Monday, April 04, 2011

I've wanted a burro for a long, long time. I'm not sure when it started. Probably when I met Peaches the donkey. She's wonderful.

Recently I thought I wanted a riding donkey. Of course I already have too many horses to ride, so that's not going to happen any time soon. But I will be doing research, you can bet on it.

I've already been reading a little about donkey training, and watching a few videos. Which should tell you I'm dedicated because I hate watching videos online.

Just now someone posted on Facebook about their horse not wanting to be caught and this idea came into my head. I had to do some mental searching to realize I stole it from a donkey training article, and that it wasn't divine inspiration. :) But I really do like the idea so I thought I'd share. A lot of the reason why I like it is that I had a horse once who loved to play "catch me if you can." I'm serious, he really had a lot of fun with it. If he could get behind something and peek around at you it was even better. So round pen exercises, chasing when he ran away, making him work, all of that didn't work. He was having fun. What finally worked was consistent interaction. As long as I was doing more with him every day than just feeding him, he was happy to come play with me. But he still plays the "catch me" game sometimes with his new owner, even though she mainly just loves on him and gives him cookies when she goes to see him. It's not a fear thing, or not wanting to be caught to work, he just likes to play the game.

Anyway, the idea went as follows. The horse is in a safe area without other horses and will allow pets and love but runs off if she sees a rope. I'd be tempted to take the halter out in plain sight, try to halter her, and let her run off. Turn my back to her and leave, going to pet and love on her horse friend somewhere within sight. Go do some chores, or just go inside for an hour or so, then go back out and repeat. If the horse is trying to have fun by playing hard to get, this takes all the fun out of it, and makes it look like more fun to be where the other horse is.

In the article about donkeys, it recommended going someplace out of sight and doing something noisy to get the donkey's curiosity going. It would want to come take part, which would make it easier to catch when you went back.

I'm really liking this idea, rather than the "I'll teach you to run off!" method. I don't have a hard to catch horse to try it on right now though. I wonder how well it would work, how long it would take, and if it would have to be an intelligent, curious horse. It would probably take a very long time (if it worked at all) with a traumatized horse that was genuinely afraid. I also don't think it would work well with a horse who is happy where they are, with other horses for companionship and plenty of good grass to eat.

And now back to the burro thing. There is an adoption just south of me in Lewiston this month. And it says they'll have burros! I want to go to volunteer, encourage prospective adopters, and to see the horses. But what if the burros don't get adopted? What if they're super sweet and want to hang out with me? Maybe I'd better not be there during the actual adoption part, just the viewing.

Here's the info on the adoption. Does anyone want to come with me?

1 comment:

Linda said...

I would love to go by and watch one of the demos, but I'm a little nervous I'll want to bring a horse home with me.