Winter can be a downer if you live in an area that’s to cold for donkey training or outdoor activities most days. It gets dark quickly, it’s cold and sometimes dreary but I came up with some really fun ways to enjoy winter with my donkeys and improve my relationships with them over the years.
I actually like riding and driving in the winter time, but some winters are particularly nasty here in the southeast! Wet and muddy with patchy ice all over the farm and in my round pens. Riding in Slick mud and ice can be dangerous. Good footing is necessary!
Donkeys are sure-footed but they can trip and fall, especially if they are not conditioned and well balanced.
Since I do not have an indoor covered arena with excellent footing, I started looking for other things to do with my donkeys. Things that didn’t include riding or driving in the slick mud. Things that would get our brains working and get us moving a bit.
I’m glad I did because what I found enriched our relationships, improved my training skills and kept us active all winter without risking injury in the muddy ice!
6 Ways to Bond and Train your Donkey in the Winter
- Liberty Training Sample video of me experimenting with Jasper at liberty! Liberty really helps some donkeys with bonding! Its easy to start!
- Donkey Tricks Here’s an easy trick to play around with even on a rainy day!
- Ground Driving Training Ground driving is essential for a driving donkey and it really helps a future riding donkey as well! You’re not going fast or asking the donkey to balance anything, so its great even if the footing isn’t! Click the link to see the basics you need to get started!
- Ground Work that Works for Donkeys! Most traditional ground work is based on dominance and making a horse move its feet. This doesn’t always work out for donkeys! And it does nothing to help build a relationship. I’ve created donkey ground work exercises that actually help a donkey build confidence, balance, conditioning and help build a relationship with the handler. All these exercises are found in my Donkey Training Group.. click the link on ground work to join up!
- Take a hike! The perfect way to warm up, chase the winter blues away and enjoy time with your donkey! There is no time limit! Even 15 minutes a day is great! Click the link here to find other articles on hiking with donkeys!
- Do a Wellness check! I go over how to do this in my Donkey Training membership group. Since donkeys grow thick furry coats in the winter it can be hard to see if they are maintaining weight, gaining, losing. If they have a sore, the start of rain rot, etc. Doing a body check can help you make sure nothing gets out of hand. You can do a nice relaxing raindrop treatment too.
Winter Time is Donkey Time too!
These are some activities that have benefited me and my donkeys throughout the winter!
I also like to plan what new trails or camps nearby that we might explore in the summer!!! Winter is a good time to plan for it!