Training driving donkeys to stand still (groundwork lesson).

Training driving donkeys to stand still (groundwork lesson).


So what we’re going to do is ask Sarah to
walk out the door and ask her to stand Ok then walk out the door. That’s it, then once Sarah’s got (this is Sarah leading Sarah the donkey) her over there, then Tracey walks out the door, and just ask her to stand still in the doorway. Thats it, ok then walk on again. Now ask her to back in. Walk on again. Get her front feet over there. And then whoa. Now ask her to back in again. See that there? Turn her round. So what we’re trying to show here see all this when you separate them while even when they’re in plain sight
the trouble with them is when you’re asking either one of them to walk out the stable or stand still they’d walk straight on. They’d walk
right past you just tow you on the end of the lead rope. Now if you’ve got animals you know whether it’s horses, donkeys,
reindeer, sheep, whatever animals they are, if they won’t stand still when you tell them to on the ground you’re going to have a very hard job getting to do so in harness. So what we’ve been working
on is getting these two to stand still, you know as they come out the
stable regardless whether one of them’s in
front or behind or in sight or out of sight because all that’s going to benefit you when you ask it to stand. Its all about listening now obviously you can teach donkeys to stand still, you know they do do it they will stand. But what you’ve got to do is teach them to
stand still under pressure so by that you know when the other
donkeys walked out first. Obviously they want to follow each other. So this is a case here, what I think is, your training and your standards which no one’s knocking what you’ve done, do understand that. Noone’s knocking what you’ve done but for me personally they wouldn’t be as I would break them. So they should do as they’re told. Now they’re getting better than they were. Tracey just put that donkey back in. So why we’re doing this here, and the whole purpose of doing it, telling it to stand on a slack leadrope, now you come out and tell it to stay in there. Go this side here where you can be seen. Bring it away from that food. Stand still – now put it back again. So a lot of what we’ve been doing is this basic training. Now you might say to me “Well, they do it for me” well if they do it for you that’s fine, lovely I don’t want to argue the point but what I’m saying is what we’ve managed to do with them and the reason we’ve been able to put them in a pair and managed to do what we’ve done with them in the period of time they’ve been here is because we’ve given them some basic discipline. So we’ve got one donkey standing here quiet now, not moving about, waiting for its mate quietly and still and the other one’s standing still there. Well prior to that, that would have been a nuisance for us to do. In as much as it would be hard to do The other thing is if you look at the threshold step as a metal plate runs along the bottom of the door, just the way the stables are made So what we do is bring the donkey out and ask the donkey to back over it so back over the step and step over that going backwards which makes it more difficult which
means if it’ll do that for you, you’ve got far more chance in anything you do. Everything is linked. Its interlinked. So standing still is the first thing they’ve got to do without all the diving about and moving. If you look at this donkey here, if you spin round its just standing there with Sarah, the 2 Sarah’s together perfectly happy, perfectly quiet. This one here’s fidgeting a little bit, as soon as it fidgets it gets told to stand still. But there’s no point doing it on a tight rope and fighting it, there’s no point at all. Its doing it because its been told to. Now they never did that for us. Now that could be a new place and pushing the boundaries but also in my opinion these donkeys are nowhere near ready to go home but if you think they are, and that’s why you’re coming today, take them home. No problem to me, I’ve got a great waiting list of horses to come in. But they are nowhere near ready to go home. After we’ve seen your standard of driving after we’ve seen your standard of driving then you need to make the decision, not me. But these want discipline. Discipline is nothing to do with smacking hurting or anything – its just doing exactly what we’re doing here. When the donkey moves, its told to stand still. This one hasn’t moved so there’s no need to speak to it, its just stood there but she’s not fussing it, now its turned its head round, so she’ll just tell it to stand up. Then when you take them to a show or you take them out on the road or in company or you do anything like that lovely, you haven’t got a problem. Because they know to do as they are told. They are on the voice, they walk, they do, they are on the voice but they’ve got issues, they’ve got problems they’ve got things that should never be, or never need to be, had they been broken properly. But I’m not knocking what you’ve done, you’ve done a very good job. I do it for a living you’ve done it you know, for yourself which is an entirely different thing. So I want to see these donkeys behave themselves when they’re told to right down to the nth degree. So they’ve got to stand still. The donkey’s just moved a foot forwards so she’ll put her back. And she’ll put it back if we have to stay in there all day until the donkey learns that’s what its got to do. Then she’s got to move forwards, Tracey, and the donkey will still stand there. Now we’re not letting the donkey eat the hay not letting her eat the hay and she’ll be told just to stand still. Now we’re going to reverse the roles and put that one in and this one out. So if you just swap over girls. So the other issue is, now you get the donkeys in place again, this is hard work to do. And you’ve got to get her back Come on, go back. Stand still. Come back. And this donkey with the stand still issue, if it learns to stand still here – can you see the problem? We can’t solve everything in a week. What I’ve done in a week is get them side by side they’re not broke. They’re not broke as a pair they go side by side, but its not a trained thing. So every day we do this. Now sometimes its only me and Mel so we’ll tie one donkey over there and Mel will work on one there. Theres no point in me doing it either; a great big fellow like me, I’d have more luck getting it to stand still just from bodyweight