Where to find a good ass? And how to know one when you see one? :)
So a few years ago I got a large pony from a neighbor a few miles away. He had COPD pretty bad and even though they'd had him for 16-18 years, were going to send him to auction at the age of 20-22. (not sure of his exact age). He's now 23-25 and while his heaves do act up... he's fat, shiny and happy and more than content to sit there and eat while he can't breathe.
He did a stint for a year while I've owned him as a therapy horse, and then he came back once he'd gone lame. He's sound now... just heavey.
I've tried all the meds that were in my price range (everything except one of those inhaler things), nothing has helped him thus far. Vets say his quality of life is pretty okay since he doesn't seem to get upset when his breathing is bad. I've posted him on the giveaways forum trying to get him into a colder climate where he would do better but no luck. *shrug* He is great for very beginner lessons just learning to lead, tack up, groom, mount and walk around on. He likes walking easy trail rides.
Anyways, I've gotten side tracked, onto my point. He is the only one living out in the pasture with the run-in shed now and I worry about his happiness being alone. The other horses are next to him when they are out but I just feel bad he doesn't have a buddy. So I think I would like to get a donkey.
Thing is... I don't know jack about asses See how much fun it will be to have a donkey around??? I love the braying and whatnot, I've heard plenty of it before.
What's involved with finding a good donkey who uhm will be sound and healthy, I imagine there is good/bad donkey conformation... I mean where do you FIND donkeys for sale or free (free would be great because I'm getting this donkey as a companion to a charity case). I guess a mule would be okay too. I dunno. I just need a friend for my old dude. Pony can be a jerk to equines smaller than him and I don't want another horse or another large pony.
Maybe I'm thinking of it all wrong, but the (anecdotal) impression I have is that donkeys are pretty easy keepers and somewhat low maintenance, hardy types. Thats what I want because it will live out its days here and I just don't want something too high maintenance that might need shoes, etc.
So, please, relieve me of my ignorance. How do you find a good ass?
I'd do a donkey...a mule might be getting a bit big for your pony. Mules can also play HARD.
Do a search on donkey rescues, they're also on Dreamhorse and Agdirect.
Just make sure you get a donkey that has been handled. They'll need their feet trimmed and who wants to deal with small with a bad attitude. Lots of donkeys are pretty sweet, just make sure you aim for "good for the farrier".
Donkeys make good company for people too and can be fun to ride for the kids.
If I were you, I'd look for a companion that is similar in size, age, soundness, activity level, dental condition and kind of keeper. That way you don't have an airfern (most donkeys!) eventually living with a toothless old pony who needs tons of feed, etc. --- and find yourself having to separate them at feeding time.
We own a mule and he's a super guy. Good donkeys and mules are wonderful, but rank ones are hell! Choose carefully!
I wish you were closer. I leased my donkey gelding out to train yearlings and they aren't using him. I'm Central NE Pa though. He's coming back and I don't need him. I'll just be petting and feeding him. I'd love to find someone that use him!
Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
& FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt www.frostyoaks.com
Another Chance 4 Horses rescue usually has some fuzzy darling asses needing homes. In the broker section now are some really sad former work horses that look like pampering and retirement would be just the thing.
I bought my mini-donkey from a petting zoo in North Carolina. They don't keep "pets" longer than a year and we bought him at 11 months old. He's a companion to our three horses (keeping the one or two that get left behind company).
While he's just the little guy in the field, he more than makes up for it with attitude. Our big TWH has adopted him as his baby and stands guard over the little donkey whenever he lays down. If there's something going on in the field or around the farm, he's there. And he's chased off a fair share of neighbor's dogs (and neighbors ).
If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....
Hey thanks for the info you guys. I will follow the links and look at everything tonight when I have time to sit down and do more reading and such!!!!
The pony is pretty tough. He can be quite the little napoleon... he's not too small either.. a titch under 14 hands. He used to boss around the MASSIVE draft cross we had out there but my husband decided he didn't really have the feel for riding so we sold the draft X. I definitely don't want something that will beat up the pony, but it has to stand up for itself or it'll get whooped by the pony.
So thanks, I'll look for a donkey who has been handled and is good for the farrier. I definitely have no problem keeping him trimmed and whatnot, I just don't want something that may need shoes, or special shoes, or a ton of food and blankets etc etc. Donkeys are pretty hardy are they not???
