When someone talks about trail riding, usually the first thing not people think of are horses.
But what about donkeys?
This question has been on my mind for a while, so I have a few questions for donkey lovers/owners; mostly in terms of RIDING.
1) Are they really that stubborn? I know that they are infamous for being, well, asses. I think the main deterant for me is that. Are they hard to manage?
2) Height? People say that Mammoths are really hard to find, and normal sized donkeys are too small to ride.
3) Riding skill? Are they steady, good trail rides? Are they reliable and trustworthy, or will they suddenly stop moving and be stubborn?
4) Are they more/less or as expensive as a horse for keeping?
5) Do they need specially fitted tack, or can you just use appropriate fitting horse stuff?
I have the curiousity itch!
Well, I'll have a shot at giving you some answers, based on George, who is a very donkey-like mule. I've had him a long time, and we have shared many adventures.
1) Yes, altho I prefer opinionated. George is not much like a horse, and a Donkey isn't a horse at all. And Yes, George can be a real trial when he is in the mood.
2) Mostly. George is 14h and 850-900lb. He can carry my 150lb butt around all day in the mountains. A smaller lighter person could probably get by on a 13h / 750lb animal, but anything much smaller than that would be iffy. I think an average sized person would want a "Mammoth" donk; in any event that is all I have ever seen being ridden by an adult. They're out there, but not common. A good one even less so, and probably expensive.
3) George is an amazing trail animal, and trustworthy on most any kind of nasty footing. And he can absolutely be relied on to stop and question your authority if he doesn't agree with your plan of action.
4) Less, but not enough to really matter much. A smaller animal will eat and poop less if that's what you are asking.
5) Yes. I never did find a "production" saddle that fit His Muleness properly. He is as round as a barrel, with nothing like a withers. He currently wears a fully custom Synergist saddle that fits him as well as could be contrived (hand fit, in person), but he still has to wear a breast collar and breeching to locate the saddle front to back. Good rider balance is all that keeps it on top.
Hope this adds a little insight. Steve and Georgie T.