Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Allison Price
Are you a fan of riding donkeys? Do you dream of riding donkeys, aka. saddle donkeys?
You are not the only one. There has been an increase in interest in saddle donkey riding over the past few years. It’s logical. They are friendly, easygoing, non-reactive, and more likely to avoid a flight response. People feel more comfortable around donkeys than horses if they have never had to ride horses in their childhood.
I am one of them.
One time, I tried to make horses work for me. My energy and personality are not compatible with horses’ energy and natural instinctive traits.
I’m not assertive. Horses were able to ignore me, and they sensed my nervousness. Horses and donkeys are not the same. I couldn’t bond with horses like I could with donkeys.
Their tendency to bolt, buck or rear when things weren’t going their way was something I didn’t like. I didn’t like spending hours training them and then having to give them’refreshers’ after a few weeks.
These are the things saddle donkeys have no problems with.
Saddle Donkey Advantages
- Keep what you have learned! They don’t need to be reminded often. They are able to do it once they have it down. You won’t be able to ride your donkey for weeks, months or years, but he will learn and remember it, and he won’t panic about it when he is able.
- They don’t buck or rear. They can even run like horses. My saddle donkey will give me a hindquarter yield if he doesn’t want or need to do something. Although it’s irritating, it won’t send me to the hospital. I used to have horses that would not do what I asked them to, or they would bolt and run wild. They behaved like they would rearrange.
- Donkeys can be trained easily! This is something I’m sure I know. Donkeys are very easy to train. They are so much easier to train than horses for me. They can do certain things faster than horses. It is all about trust building, building trust and communicating with your donkeys.
- They provide a peaceful ride. You can enjoy the view, the fresh air, and relax. They don’t move at a rush. They are exactly what I need to manage stress.
- It is easy to care for. Donkeys don’t require as much upkeep as horses. They require less grooming than horses and eat less. Donkeys are generally healthier and don’t need shoes as often as horses. My vet bills went through a roof when I added horses to my farm. It seems that nothing I did would keep them safe. It is a constant struggle. But not so with donkeys. They have their needs, but not as much as the horses I had.
Saddle Donkeys’ Disadvantages
Like all things, there will be disadvantages. These are not for me. These may seem like disadvantages to some, and for others a horse might be a better option.
- Donkeys prefer to move at a slower speed. Horses are better if you canter all day. You can canter donkeys, but they will need to be accompanied by spurs if you want them cantering for extended periods of time.
- Donkeys require a partner. Donkeys want to be trusted and to have a good relationship. Don’t try to be assertive with donkeys or teach them -R methods as you would a horse. If you’re a strict -R-only trainer, I recommend sticking with horses.
- The right animal is the one for the job. If you are looking for a barrel racer, donkeys will be a problem. They won’t be as impressive with a Reiner or a cutting donkey. You can do similar tasks with a donkey, but it won’t look like a horse. They are genetically different. Donkeys and horses have shorter twitch muscles, which allows them to perform super fast sharp movements. The donkey has longer twitch muscles but doesn’t respond in the same way.
Do you think riding donkeys is right for your plans
What are the advantages and disadvantages of these options? It all depends on your personal goals and preferences, isn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, I love horses. Horses are beautiful and can be used for so many purposes. They are too beautiful to be ridden.
But I enjoy riding, and the saddle donkey is the best choice for me. Perhaps it is for you? There are many options. Horse owners don’t have to be the only ones who ride. America seems to have forgotten about the best and most stable riding horse over the years.
It’s time to get the donkeys back on the trails!
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!