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Pasture companion, mini donkey or mini horse?

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  • Pasture companion, mini donkey or mini horse?

    I am hoping to get a pasture buddy for Misty, should I get a mini donkey, or mini horse or should I give a home and love to a physcially challenged horse that just needs a good life, if you have any idea's or a horse in mind please let me know, I am in South Dakota, I don't mind driving up to 8 hours in either direction. I am so excited!

  • #2
    I've been going over the same thing in my head for Jay. It's a shame because I have another horse ( Juice- who's his companion right now) but Juice is my competition horse so it's been really annoying not being able to show or go to clinics or trial ride this fall because Jay can't be alone.

    My sister has a horse that she is bringing to my farm as soon as the barn is built.. but that's not really a solution either because if I start going places with Juice she's going to want to come and then Jay is alone again!!

    My first thought was to adopt a broken down ex-race horse that really needs a home but I quickly convinced myself that wasn't a great idea. Although it'd be really nice and there's so many that need homes I don't need another horse that eats me out of house and home, has deep rooted physical and or emotional issues or.. in short, will cause me more stress than good!

    I've had a couple people approach me about giving riding lessons and since I don't really want to use my competition horse I'd need something else. If I get a small, older pony I will basically kill two birds with one stone.

    I'll have a quiet, low maintenance companion for Jay that never really has to leave the farm, and I'll be able to give occasional lessons on it to earn its keep.

    A pony that gets a handful of grain and needs to be muzzed rather than over hay-ed is much more appealing to my budget than a hard keeper!

    To answer your question.. think of it the same way... what will be easier to sell if you'd have to? a donkey or a pony? If you ever needed to move will all places except a donkey? If you want to make a little extra money can you give lessons on a donkey?

    however... mini donkeys are REALLY cute!
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


    • #3
      Here's some SD horses that need homes!

      There are some cuties on this website!

      I'd take Moka!
      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


      • #4
        I would personally (again... personally, I know there are plenty of debates about this) not put a mini that you care about with a horse. I have mini horses and although, yes, they are still horses, they are very fragile.Your horse is young and quite rambunctious from your stories. One wrong playful kick could kill a mini. No arguments... just my own personal experience. I would get a large pony or pasture ornament full sized horse. If you cannot afford another larger mouth to feed, maybe others can chime in on which "little" animals are fairly durable and resilient.


        • #5
          What about a full size donkey, they aren't very big!

          I've never had mini donkeys or horses, so can't comment.

          If you end up getting a full size horse, given that there are SO many companion horses available, you can find one that a) the owner will take back if your circumstances change, and b) will pay for vet bills/shoeing/trimming. Take a look at the Giveaways section -- there are lots of desperate people with older/unsound horses who would love a home for their horses. It could end up being a win-win kind of situation (less expensive for you, good home for a needy horse).

          Best of luck!
          Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


          • #6
            Mini donks are awesome companions. We got ours about 2 years ago as a companion and he is so entertaining. They are also pretty resilient (stay out of the way of trouble) and easy keepers.

            Keep in mind that they have minds of their own and do tend to get attached to their companion (ours is attached to my yearling and he throws a little donkey fit when they are separated). They are also not terribly fond of dogs and small animals; ours climbed through our board fence to chase the neighbor's dog after it came in the pasture.

            We rehomed 2 mini donk jennies this summer and their new mom loves them (fellow COTHer!). We also have a very old standard donkey that needed a home and came to live with us this fall. Yeah, we get a lot of mileage out of ass jokes.



            • #7
              OMG! Those are so cute I'm almost considering retracting my previous statements

              I really did think about getting a mini donk. My younger sister has ALWAYS wanted one to the point a few years ago my dad actually looked into getting a variance from the town to keep one in the back yard

              I just don't have the money or space to have an animal that can't be used a little bit more productively. However I would not disagree that they are great. When Juice was away in training he had a mini donk as his companion and it helped him settle into his new surroundings and be calm for the time he was there.
              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


              • #8
                One problem with mini donks is that they are extremely noisy. I would find their braying very annoying if I had to hear it on a daily or nightly basis. I boarded at a place that had one, and as cute a critter as she was, the noise drove me batty, even though I could and did turn the volume down on my hearing aids!
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                  One problem with mini donks is that they are extremely noisy. I would find their braying very annoying if I had to hear it on a daily or nightly basis. I boarded at a place that had one, and as cute a critter as she was, the noise drove me batty, even though I could and did turn the volume down on my hearing aids!
                  I used to board at a barn that had a full sized donk that wandered up and down the aisles and he was LOUD! He would stop and hang his head in the arena and bray. The horse I was riding absolutely HATED him and would charge the wall. It was funny, but a pain in the butt! Normal horses probably wouldn't freak out as badly.


                  • #10
                    I have a mini donkey. He has been my mares only companion for 14 yrs. My mare was born in teh pasture with him. They are best of friends. He is very playful and brings much enjoyment to her. They have much more character than a mini pony. My donkey each day around 11am goes looking for a stick. He then takes it and playfully jabs my mare with it until she shows SOME type of reaction. When she does he gloats, just smiles, it gives him so much joy to annoy her that one time a day. He will keep it up until she gets a bit madder and gives him a little warning kick. She has over the yrs been plenty mad enough at him to have given him a REAL kick but has always been good with him. Yesterday(it is very cold here) we brought him into our cellar to do a Cleantrax treatment. The mare was some upset that her little guy was absent, she loves him. I can not suggest enough getting a mini donkey. He is not obnoxious with his braying, he only brays when we are approaching the barn at feed time.


                    • #11
                      Personally I would look for a Shetland, one of the traditional, tough, sturdy ones. Minis are so darn delicate.
                      Click here before you buy.


