I have a mnini donkey (on the small side) and I would like to drive her. She has a mini harness that fits pretty well, except I feel like I am being rough on her ears when I bridle her. She doesn't sdeem to hold a grudge, though, and we've been ground-driving and she is a quick learner. But I can't help but wonder if I actually need a different type of bridle to accomodate her ears or if there is a secret way of getting her bridled. My other driving horses are Clydesdales, so I can't really draw on my experience. Any advice would be appreciated. She is such a sweet thing and so smart, and I would like to make this a fun experience for both of us.
I knew an 18 hand Belgian who HATED to have his ears touched... he wasn't actually headshy- he was just very protective of those ears, if you respected that he would work with you.... if you didn't- well there was NO getting a bridle on that horse. You just unbuckle the bit on one side- and hold the bridle by the cheeks and present it to him at about the height of your chest- he would lower his head and - on his own- prick his ears up and tuck them under the crownpiece- his forelock was always perfect under the browband.
I'd think any bridle, assuming it otherwise fits the donkey's head- would be fine with doing the bit technique.
You might wrap the unsecured bit mouthpiece with a bit of fruit roll-up, to get donkey "hunting" for the bit with an open mouth, as you bring mouthpiece up to her lips and teeth. Padding on the mouth helps if she should move to bang it on her teeth "trying to help" while getting stuff around. She gets rewarded for opening and makes it easier to buckle the loose side back on.
We wrap bits for our young horses, makes them eager to be bridled, usually have gaping mouths, like baby birds! So MUCH easier to bridle than fighting with one. Ours like Strawberry flavor best, and Fruit-by-the-Foot is also a good wrapping choice. Squeeze the fruit firmly onto the mouthpiece after wrapping, takes them longer to lrub/lick it off.