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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had, well, an obsession with Donkies for way too long. It was borderline embarrassing for people to take me anywhere horsey because the moment I locked eyes with a fluffy long ear I needed an hour or so post cooing and picture taking to recoup myself and move on with life. :D Well today my father found an ad for a horse-drawn wagon on craigslist, good vehicle, great price; so we set out to take a look. Not ten minutes into our wagon experience, I heard a raspy hee-haw coming from behind the shed, and just pleaded to go see the donkey. The owner was happy to oblige as as I bombarded him with questions. For as many questions as I asked you'd think I would have asked the right ones, but I still managed to miss some things.

We found that this fella was for sale, and he'd give us a pretty good price for le donk and his cart. He is older than 8, but I'm not sure how much. He's chubby, never foundered, and isn't real bony so I'd bet he is 'young-ish'. He was broke to drive, which was a definite plus as I probably wouldn't consider anything that old that wasn't broke. He was tied out to what I could make out as a brush hog for a skid-steer. He seemed like a pretty good guy, he came up to us, wasn't head/ear shy. His feet were in pretty good shape, let me pick them up, too. His teeth are decent, and he let me fuss around with his mouth, too, so that is a positive mark.

I've always wanted a miniature donkey to drive around in a cart, and I suppose I would have settled for a miniature horse, but this guy just came out of nowhere and seems almost perfect. But fact of the matter is I have no experience with donkies, although I have lots of experience with horses, and need a bit more knowledge on this before I go buying my dream steed.

How do they differ from horses? How do you ask them differently? As far as driving goes, I've heard donkies are very difficult to get to trot. (I've heard of someone actually using a shocker on a mule to get to trot. :shock:) I work with difficult horses plenty, and while I love my horses and they are all pets to me, there is a line they do not cross. Is driving them any different if they are trained?

I would like opinions on this donkey, as well. His situation is less-than-ideal, but it is all he knows and he does just fine. Is there anything about him that would send any one running away screaming? I'm excited, but I want to know that he is going to be something I can handle before getting to attached. Thank-you everyone in advanced.
 

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For the pics you have up, he doesn't look too bad. If he was trained to drive in the past, you sholdn't have too much trouble bringing him back into it. They remember EVERYTHING! As far as differences between donkeys & those not blessed with long ears....
Donkey's don't try to get away from pressure like a horse will. They have to understand why what you want is a good idea for them to do. You can not rush a donkey. Go slow & let them think it out. Once the two of you are speaking the same language, they are very loyal & obedient.
It took me quite awhile to get Danee to trot in hand & under harness, but now he will do it as soon as I ask. I have yet to see a donkey bolt when scared. Mine will square up & try figure out if they need to defend heard & home.
Care wise, slow feeder's & grazzing muzzles are a godsend. Most donkeys are air ferns. Doneys will get a cresty neck quickly. I have 2 mini donks & they get 1 flake of grass hay in each slow feeder, once a day. In the winter, 1 1/2 flakes in each feeder. The only grain they get is Danee will get a handfull after we have worked in the cart.
A good, waterproff shelter is a must. Donkey's do not shead water like a horse. They will soak it up like a cotton ball & get soaked to the skin. Mine will come running for the barn at the first sprinkle of rain. I only lock them in durring the worst ice storms in the winter.
Make sure your farrier understands donkey feet. They are very different than horses. Much more upright.
generally they are very healthy & hearty little creatures
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We brought him home - he is such a card. We tried him out today, and he was very good considering his unfortunate-looking harness. They drove him in an open bridle with a tomb thumb and no keeper. :? Considering he listened in that, I think with at very least a proper bit he should only get better. I am used to driving horses with closed bridles, but he didn't seem to care - should I bother to get a harness with blinders? I'm not certain that he ever has been driven with blinders.

He loaded well, despite not being loaded for eight years. He certainly didn't jump right in right away, but we had him loaded without any prodding or lifting within 5 minutes. We took him home and have him currently housed in our indoor arena. When he realized he was off lead he was so happy! He rolled and trotted and sniffed to his heart's desire. I think he is glad to not have to worry about that rope any more.

From where he was in the arena, he could see all the horses, and they could vaguely see him. He didn't bray at them, and seemed hardly interested. I called our old mare and our filly into the barn and they were a bit mystified. The mare was turned inside out, and miss filly was very curious. Our donkey, once again, cared not. There was a crash noise outside and the horses ran out and did not come back in since. :lol:

A bit later I brought him over to see the rest of the horses. They were collectively stupefied. He didn't really look at them, which confused them even more. :lol: None of them have seen a equine that small, much less a donkey. One of our mares once had to ride past a dreaded 16 hand mule and didn't care for it then and she hasn't had a change of heart. :lol:

I figured that was a lost cause, so I took him for a walk I think he very much enjoyed. I honestly don't think he's ever just gotten to go for a walk. He has a few behavioral issues, but is not a viscous mauler, so I have high hopes for him! I also took the liberty of renaming him; I was going to ask for opinions, but I started calling him Franklin and couldn't bear to call him anything else. :oops: He seems like a Franklin to me, and I just am not a huge fan of having fluffy names for mini horses/donkeys just because they are small.

If my computer was cooperating I'd put more pictures up, but I hope to share our adventures and I will certainly be asking more questions to those who are willing to answer them!
 