against bodyweight. So if I’ve got the donkey’s head here I can hold it there better than Melanie would, or Sarah, or Trace. You must never smack them or hurt them or anything like that. It doesn’t prove anything. I’ve had people say to me “Smack them on the nose” no good. But this is good now. She’s learning on a slack rein to stand still. Now if it will do it on a slack rein in the stable – she’s not doing it yet, we’re getting there, its a work in progress but this is what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to devote… if it takes 3 hours out of your day that’s what you’ve got to do. There isn’t any “Oh yeah, well, but” – you’ve got to do it. Because if you don’t finish on a good note they think they’ve won the day. So Sarah will just stand there like that til it drives you round the bend but she will stand there. What you mustn’t do, if they start getting uptight, the girls themselves, we stop immediately, tie the donkeys up wherever they are, stop, have a cup of tea, 5 minutes then come back. But see now the donkey is standing there on a slack rein knowing that that’s what its got to do. Now if you get it to do it like that it will do it in harness. Please don’t tell me “Oh no it won’t” or “Donkeys are different” – I’ve heard this with so many things “donkeys are different, Arabs are different, morgan horses are different” you know, this horse has got to be handled in this way, They are all animals they all need discipline, they all need to know their place in the herd. So what we become is the herd master, the lead mare, whatever you want to call it. We’re the one that they respect. If you just think about it for a minute, just think about it for a minute, they’ll be a lower caste of donkey drinking out of a trough. Another one will come that’s got more status in the herd and the other donkey will move away. They don’t have rows. We just want to go on and do. Make them do as they are told. And devote the time and care that’s needed. This is the hard work that people don’t see. But now she’s standing there with a slack rein; she’s learnt now to behave herself. Stand still. As soon as it moves a foot we’re back in there; move a foot 6 inches, back in there. Until it learns to stand. You see this donkey here if you turn round this one here standing quiet. But they’ve been separated. Before they’d both want to be barging out, one would… didn’t want to leave the other one, all this type of thing. And its total nonsense that doesn’t have to be. And your standard of training, which you’ve done very well to break 2 donkeys when you’ve never done it before, noone can take that away from you and noone’s trying to. All I’m saying is if I’d been around you when you were doing it I’d have been saying to you you know, before you worry about putting them in a cart get them doing this on the ground. When you put them in a cart that work becomes so much more easy because they already know the boundaries, its like children, you say you teach I think, well some kids will go into a class and mess around because they know they can get out of it. Go into another class and they can’t mess around. But the teacher didn’t hit them with a lump of timber or whip them or beat them in any way, just that will do when I tell you, that will do. And that is what they want, that is educating them, discipline. I drive 2 stallions with a mare in season squirting all over the road – people say its impossible, say it can’t be done, well its on the film, they’re doing it and they’re doing it with pieces of rubber in their mouths. That’s all they’ve got, just soft rubber. So these horses are nowhere near broke, to my standards anyway. Sarah will keep on doing this, and this is enough to drive you round the bend but you’ve got to have the patience; you’ve got to do it just right for them. She’ll try and put her back in exactly the same spot or as near as she can do it, and eventually the donkey will get it; they’ve only been here a week and they’ve climbed mountains in a week. They’ve done terrifically well in a week. They want another 2 weeks here that I could say to you “Right, they will stand, they will do.” The barefoot bit, I don’t want to go there you’ve got your opinions, I’ve got mine. Their little feet are a bit misshaped, a bit offline, they’d be a lot better for trimming and shaping and having a shoe on in my opinion. Shoeing’s very expensive and if you don’t do the miles you’re probably right. But just my belief of the problem. The other thing is we take them down the road and I think its absolutely ridiculous that they won’t go through a puddle. We’ve got puddles in the arena now I would have, I’ve broken loads of donkeys and all the same thing applies. If you teach them right from the start to do what we’re doing here then what you find that follows on from
that is the next stage is easier to do, so when you put them to and you as them to stand still when you’re putting the harness on they’ll stand still, when you bring the cart up, they’ll stand still. Now you say to me “Well they do that” – they do that, yes they do but they do it on their terms, I don’t know how to explain it. I want these to stand still when there’s no sense in standing still. So I want them doing this when there’s no sense in doing it. There’s no sense in doing it as far as they’re concerned – why am I standing here while she’s over there, and mess about, but the more we can do it and the more we can get them to behave themselves, the more pleasure they’ll be. You can’t drive them up the road now because they’d be dangerous. You see me do it, you’ll say “I can do it as well” that’s alright carry on and do it but it isn’t that. What it is, is understanding your animals and then bending them to your will. And making them do what you want them to do, or cajoling them is the right word, kidding them into doing what you want them to do. So this donkey here was as hard-mouthed as hell, well you could keep adding iron all day to that – that won’t make it better. Or if you keep looking for different bits all the time. I’m driving her in a rubber bit. A soft piece of rubber. She’s driving in it, so that proves the point doesn’t it? And she’s turning left and right for me. And the other thing that happens is when the owner comes back and they know… they haven’t got to be in the same regime i.e. they can start doing what they like again well you’ve wasted… the whole thing will just fall apart again. Just a waste of time. So anyway that’s as much as I can tell you.

