Tips For Tack For My Texas Donkey

What to feed a donkey?

Ray enjoys grazing at various points in our neighborhood for several hours a day! Here he is in our neighbor's yard after the big ride!
Ray enjoys grazing at various points in our neighborhood for several hours a day! Here he is in our neighbor's yard after the big ride! | Source

Begin With The Best Information

The Definitive Donkey: A Textbook on the Modern Ass
The Definitive Donkey: A Textbook on the Modern Ass

This book is well-known as the very best all-around book about donkeys. It was written by a very dear family friend, Betsy Hutchins, founder of the American Donkey and Mule Society, a worldwide registry.

 
Mustang Nylon Breaking Hackamore
Mustang Nylon Breaking Hackamore

This is a nice looking, effective, affordable bridle that is easy to adjust for all sizes. I really like the extra long, soft reins. They are easy to hold and provide just the right amount of "giddy-up" when slapped gently on the donkey's rump.

 
Reinsman Tacky Too Bareback Pad Brown
Reinsman Tacky Too Bareback Pad Brown

This is a really high quality, secure feeling bareback pad. It has a waffled interior that grips the donkey's back comfortably, and the micro suede surface provides good grip for the rider. The brown is really beautiful and leather-like. It comes with a fleece covered 30" girth.

 
15" MINIATURE HORSE / SMALL PONY FELT GIRTH CINCH
15" MINIATURE HORSE / SMALL PONY FELT GIRTH CINCH

I got this pony girth for my standard donkey's size. It fits perfectly and gives the already versatile Reinsman bareback pad even more flexibility and potential use.

 

Is It Hard To Care For Donkeys?

Taking care of a pet donkey in a small Texas town is quite a bit of work. My eight year old pet donkey, Ray, lives in a small lot near my home. Sometimes he spends a few days in my yard and helps me with the grass. Most days, he can be found staked out somewhere around the neighborhood grazing in vacant lots. Ray is a popular donkey about town, and he frequently has visitors who take his picture and make much of him.

Do Donkeys Make Good Pets?

Lots of people ask me this. The answer is, donkeys make good pets for people who know how to take care of horses and donkeys. A donkey is not a dog. It requires lots of space, grass to eat, hay, grain, hoof trimming, exercise, fly repellent and more. You must be bold enough to handle a large animal with confidence, or your donkey (or any equine) will run all over you, and you will have a very hard time.

Is Riding A Donkey Fun?

Honestly, I haven't ridden a donkey since I was a teenager - until today! Recently, when I have taken Ray out of his lot to groom him, walk him around the neighborhood and stake him out to graze, I have had the strong urge to hop on him and ride him to our destination. The trouble is, I really don't know much about his past training. He is gentle and cooperative, but he can also be headstrong. I am not foolish enough to just hop up on him without someone strong and steady on the ground. That's where our farrier, Rick, came in handy. He is very quiet, confident and experienced and agreed to help me find out if Ray is ridable.

What Kind Of Donkey Saddle & Bridle Should I Get?

Because I don't intend to ride a lot, I decided to get simple, inexpensive, high quality tack. I chose a Reinsman Tacky Too Bareback Pad as my donkey saddle and a Mustang training bosal, which is a natural bitless bridle. I ordered the items from Amazon, and they arrived right away. I am extremely pleased with them. The pad is brown micro suede, and it looks and feels just like real leather. It sits securely on Ray’s back, and it does not slip or allow me to slip at all.

Although, both items were large for Ray as-is, it was easy to burn a couple more holes in the nylon headstall of the bridle using a heated awl (or you could use a heated nail). The girth of the bareback pad was too long for Ray, so I ordered him a 15" pony girth, which made it just perfect. Once I had everything adjusted for him, I tacked him up and let him get used to everything with short, riderless walks around the neighborhood every couple of days for a week.

I am incredibly pleased with all of these versatile items because I can use them easily with my standard donkey, but if I get a larger horse, pony or mule later, they will fit. I think this was a truly excellent purchase.

How Was The First Ride?

