Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Donkeys and The Road Less Taken

Pleasant surprises are always good and nothing has pleasantly surprised me more than the vital, and growing, role in our program that the donkeys now have. Training a donkey is different than training a horse. Pressure and release is often the key to teaching a horse because of its extreme  preference of flight over fight. Donkeys, on the other hand, kill coyotes--evidence of their willingness to prefer fight over flight under the right circumstances. To further complicate matters, donkeys have such a high tolerance for pain that it is very difficult to successfully use coercion to train donkeys. 

I find them to be smarter than horses and are often more affectionate than horses. They are strong and tend to be fast walkers. Some have trots that not only does not hurt my back, the slight twisting gait often stretches and relaxes my back. They rarely panic and bolt. They generally do not buck as often as will a horse. 

If it sounds like I am describing a wonderful mount for an older rider or a younger rider who might have some physical complications that making riding a horse risky--that is exactly what I am saying. They give back more than they ask for. They often bond even closer to people than do Choctaw horses. 

They can get over weight very easily and need lower calorie forage and exercise, and exercise, and more exercise. They need to be ridden. 

I enjoy my occasional rides on the donkeys that are at Mill Swamp. I expect that as I get older I will enjoy those rides even more. Just because you can't ride a horse does not mean that your equine riding days must come to an end. 

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