View Full Version : Will the Ass Experts Chime in please...

Dec. 10, 2009, 01:44 PM
Now that's I've got your attention :) This is really a serious thread for the Donkey folks out there.

We have a donkey issue with Gizmo.

Backstory (and he's listed in the giveaways for ya all to check out). Gizmo was found on craigslist earlier this year. Pathetic picture et all- showed a small young donkey tied to a fence. I, the sucker, went to see him and felt the need to provide him an upgrade in life. Fellow COTHer's stepped up to assist financially and I brought him to TIER for his gelding procedure and dehormone. After a couple months brought him to my place where he shares his paddock with a shetland mare. He is currently about 1 1/2 yo, strong indication that he was bottlefed, very physically abused and used for pony rides until the previous owner could no longer handle him. They called him "Loco". I call him lucifer's steed.... just kidding... mostly I just say he's demonic :winkgrin:

Now for the current situation.

We are currently at a standstill in training. We need to do something with him though. What I'd like is for some feedback on activities we can do with him. I need to be able to redirect his energy in a positive manner. He craves human attention and not working with him either sends him into 'depressed funk' or more aggressive behavior.

Dec. 10, 2009, 01:53 PM
Ugh, that's the trouble with longears. My mule is just so so smart that he gets bored quickly...and when he gets bored, he starts...err...making his own entertainment. Like f-ing with gates, and chewing his stall, and breaking buckets.

What about trick training? It could turn into a disaster, of course (like the horses taught to sit who do it in the middle of the show ring) but maybe if you did the more innocent tricks? He's never going to be ridden, so maybe teach him to bow, or something?

Is it possible to give him another younger friend who'll play with him? Hopefully the mare helps to keep him in his place a bit.

Dec. 10, 2009, 01:55 PM
Also...when I'm just not up to actually working with my guy, I'll take him for a walk. Just like a big dog. And he loves every second of it. :) I'll talk to him, and we'll walk along, sampling vegetation (well, HE does!), and when I put him back he's much more content. I don't actually ride him much, so he gets very jealous when I take my horse out and ride/work/fuss over him.

It's also amazing what five minutes of one-on-one brushing will do for his personality, as well.

Dec. 10, 2009, 02:01 PM
This is NOT what you want to hear, but does he perhaps need another of his own kind? That said, when I got my donkey girls, I was warned that, unlike horses, the girls are much more consistently mellow in temperament. Boys, even gelded, are much, umm, moodier. Given the givens, maybe that's what you are seeing.

My girls have me very well trained, but I can't claim much know-how in terms of me training them. I think they are instrumental in keeping each other company, though. Their relationship between the two of them is very different than with the horses.

Paddys Mom
Dec. 10, 2009, 04:56 PM
I drive my donkey. I was told he was trained to drive. I spent one day long-lining him and then hooked him up. In hindsight, I probably should NOT have taken the sellers at their word, but it has all worked out well. I won't say he "loves" being driven, but he tolerates it. :winkgrin:

Dec. 10, 2009, 05:09 PM
I know that Katie mule craves companionship. She is actually kind of ticked off right now because Paco is back to his old self and she can't use him as a chew toy anymore. She has been hanging with Trooper over the fence and making faces at Paco behind his back :lol:

This all stems from GASP! the ride. Yes, my DH's first ride on a horse was on Trooper, not Katie. And trust me, she made him pay dearly for it. My DD too because she is the one who GASP!! led him on Trooper.

She still loves me nana boo boo!

The other thing is because Trooper and Paco learned how to kiss, her signature trick!

Someone told me that goats and donks were a good match but that combination scares me a little for obvious reasons. I hate to suggest you get a partner in crime for him, but it might make him very happy.

I have been going through all Meredith Hodges videos and am finding out so much about these amazing creatures. I watch and then go out and work with Katie and it is much clearer than with just the book. The book helped, but the videos have been awesome.

Lori B
Dec. 10, 2009, 05:12 PM
I can't really contribute here, but want to tell the OP that I was compelled to read her post because of the hysterical subject line. There are a lot of Ass Experts on this forum, but not all of them own donkeys. :-)

Dec. 10, 2009, 05:41 PM
I feel your pain. I have a mini gelding donkey who is such a BRAT! I try to work with him and we don't get anywhere. There is no telling what his life was like before he came to us. He's pretty young, but I think he may have been kept in a stall his whole life. I think that, because when we went to see him the guy said he didn't want him getting to his mini mares. This was before we brought him home and had him gelded.

So, now he's out 24/7 with my 17.2 hand warmblood gelding and a run in shed. He escapes any chance he gets and takes off down the road. I run after him trying to catch him, then he freaks out once he decides he doesn't know where he's going.

He got tangled up in the woods the other day and wouldn't move. I had to crawl in through the sticker bushes to untangle him. He coughs when he's nervous, so he did that the whole time while I go scraped up saving his ASS!
I can't trust him around my son because the donkey put him in the same catagory as dogs, which he loathes. The farrier hates him, it takes a miracle to worm him. He bosses the horse around and actually gave him a black eye the other day.