The run in shed is really nice, 4 sided with two separate "rooms" and 2 doorways, one for each room. So its not a "rough" situation for them but I just want something that will be okay living out there without blankets and be happy grazing and having a roundbale and water trough. It's okay if the donkey needs some grain... I just want something that is a fairly easy keeper. We have pretty cold winters and lots of snow here.
I don't mind removing the pony to feed him if needs be. Right now he doesn't need much grain. Mostly I give a little to him because he enjoys it. He may need more, or mashes when he gets older but like I said, I'm okay with taking him out to feed him.
Do you care for donkeys pretty much the same way as horses re: vaccinations, dewormings, etc?
Thanks guys... Oh, I'll order that book.. thanks Frank..
I work part-time at a donkey rescue: http://www.longhopes.org/
and have found they are extremely easy keepers. I second finding one that has good leading and farrier manners. As a life-long horse person, I've had to throw away quite a bit of what I knew about horses to learn to deal with the donks.
I am amazed at how sweet and funny they are. If you have close neighbors, you might also want to be sure you don't have an extreme talker. We have 2 at the shelter that need to go to homes in a very rural location or the owners will become the most unpopular folks on the block.
LOL on the "extreme talkers" ... I am in a very rural area so I should be okay. But I dunno if I'd want one that was just braying all day and night either LOL... feedtimes, when something is amiss, etc... cool... but all the time.. neigh, er nay.
Donkeys evolved in regions with little vegetation, so are very thrifty. It's easy for them to become obese, so make sure to control their feed. The websites listed offer plenty of information and resources.
They also think and reason differently than horses.
The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. Winston Churchill
Some do not bray, mine can't, he tries his little heart out but in the 4 years he has been here I have only heard 1 or 2 goods bray's out of him, the rest turn out to be pathetic effiorts that can only be heard if you are standing within 10 feet of him.
I was once told, by a old "longear" man in Michigan (had been raising donkey's and mules for over 40 years) that when looking for a donkey or a mule you need to be able to handle thier ears or they will not be easy to get along with. I am not talking about "earring" them and twisting the ear around, but handle them as in pet/rub them without a fight. I have pretty much found this to be true in if you can handle the ears you can do anything with them, if you can't look out you are in for a fight for everything you ask of them.
I got BadonkaDonk from our neighbor. He is a cattleman who knows NOTHING about equines and the poor guys feet looked like twisted elf shoes. After a year of regular trimming it is unbelievable how good they now look! Donkeys are very resilient!
BadonkaDonk lets us play with his ears, stands great for the farrier and loves to be scratched- but he does NOT like to lead. Actually, I should say he does NOT lead! Any suggestions on teaching an otherwise very pleasant donkey that it is OK to be lead? Bribing with food gets you a couple steps, but not any real leading.
I have the best ass in the whole county, county. People are always asking me how my cute little ass is doing. It's all good until they start asking what sort of noises my ass made that morning.
Donkeys are like the Border Collies of the equine world--sometimes, the only thing keeping you one step ahead of them is that you're the one with the opposable thumbs. Sometimes, not even the opposable thumbs give you the advantage. They are smart, sensitive, and often have their own ideas about how things are supposed to go.
For instance, our donkey nicely lifts his feet for everyone. Even people who have never touched an equine before can bend down and pick up his feet, and he'll hold them up until they decide to put them down. Except for the farrier. Donkey absolutely, will not, 100% refuses to lift his feet for her. When she goes to trim him, my husband or I have to lift his feet up and hand them to her. We've even spent time mimicking rasping, banging things on his feet, etc. to get him used to the sensations. He doesn't care what we do to his feet until she arrives.
The horses lived at our place for over a year without any escape attempts, even when the snow was so high they could have just walked over the fence. Donkey led them on two early morning jaunts about the neighbourhood in the first month that we got him. He became alpha gelding overnight, and they now scream bloody murder if he gets more than 150 feet away from them.
My dog has learned not to bring his balls into the pasture. Donkey body-checks him and then steals the ball.
Just one thing to keep in mind--donkeys put on a lot of fluff in winter, but their hair isn't as water-repellant as horses hair is. They evolved to live in places without much rain or snow. They definitely need shelter or a rain sheet in winter.