One characteristic necessary for riding donkeys is patience. It can take a long time for them to understand what you are asking if you ask something new, but you have to keep asking until they make an effort. I experienced this first hand when I was asked by JoDee to back Buddy up. I cued Buddy to back up, but he only opened his mouth and braced, and then began evading by doing a turn on the forehand. He wasn't doing this to be naughty, he just didn't know what to do. It is important with donkeys just to hang in there and keep asking. I continued to ask, and used my left leg to keep him from spinning, but he just decided to go the other way. JoDee stood nearby helping by holding the reins near the bit.
|The group and I(I'm on the left).|
A little later on, I witnessed some funny donkey behavior. While everyone was sitting on their donkeys, watching the clinician work on a young, on of the donkeys laid down–with a rider on her. It was hilarious! I had never seen that happen before! After watching for a while, I again attempted to back Buddy up, this time with a lot more success. He backed quite a few strides, which was great!
|A donkey all the way from Nevada! I rode in an Australian saddle.|
The rest was pretty straight-forward. I trotted him in a figure eight pattern around two barrels, then halted in a box made of white poles. I spun Buddy around first one war, and then the other, before exiting. I then walked through two parallel poles, halted a few seconds, and asked Buddy to back. He did it, and well too! It was so rewarding. To finish off, I went to the rail and headed towards the group. I kicked him into a fast trot and tried to get him to canter. I managed to get him to canter a few strides and trot the rest of the way, which was great because as I said donkeys don't always want to world hard.
I had such an amazing and educational time riding Buddy! Now, I have ridden a horse, a mule, and donkey, all in one month! If you ever get the chance to ride a donkey, you should. It's fun and can be a learning experience.