Riding Donkey Training (Traveller Case Study)

Traveller’s riding donkey training journey….From Rescue rehab to riding donkey. 
I admit I wondered many times if Traveller was cut out to be a trail riding donkey…
He loves to hike the trails so much and he loves to ride in the training areas and around the obstacles…
But he definitely had some road blocks and confidence issues when it concerned riding on the trails.. he keeps trying though.. so I kept taking him to the same trail over and over .. just hiking and only getting on him when I saw he completely relaxed.. and never riding long.. not wanting him to worry or feel trapped.
At the slightest sign off tension I’m off him!
I want him to see it’s ok.. I can be trusted!

Important things to understand about a donkey…

You see it’s a lot for a really self preserving donkey to accept .. we are in a strange place and if I’m riding him that might keep him from escaping should he need too..
Happy to ride in the safe training area is one thing but I have to be super aware of his feelings/mood on a trail ..
yesterday we hiked for probably a mile before I saw his face relax .. and the tension go out of his body.
Only then did I get on.. and it was amazing 🤩
He really got into it..
Even made me laugh because at the top of any bigger hill he stopped to ask for a treat because he always gets a reward for hiking up big hills 🤣🤣
He enjoyed himself, which meant so did I!!
I can’t have fun if he isn’t ..
Had I had that old dominant trainer mentality and just got on before he was ready .. saying he’ll just have to deal with it .. not only would not be fair to him but I would put myself in danger..
I have no ego when it comes to these guys.. they are more powerful than me and they are prey animals with instincts stronger than any bit or tool I could possibly use if they feel scared.
Being dominant and using painful tools to try and “break” Traveller would result in him not wanting to do anything with me instead of him being so peppy and enthusiastic…
and possibly me getting hurt cause I pushed and caused pain to such a powerful creature.
I respect how powerful they are and I truly want them to love the activities we do.

Riding Donkey Training is rarely one size fits all

riding donkey training

So yes! An amazing ride yesterday on Traveller!
Traveller has been in training with me for over 2 years now and it’s been such an incredible journey.. I love this donkey.
♥️ I love how hard he tries, how much enthusiasm he has for activities and how willing he is to bond/connect when he was so broken.
He still has some confidence issues to work thru and we have definitely had some road blocks to break down!
Yesterday I felt like a huge road block was down and I saw his real trail donkey potential…
It was a beautiful thing🥰
Never give up on a donkey even if it’s taking more time than you would like.
You just have to remember.. it’s not all about you.. take into consideration the donkeys feelings .. especially a rescue from a rough past.
Use the least invasive training methods as possible and look for the positive.. even if things haven’t gone quite right ♥️
One of my favorite all time donkey trainers who has the best riding donkeys I’ve ever seen told me it takes her 4 years to train her riding donkeys. Seriously they are amazing 🤩
And she’s training donkeys that have been handled well…
I usually don’t have that luxury here.. Traveller was hurt by humans and handled unfairly.. so first we had to work through all that!! Get him physically and mentally healthy ❤️so I’d say he’s done really really well over these 2 years♥️♥️
We’ve still got a long way to go .. but we’ll go together and that’s what matters 😁😁😁

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