12 thoughts on “Training driving donkeys to stand still (groundwork lesson).

  1. Great video guys, thank you.  I think we all forget little things like this, as you said, in your hurry to get in harness.  Is a good reminder to me.  I broke my guy myself and I KNOW I did lots wrong but your video's always make me want to do better.  I got all my inspiration from your video's, in watching them I knew how I WANTED my guy to go. I love your attitude about horse first, people second.  I will work on things tomorrow morning in doing better on having all control via voice. I must admit my guy is a tad impatient (when he's not being lazy) 😀  Thanks again.

  2. Tricky trying to out-stubborn a donkey! When you ask a horse to do something he can, and usually does, do perfectly well, and he puts on a stubborn face—– Don't you ever wish you'd never asked him to do that today;( before you settle down to bore him into compliance)! Thanks for uploading this great traunche of videos today. It has been blowing a gale and bucketing down with rain here and I didn't want to clean the pig pens 'til it stopped.  

  3. I'm so glad Barry that you took the time to take this video. It just proves that skipping stages and steps with manifest a load of problems. It's a heck of a lot harder to 'untrain' a behaviour than to train from the start. I've spent many hours just waiting …and waiting for the right answer… the beautiful moment when they 'figure it out' is so rewarding. You've given us a a peek of what may go on behind the scenes in training. Thank you Barry ! Happy New Year

  4. Love this video.  We often treat our horses as pets instead of partners.  You want to be able to depend on your horse to do his/her part to keep everyone safe.  He/she can't do that if he/she isn't properly prepared.  

  5. This video has more common sense in it than you can poke a stick at, every one handling horses should be made to watch this.

  6. I love your videos! i agree with you on herd master, you can still be a partner with the horse/donkey, but being the leader is what they need and they will look to you for guidance, you dont have to beat them, or hit them in order to get that result, it just takes time and persistence with them 🙂
     it took me a week to get my filly when i first started messing with her, a week to get her used to her feet being picked up, and i spent hours with her a day, thought i would never get to do that with her, but i didnt give up. People dont always know that hard work and hours put into a horse to get thee basics stuff down, i know i didnt think about it when she was born, knew about training, just not basic training

  7. I think this is so important to see so much of training and work with horses (yes any breed) is just being able to out stubborn them. If you can do these steps right the later steps are SO much easier. It always amazes me how many people skip these steps and then wonder why they have issues.

  8. I'm surprised there is no praise given when the donk behaves. Mine are trained with praise. The handler is acting frustrated. Donkeys don't respond to pressure, so they need different training method, such as using movement with a rope or light touches. "Body weight against body weight?" Really, the donk always wins, lol. A calmer, more confident positive attitude gives better results. This is the case whether you train professionally or not. Don't think "breaking" think conditioning to communication donkeys understand. The more I watch, the more frustrated I am. I really don't see much positive happening here, so I don't know why he is so condescending to those who don't agree.

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