when a donkey is sick than it is to tell if a horse is sick. Worst of all, they make little effort to keep flies off of their legs. Unfortunately, I have found no fly spray that is truly effective in repelling these flies, regardless of advertisers claims.
That is Jenner sitting on the log with the donkeys. Jenner is a serious donkey man. He prefers them to horses. If the virus allows us to remain open this summer, Jenner and I will be doing a five session, "Intro to Donkeys" class on Saturday afternoons.
The donkey riding experience might not be for everyone. I doubt that teen age barrel racers would enjoy riding donkeys as much as I do. For all of their advantages it must be conceded that donkeys will not you where you are going as fast as a horse will.
But as one matures one can find an easy solution to that problem. If the donkey won't get you there as soon as you would like, just begin your ride sooner.