During the last few years the New Zealand donkey population has increased tremendously. Unfortunately most of these donkeys are just pets and are not given any training.

There are however, a few dedicated people in New Zealand Donkey Society who wish to use their donkeys and have found that their donkeys can do almost everything a horse can do.

The New Zealand donkeys are quite small, the largest only reaching just over 12 hands, unlike America, where the size of the donkey ranges from as low as 26" for miniature to 16 hands for Mammoths. Having such a range of donkeys the Americans can do so much more with them. They can carry adults, they drive them, indulge in packing and western riding and they can also jump. They are also used to breed high quality mules. Both riding and draught animals, these mules are used in dressage, jumping and racing.

Both donkeys and mules need a different approach to training from that of a horse. They need lots of short sessions with lots of reward. Many people think that donkeys are stubborn, but in fact, most of the time they are displaying an abundance of commonsense and a strong desire for self preservation that is often misinterpreted. They have a natural attraction to humans, and when treated with kindness and patience become great companions. Donkey classes will be held at the HORSE OF THE YEAR on Sunday.