I've got to get control, but I don't know how either....
So, I have no advice....just know that you are not alone...

Dec. 10, 2009, 05:51 PM
As a mule keeper, I can only offer you half-assed advice. :D

My mule likes to go hiking. Granted, he was a rescue and we have no idea what his history is or if he's broke to ride or drive. So we walk. He stays at human speed and likes to peruse the neighborhood and trails.

My mule also likes to stand around and talk with humans, just sort of hanging out. Maybe you could appoint him as your buddy when you clean stalls or do work in the barn or yard?

Lori B
Dec. 10, 2009, 06:06 PM
Yardwork wouldn't be so boring and unpleasant if I could hang around with an equine while I did it. But I don't suppose the suburbanites would take to a mule in my yard, hauling leaves & dirt. But it might be fun........

Dec. 10, 2009, 06:07 PM
As a mule keeper, I can only offer you half-assed advice. :D

My mule likes to go hiking. Granted, he was a rescue and we have no idea what his history is or if he's broke to ride or drive. So we walk. He stays at human speed and likes to peruse the neighborhood and trails.

My mule also likes to stand around and talk with humans, just sort of hanging out. Maybe you could appoint him as your buddy when you clean stalls or do work in the barn or yard?

JER this is Katie to a T! This is what she just LOVES to do. We joke that she is the official "boss" of the farm because she has to oversee everything that goes on. I had great dreams of her doing all sorts of things but this seems to be what she enjoys the most.

Dec. 10, 2009, 09:00 PM
He does like to wander around the yard- but we only let him do that when the kids aren't going to be out for safety sake.

Our favorite saying is "he wants to be good" just doesn't know what that is all about. If you are aggressive with him he comes back at you more aggressive- but as if he thinks it's a game not in the sense of 'I want to kill you'. He will bite, thankfully he doesn't kick, but he does try to jump up like a dog. Which at just under 10 hands... not so good.

So we're patient with him but when he's bored he's trouble. I thought gray gelding was bad with toys in the paddock but donkey takes the cake.

My sister contacted a donkey/mule trainer and also a donkey rescue today- talked at length. I just can't provide a donkey herd for him to be in and that sounds like what he needs. BTW he did get to socialize with the donks at TIER but it made little difference so maybe he does need a herd of asses :winkgrin:

Dec. 10, 2009, 09:31 PM
I can offer you some mini-ass (wish mine was!) advice. Donkeys are highly intelligent and curious. They also bond deeply, so is there a buddy you can pair him up with, or would you consider finding him a burro-buddy?
Depending on the day, we refer to our mini donks as love bugs, cuties, my babies, little monsters, devil's spawn or vermin, always said with love. They are cute but they can be full of mischief, too. When they finally bond with you and trust you, it's pretty intense and wonderful. Our little guys bray for us every time they see us during the day and it is very sweet to get that kind of greeting when you drive up the driveway.

They love activities: playing with cones, balls or things they can carry around. Our female donkey often places her feed dish gently in her water bucket so it floats around like a little boat, which I think is very smart and cute.

They also love to have the inside of their ears scratched. We had a standard donkey for 18 years who would lay his head on my shoulder for an ear scratch. He was also so smart, he figured out that he could take the rail from a post and rail fence in his teeth and work it back and forth until it came free. Then he would limbo under it and torment the other horses by eating the green grass on the lawn while they stood by the fence trying to figure out how he was getting all the good stuff.

They are great companions and I think it is such a nice thing for you to have saved that little guy. Be patient, consistent and give him lots of love and a solid fence that he can't find his way out of. Round pens are great for donkeys.

Dec. 11, 2009, 10:42 AM
i'm sorry i don't have any advice for you! i enjoy reading these stories. i myself want a mini donkey but the bm says no. i'm still working on convincing her.

Dec. 11, 2009, 03:42 PM
I second the suggestions of getting a buddy if you have the space and time. I have two mini donks; both long yearlings now; a gelded jack and a jenny, and they're wonderful. They have the run of my barn area and get into very little. We have three miniature horses and three standard horses and the donks get along well with all, but they are definitely bonded with each other and different from the horses; they often act more like browsers. The jack, though gelded, is definitely wired a little tighter than the jenny and can be more aloof; and he often pesters the crap out of the jenny. But both can be down right cuddly when they want to be. Maybe if you find a nice low key gelded donkey bud for him, that will help. I see them on craigslist all the time in my area, well jacks, for some reason, not many are ever castrated unfortunately. That or yes, start hiking with him and see if that doesn't help.

Watermark Farm
Dec. 12, 2009, 11:54 PM
Our mule gets VERY depressed when not busy and in full work. He's really smart and needs a lot of routine and activity and loves to learn new things. He also needs a ton of turnout in pasture where he can explore and sniff and roll and do all his little muley things. You might consider starting some ground training with the idea of teaching your little donk to drive or experiment with things like round-penning or clicker training.

My husband and I often joke that we are not only saving to send our four children to college, but also the mule! He is way smarter than our kids!

