Now, we all know you can ride a horse, but have you ever questioned whether you can ride a donkey? It sounds strange to think about, but you’d be surprised with the answer.
In short, the answer is yes. Yes, you can ride a donkey, but it is not as simple as riding a horse. There are many things that factor into the process to ensure the safety of both the rider and this gentle animal.
When you think of a donkey the last thing you’d think about is riding them. That’s because that is not their sole purpose. They are typically kept as a pet or a livestock guard. When you want something to ride you would turn to horses.
But this does not mean it is completely impossible to ride a donkey, you just have to be sensible and think responsibly before doing so.
Donkeys are strong, and in some countries, they are used in plowing fields to pull carts due to lack of other resources. When it comes to riding, however, how strong is a donkey really? And how much are they capable of withstanding?
A Donkey’s Strength
For young children, there is little caution towards riding a donkey as they are small and light enough for the donkey. However, with a grown adult it is a different story.
An adult has to be careful as donkeys are much smaller and less strong than your typical horse. They may not be able to handle the weight of an adult and this can make for an uncomfortable experience for the donkey.
Horse vs Donkey
Horses and donkeys differ drastically. Whilst a horse will deliver a fast-paced, exciting riding experience, riding a donkey is the complete opposite. A donkey is slow, calm, and riding one will be a very steady journey.
Donkeys are also known to being a lot safer than a horse. This is because horses can get frightened easily – one wrong move and that horse could buck and throw you off. With a donkey you don’t have that issue. You will be in for a pleasant, slow-paced riding experience.
This is especially positive for a child’s riding experience. It is a lot safer with less risk and the size of the donkey is appropriate for a small child.
Donkeys come in three known sizes: miniature (up to 36 inches), standard (up to 48 inches), and mammoth (at least 56 inches). It is safe to say that your average donkey is small in size, with mammoth donkeys being somewhat of a rarity.
The gentle nature of a donkey makes them more reliable to ride on and for children this is a safe way to introduce them to riding.
We know that donkeys are not made to carry people on rides – that’s generally the job of the horse. But that is not to say a donkey cannot be trained.
When training a donkey you have to know what you are getting into:
Donkeys are slow learners
- They are not made to be ridden and can take some time. It is important to stay patient and take a gentle approach for these gentle animals.
They are not fast
- Don’t expect your donkey to be running and trotting like a horse. They may prefer just simply walking their rider.
Take it one step at a time
- It may take a few weeks to get your donkey to understand the art of riding, so it is important for the trainer to be patient. By understanding what the donkey requires and forming a trusting and solid bond, the training process will become much easier.
Try techniques such as getting the donkey used to wearing a saddle on their back. This will get them used to the feeling and make them comfortable in preparation for their first rider.
Although it is more appropriate for a child to ride a donkey, that doesn’t completely rule out any adults who too want to try riding one. It is just important to know how to keep safe, especially acknowledging the safety of the donkey.
Donkeys have strong bones and this gives them the ability to give rides, however it is important to take into consideration the height and weight of the animal. They have to be strong enough to carry the weight of a person and also possess prior riding experience.
Donkeys are happy to give rides, especially when creating a bond with that person, however they are also known to be stubborn. Treat your donkey with respect and they will then comply.
The safer route for adults who want to tackle the donkey riding experience is to ride a mule. Mules are a hybrid of a horse and a donkey and they are much stronger than the average donkey, possessing qualities from their horse genes.
Not only are mules intelligent, but they also have great navigation skills and are able to travel up to 20 miles a day.
This is a safer option for those adults who want to experience riding a donkey. A mule has the traits of a donkey – its intelligence, kindheartedness – but also has the strength of a horse.
It is perfectly fine to ride a donkey once the right precautions have been taken. Donkeys are loveable for their kind nature, gentle ways and obedience. They do have the ability to be trained so long as you take their feelings and actions into consideration. Consider whether they want to give someone a ride and if they don’t, take a step back.
The act of donkey riding is all round appropriate for children. There is only so much a donkey of their naturally smaller size can carry and although they can be trained it is important to remember that they are not made for this.
Unfortunately, in underdeveloped countries it is common to see donkeys being ridden by adults who do not consider weight and strength, but in a country that has set guidelines, it is essential to follow them for the wellbeing of the donkey.
Donkeys can be ridden. Show them love and respect and your riding experience will be a positive one.