Our farrier, Rick, came by today and we saddled Ray up and just took him for a walk around the neighborhood. He kept one ear cocked back and one forward letting us know he was paying attention. After a little walk, I mounted up for the first time in 30 years, and Rick walked us in figure eights, over little ditches and other small obstacles as I reined. Ray seems to know a little bit about neck-reining and a little more about plow-reining. He was kind of nervous, but overall he did pretty well.

We spent about half an hour with him and will work with him a couple more times. After that, I think I will be able to ride him around the neighborhood a little bit! You may think a middle-aged woman riding a spotted donkey around a small town neighborhood looks funny, but I don't really care! I know you're just jealous!

Copyright:SuzanneBennett:March 18, 2013

Ray Is A Professional Companion

Source

Update On Riding Ray...

Actually, I eventually gave up on riding Ray. He doesn't seem to know much of anything about being ridden, and he's not at all enthusiastic about learning. Now his main job is just to stand around looking pretty and to keep my mule, Rojo, company!

10-2-2015

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Comments 16 comments

diogenes profile image

diogenes 3 years ago from UK and Mexico

Lovely story about you and your donkey. I love them, such humility and character. May I suggest a book to you? If you haven't read Graham Mackintosh's book "Journey with a Baja Burro," it is a gripping and sentimental true story.

Bob


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, Diogenes! I will look it up! :)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I rode a donkey once and he was quite gentle, just like the one you rode. I would love to give Ray a hug, he looks so adorable!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

He likes hugs, carrots and butterscotch treats (which the farrier always has in his pocket)! Thanks for reading and commenting! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Suzanne,

Your last couple of sentences made me smile. "You may think a middle-aged woman riding a spotted donkey around a small town neighborhood looks funny, but I don't really care! I know you're just jealous!" Ha! You are undoubtedly correct!!! I would have guessed that Ray likes carrots and perhaps apples, but butterscotch treats...that was a surprise. So Ray has a sweet tooth! Up, interesting and funny votes. Enjoy your future rides!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Yeah, these are special butterscotch treats for equines. I don't know how anyone came up with the idea of this flavor, but it seems to be a favorite! Thanks for reading, commenting and voting! :)


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 3 years ago from India

Very interesting. Voting it up and useful.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

Really good advice, Ms. Suzanne. Living here in Texas I know this place is just full to brimming over with jack-asses, but I had no idea a person could own one! ;) Yours is a cutie too.

I bet it would be a lot of fun to ride one of these jacks, but aren't they hard to get them to do what they're supposed to? I mean the ones I know always want to go off in some crazy direction that makes no sense, ya know? ;)

This really is a great hub and enjoyed reading it. Voting it up.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Many thanks! I haven't made a lot of progress with Ray as far as riding. He is just not into it! He just likes to stand around looking pretty! :D


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

Who doesn't prefer to do that when they can? Stand around and look pretty that is.

I was likening the donkey to the Voldemort Bunch, you know, the Party that shall not be named? I don't know if you picked up on that. Anyway, I think it's cool you have such a cute pet.

I should think Ray would be more fun to hug than to ride anyway. I worked with draft horses for a little while and most of them were just big babies and loved their hugs and attention. I know donkeys and draft horses aren't the same, but pets seem to have a lot in common no matter what kind they are -- except maybe the reptiles and tarantulas. No hugging for them. ;)

Anyway, I need to share this hub with my followers. I meant to do that last time.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Hi Suzanne, I joined Penterest and wanted to pin some of your hubs and this one I chose because I like Ray and like to hear about him.

I see my friend Aunt Jimi commented on this one and maybe she pinned it also. I pinned it on Pets and other animals


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Great! Many thanks, you two!

BTW ~ Remember that the donkey is the symbol of our illustrious party and has nothing in common with that other party. Additionally, no human being can ever be insulted by being compared with any animal. Conversely, no animal can ever be complimented by being compared with the vast majority of humans! :D


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

You are welcome, I love the picture of Ray, and the comparison of humans to animals and vice-versa. :-D


SandCastles 3 years ago

I love donkeys! What a cool pet!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! Yes, he is! He gets a lot of attention! :D

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