Dec. 13, 2009, 12:13 AM
I think you hit it on the nail head when you said "He's bored". Donkeys get bored easily and need to be working and working hard. They like to do work.
They are very intelligent and if they don't have a job they will make something to do. Like dis-assembling the barn.
When my children came home from school they changed, snacked and ran to the ponies. They rode the snot out of them. They were the best kid proof ponies ever. Work and a schedule to work with and they will be happy. One of our neighbors got a BLM Burro and she was really pretty. She loved Dave. Dave would take her out on walks around this end of town. They lived just outside the city limits so he could keep her at the house. We all kind of joked about Dave dragging his ass around. But she loved to go visit the friends and neighbors. Some one always gave her treats. There are so many of them needing homes now. I do hope you can get something worked out to where he is not so bored.
Toys are OK for a week or so. then they aren't fun. They are old stuff.
Let us know if you find out how to solve this.
Kind regards, Sadlmakr

Kat the Horse
Dec. 13, 2009, 01:43 PM
Working all day in a government office REALLY makes me crave intelligent interaction. Since it is now football season, can't discuss ANYTHING interesting with DH. My only child at home is 17....ehhhhh!

I believe I need a mule.

Actually, there was a Morgan mare at the barn I used to work at...when I actually was able to have a horse (Arabian mare). She was moody...she kicked, bit and generally terrified everyone including her sadistic-fearful owner.

Because I had to deal with this mare daily, I received permission to make her safe to handle. I did so by using CLICKER TRAINING. She learned to move over in the stall, to approach me without leading with the teeth, to allow me to walk and touch her any-and-everywhere without reaction. In fact, she also learned to stand on the horse-platform (circus trick box) to drop her head for haltering, to move her shoulders, her hips, and give me her feet for cleaning. By extension, all of the other barn staff found her safe to handle, easy to feed (no more food aggression), and so on. It was a God-send as otherwise I'm sure this mare would have spent 'way more time with her owner!

Clicker training can offer so much, and in this instance, I would bet you could end up with a model citizen with VERY little repetition.

I am so jealous.

Dec. 13, 2009, 03:01 PM
My sister contacted a donkey/mule trainer and also a donkey rescue today- talked at length. I just can't provide a donkey herd for him to be in and that sounds like what he needs. BTW he did get to socialize with the donks at TIER but it made little difference so maybe he does need a herd of asses :winkgrin:

Bummer. Maybe the hormones haven't worked all of themselves out yet? I had a few donkeys over the years. One who had a penchance for aggressiveness eventually grew out of it but for a while I turned him out with an equally aggressive/bossy mare. Make sure you give him a lot of praise when he does something right.. they seem to be sensitive souls with huge memories for abuse. Also my guys loved cones, especially the big ones.

Drive NJ
Dec. 13, 2009, 04:36 PM

Here you go - a whole new project for your ass - horse agility

Dec. 14, 2009, 10:49 AM
Donkeys can be mischievious. The other posters are correct that they like to have a job. When I was ground driving my donkey is preparation to cart training I took him to visit the neighbors. He soon realized that he really liked visiting and after just one time he would try to drag me over there while we were ground driving. Donkeys don't learn like horses do though. Where you can "school" a horse on the same lesson over and over a donkey doesn't see the point. Good or bad a donkey is going to remember what he learns so make sure you are teaching the right lesson. A horse will lunge circles for a half hour, your donkey will make two circles and stop and look at you and say "Ok, I know how to do a circle, what next?" While ground driving my donkey I had to get creative and take him to new places and new situations all the time or he got bored. It was fun though and now he is broke, broke, broke. He isn't bothered by traffic, kids, sirens, animals, farm equipment or trains. You name it and he's fine with it. My donkey and my younger gelding play and chase each other all the time. He does think that my 26 year old mare is "his woman" though. I've found that my donkey likes to pick up and tote stuff around. He has a stall ball, a traffic cone, an 8' long 6" corrugated drain pipe, a feed pan and any other toys he can "find". I've found that the males tend to be a little harder to keep occupied and are more likely to get into mischief. :lol:

Dec. 14, 2009, 11:01 AM
My donkey is the only ass experience I have LOL but I do know after 10 years with Chico, that:

he's very smart
he loves attention
he likes to play with my geldings
he's miserable - moreso than any horse- if I mess with his herd. It just flat pi$$es him off. If I have to separate him to feed him, etc, leave him in solo turnout for something, he's MAD.

Now we raised him from a weaner so there's no bad history there. With your guy it's going to have to be smarter not stronger. As you already know he's learned he's stout and how to fight back.

we entertain him by letting him in the arena when I ride (leg yield to M, or Chico, if he's in the way. Grooming him. Taking him on walks. He helps get the Christmas tree. And he stands in the open gate with my trainer, helping her coach me. He LOVES attention, and it's not about treats. He just wants to be with you in a way a horse just doesn't.

Dec. 14, 2009, 11:32 AM
Well I've been called an ASS before, but not sure if I am an expert! Sorry I jsut COULDN'T resist

Dec. 14, 2009, 10:11 PM
I believe I need a mule.

Everyone should have a mule.

Mules are awesome.