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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 25, 2011

    Talking Long ears, how are they different?

    My beautiful Ace came home from her summer residence yesterday, bringing her new boyfriend with her..

    He is all kinds of cute, and like myself, well over weight He is generally just a pasture puff, but he can lead, if one is patient and persistent I'm told.

    Everyone says that donkeys and mules are different, you cant train them like you do a horse, so how the heck do you train him? I would love to be able to take him for walks, it would be super cute to be able to ground drive him, but how do you start?

    Any one got some first steps on this one?
    I'm not sure if I grew out of stupid or ran out of brave.

    Practicing Member of the Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine Clique

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Cascade Foothills



    Here's my two cents: horses evolved on the plains, where the best survival strategy is to get out of dodge, and are therefore more likely to move away from pressure and have a strong flight instinct. Donkeys evolved in rocky areas where "freeze and blend in" works, so they are more likely to hold still and plant their feet when they feel unsure. They are also adapted to living off of virtually nothing, so be very, very careful about grass and grain. Foundering is a real risk.

    I would say that a donkey can learn anything a horse can learn as long as they feel safe, but he is not going to let you bully him into anything. Meredith Hodges has some good books on training longears, and while I don't love everything she writes I do think she has a good grasp of donkey psychology. Donkey's are much more likely to object by standing still and glaring than by thrashing and spazzing, which makes training them seem a bit safer and easier in my opinion!

    Good luck!
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin


    OMG! He's just the cutest little donkey EVER! I wonder if I could get away with keeping one in my backyard...?

    Congrats on your handsome new little guy!
    I loff my Quarter horse clique

    I kill threads dead!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2012
    Twin Cities


    Well, for one thing, he is to die for CUTE.

    Self preservation instinct is stronger in mules & donkeys. They have long memories. If you piss one off, they hold a grudge (against you, particularly). My friend had a draft mule & she was working with an old timer to train her. Old timer told her to never, ever hit the mule, because then you can just forget it.

    You take what you can get for that day when training, then try again the next day.

    Someone told me that they are more like cats, affectionate but independent, where as horses are more like dogs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2010


    speaking from ONLY my own experience.......i have 3 donks and 1 mule ,along with horses.......newish to donks and mules, had horses for 30+ yrs.......

    the donks, once socialized, are really puppies in long ear suits....if they love you, they LOVE you, and like goats or cats, once you have their interest, it is very difficult to make them keep a nose out of what you are doing.....extremely persistant, and long memories........i have my equines strictly for my own pleasure, and for me, i get back more feedback from the donks than the mule or horses....and that works for ME.........might not be everyone's cup of tea...

    my molly mule is sweet, sweet, sweet, but much more reserved in her affections, and even after a year of lovies, cuddlies, and special pains to let her know she is safe and loved, she is still cautious with interactions..not mean, just aloof..............the times that SHE approaches ME for attention are rare, and make my heart

    my morgan mare has been with me since she was 6 months old..she is now 15.........she is loving and affectionate, will even leave food to greet me.....but once her curiousity or affection needs have been satisfied, she will be distracted, wander off....whereas donks will

    the animals are all right out my back door, which makes for a different relationship as well..........and donks are extremely vocal whentheysee you..........

    now, i am biased because donks seem to like to a donk rescue, and the folks were amazed at how even the most reserved donks came up to me and hung their head over my shoulder.....the laughingly called me the donkey, i thnk it depends on what sort of relationship you are looking for from an equine......
    and the mules and donks are FAST to learn fast

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
    Cambridge Springs, PA


    My donkey is really smart. When he arrived he didn't want you to touch him past his shoulder and would kick out. I didn't want to get kicked so I (and yes, this sounds silly) brushed him with a broom. He was suspicious but after a few moments realized I was not hurting him and it felt rather good. Literally after about 30 seconds, he allowed me to use a regular brush all over his body. He similarly needed to get used to having his legs handled and picking up feet, just took it easy and calm and he quickly realized that I wasn't going to hurt him and become quite good about it very quickly. For a while I had to walk along side of him while leading and tap him on the hindquarter with a whip or the end of the rope... never hitting, just tapping, to get him to move... now he leads fine. He is very affectionate and sweet, loves having his ears rubbed and scratched, loves being groomed, will tolerate baths.
    Anyways, we love our donk, Wilson, and I'm sure you'll love yours!
    2016 RRP Makeover Competitor

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