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Happy for you! I also have a donkey & am new to them. Mine came quite overweight & her neck is very cresty. It is already a lot softer, so I'm hoping it will go down. She has "fat lumps" all over-I'm hoping I can get them to go away, but they are easy-keepers. She has a nice shelter & seems to really like the mats I keep there. I hope when it rains, she will stay under the shelter-right now she likes to stand out in the sun, and she does like her naps.
 

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Lovely. I have a coming 3yo donk named Arthur who I acquired last winter. I knew nothing about donkeys and...still almost know nothing! I have learned the whole 'Ask Show Bribe Think Consider Decision' learning process with Arthur, and next year i really should progress with his training to give him a job other than companion.

I will watch and learn from your thread.
 

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Good luck with him! He is very cute! There is a donkey at the barn where we board our horse and he and my horse are best pals. The look on my horse's face the first time he heard that braying was just hilarious.
 

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He is the sweetest thing ever! Keep us updated with his progress!
 

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Dang...he's really cute! He sounds like a very sensible fellow.
Initial horse reactions to long ears can be quite entertaining.
 

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Franklin is the cutest!!! I LOVE LOVE his name!! Congratz!
 

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So cute! I can't wait to see updates on him. My sister and I are going to pick up our two new "long eared" additions this weekend :) Must be a bug going around or something hehe
 

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Adorable!!

Litt is right. They do remember EVERYTHING... which can be good, or bad. For example, the donkeys I work with had 3 years off driving. No ground driving, no nothing. When I "took them on" I snapped on two long leads to their halters and a whip and ground drove them away. After a few days of ground driving I got out the cart and off we went. Neither one of them skipped a beat!! They did it as if they had been doing it all along!

On the flip side the woman who drove them before me let Venus get away with being lazy. I've spent a lot of time working on her voice commands in the round pen and making sure when I want her to do something she does it. The most important thing is making them think it's their idea. Now when I ask her to trot and she does it I reward her only making it a short distance. I've kind of tricked her into thinking "ok, it won't be far". Then I just increase the distance. And lots of praise when she is going. I try to refrain from getting after them with the whip unless I need to since I don't want to think "I'll just keep walking until she makes me". If it does come down to it I make it count then go back to voice commands and a light touch on the rump.

Good luck with Mr. Franklin!
 

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This donkey is a mini. They do lose those fat lumps with good food and exercise. Exercise is really the key for these guys. They like to be couch potatoes if allowed. They are adorable and usually loving and happy to be with people and get along. I trim lots of donkeys of all sizes and yes, their hooves are a bit different and can be problematic for many farriers to understand and get right. I suggest learning to trim him yourself. It's not that hard to if you learn to do it correctly from the start. Donkeys are very social herd animals even moreso than horses and a pal donkey is usually best for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
TGIF! Thank you all for the replies, I've had quite the week so it has taken me a bit to get back here. Franklin is doing very well, and now has two buddies - our old Morgan mare named Gypsy, and my 9 month old Curly filly Takala. They have yet to properly warm up to each other, but are past fear and aggression phases of their friendship, so hopefully things get better. Gypsy, our old mare, colicked really bad on Tuesday. :-( We almost thought we were going to lose her, but almost miraculously she was walking, eating, and drinking in the morning after 24 hours of intense pain. Lots of time, and help from our vet, she is doing better. We joke that Franklin must be a gastroenterologist and doctored her in the night. :lol: But having that tying me up I didn't get very many pictures of Franklin, so I'll share the ones that I have.

So far I have tried working with his hooves, and trimming the fronts, which while they were not terrible, they needed it. I've tried using treats to reinforce good behavior. Sometimes it clicked with him, but he was a bit snippy taking them from me. I've seen treat/clicker training used with much success, but how do I do this without him becoming nippy? I never use treats with my horses for this reason. Also, I would like to teach him to lunge, which I imagine he has never done. How can I effectively teach him to walk/trot/canter? I have a round pen, and I've taught numerous horses to lunge and be light in the halter, but I can tell he doesn't think the same way, and isn't going to simply obey to a carrot stick waving behind him consistently enough to figure it out.

Also, he drives in an open bridle. The bit he came with was a few inches too big, and a tom thumb, so I definitely plan on getting him something different. If I am going to be driving him more, does it pay to use a closed bridle? It is just what I am used to driving horses in, but I don't know if this will adversely effect him. I'm looking to get him a half-cheek snaffle, and am weighing the difference between a jointed mouth piece and a solid one. Opinions? Also, I'm looking for a reputable online dealer of miniature tack. I want a biothane/synthetic harness, relatively cost-effective. I have all leather harnesses, so I'd like something lighter, easier to clean, and most of all, a bit cheaper. Thank you anyone for any hints.
 

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For the treats, grab a small cheap Tupperware. You can even punch a hole into and clip it to your belt for easy access. You also put it on the ground and associate the click with the treat bowl. Another option is just tossing it in the floor. I throw treats around my mares feet and she goes right for them. You may have to show him a couple times first.
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I tried a o-ring snaffel with my donk & he hated it! I use a straight bar liverpool & he likes that. I've been told they have a lower pallet than horses.

If he will do well in an open bridle, don't fix what ain't broke! Mine won't work in one, we have to use a driving bridle.

As for the lunging, I got mine going round & round in hand. as time when on, I'd let out more & more line. Eventually I was in the center & he was going around me. It did probably take me 3 months to get to that point!
 
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