                      • #12
                        I keep small ponies and horses in mixed herds.

                        The problem you have is having to restrict grazing in summer for the pony. That can mean use of electric fencing to separate them off which defeats the object of having one as a "companion"

                        However, you'll get that problem with a miniature donkey just the same.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                          One problem with mini donks is that they are extremely noisy.
                          Our mini donk isn't noisy at all. She is far less talkative than the horses in fact. When she does have something important to say there is some...er...volume there, but this doesn't happen very often. She mostly uses her pre-braying donkey "squeak", which is more conversational

                          Francesca has lived in our herd of Irish Draughts for over a decade, with no problems whatsoever.

                          Highly recommend the mini donk experience.


                          • #14
                            before you go getting a mini donk, please read this thread:


                            it made me laugh...and decide that a mini donk was probably never going to live here.
                            "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                            • #15
                              I have a mini donkey and he is the funniest little character! He is entertaining, yes he brays but not nearly as much as he did before we gelded him. Personally I love to hear him bray, it makes me smile every time. He considers my 26 year old mare "his woman" but he is really a play mate for my 7 year old gelding. They are so funny together, they play and chase each other. I simply cannot leave a blanket or halter on either one them though because the other will latch on and shred it. My husband had some 8' corrugated 6" inch plastic drain pipe for a project he was working on. After being left within reach of the donkey for a couple of days it became a "donkey toy". The donkey picks it up and chases the horses and the dog with it. It looks like a large black noodle in his mouth. He also picks up a stick and drags it along the woven wire fence to make a "clackity, clackity" sound. I've seen him walking back and forth dragging the stick along the fence. Funny fellow. Also, he need not be useless! I trained my little donkey to pull a cart and I've used him for entertainment at kid's birthday parties and parades and since my husband won't ride a horse but will drive a cart he goes on trail rides too!
                              I paid only $200 for my little donkey and have gotten way more than that back in entertainment value from the "Ass" jokes alone.
                              "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                              • #16
                                My Hector also uses a stick or a feed pan to chase the pony. He brays loudly when food is late or when someone pulls in the driveway. He whispers when I am preparing the food. He pulls a cart nice and slow. I never fear a run away situation with him.

                                He is very low maintenance. I have the blacksmith check his feet every time, but they haven't needed trimmed in months.

                                He follows me around while I clean the paddock and backs up to me slowly so I can scratch his rump. He is super suspicious of new things. A new bucket, a steaming hot mash, or a new mounting block are all cause for a snorting head-tilting investigation.

                                He does not care when I remove the rest of his herd. I think he likes his alone time.

                                He gets fat on air so I had to get creative at feeding time.

                                Maybe COTH can help you with a Christmas Donkey.


                                • #17
                                  OH, geez, yah, late with dinner, HOW did I ever forget that. Yes, if I am one minute late going out there he does start right in with the braying and it does not stop until I go out. I will now always want a donkey around, but they live so long I probably have the only one I will ever have. Ive had him for 15 yrs now and he was just a babe when I got him, at one. HE is cute too.http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p...nwayhome-1.jpg




                                  • #18
                                    Mini horses require constant managing of their feed. They founder quite easily. If you are turning them out in a field with your horse, you might have a problem.

                                    I don't think donkeys have the same problem, or at least, they don't have to be managed so closely.

                                    My two-year-old gelding loves my pot-bellied pig and they are constant companions. I don't know if that would work, though. Little buggers are smart and into everything.


                                    • #19
                                      FYI...the jennets tend to be quieter and sweeter natured than the jacks. Geldings do tend to be quieter and less aggressive than intact jacks. They are also the bigger clowns. I have friends that have jennets and they don't do any of the stuff my Hank does. They don't tote stuff around, or bray as much, or make such pests of themselves, but on the flip side they are not nearly as entertaining either! I wouldn't trade my gelded jack for a jennet for anything. While donkeys are not as fragile as a mini horse they are not indistructable either. While Hank doesn't NEED and feed he does get a tiny amount of 12% pellets when I'm feeding the horses just because I can't leave him out. They are not as prone to colic or founder but can suffer from either one or both. A few months ago when my donkey got an abcess the vet told me not to give him bute. He said that donkeys are very different from horses when it comes to medications and he warned me that donkeys have been known to have some serious side effects with bute. I've owned Hank for about 3 years now and haven't had to have his feet trimmed but just a few times....but some donkeys suffer from slipper foot and have to have their feet trimmed just as regularly as a horse or their feet will curl up. A donkey is more likely to stop eating when he has had enough than a horse though. Donkeys tend to be more sensible than horses. My donkey is lots smarter than any horse I've ever had. If I had to choose between a mini horse or a donkey to have just as a pet I'd pick the donkey...lots more character.
                                      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                                      • #20
                                        I've had mini-donkeys and will probably not get them again. The jack we had was obnoxious - chased all the horses, chewed their tails and brayed at the drop of a hat. Some people like the "watch dog" factor that a donkey might bray every time someone drives in. He brayed at least 10 times a day. And it was loud. Now that I have neighbors close by, I wouldn't want to have that noise. The jennys we had were quieter and didn't bray as much.

                                        The donkeys were easier keepers than the horses, but did require regular trims like a horse. Some farriers do not like to work on minis, so keep that in mind. And their systems are different than a horse's and not all vets know about their needs. When we had them there was no internet so there was no easy way to look up information on them and our vet just kind of winged it.

                                        My mom has mini horses now in with full-sized horses and for the most part they stay in separate little herds. One of the mini mares was attacked by a full-sized gelding and nearly died from the injuries so you have to careful with who you put together.

                                        I think for my next companion I will just go with a smaller horse/large pony that can be trail ridden by guests. It will be another mouth but one that's useful to me.