helpful hints


                 From:  Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...>
                 Date:  Fri Dec 22, 2000 6:46pm
                 Subject:  Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Donkey Riding

                 Denise wrote: ......... I am thinking though about a bit as I believe I will
                 feel more in control. 

                 The keywords are "I will feel more in control".  A bit is just a hunk of
                 metal.  It doesn't give you more control.  A bit won't stop a donkey if the
                 donkey doesn't want to stop.  There are donkeys who when they first feel the
                 pressure of the bit on the bars of their mouth, freak and turn into
                 bulldozers, and it is even worse with leverage bits that also put pressure
                 on the nerves at their poll and under their jaw.  If your hands are not
                 light, a bit can cause a lot of pain to the donkey.  Just as (your donkey) will have
                 to be taught what the jiggle of the bit means, you will need to learn how to
                 telegraph what you want (your donkey) to do so you can avoid hurting her. 

                 I highly recommend teaching (your donkey) the voice commandsof Walk, Left, Right,
                 Stop and Back by using ground work first, with her only wearing a halter.
                 Once she responds to your voice commands, you can walk beside her still
                 using just the halter with the leadrope snapped to the cheekring on the
                 right side and the end tied to the cheekring on the right side to begin
                 teaching her how a "twitch" on the left side means turn left, and a "twitch"
                 on the right side means turn right, and a "flick" on both sides mean stop.
                 You can begin teaching your fingers to be sensitive to slightest twitch on
                 the rein by pulling a bandaid around your index fingers.  The bandaid
                 reminds you you only need to twitch your finger for (your donkey) to read your
                 message.  None of this pulling her around to get her to go this way or that
                 way.  That's not necessary at all.  Once she understands those five simple
                 voice commands and the twitch on the reins that mean the same thing, she's
                 ready to begin riding.  Start out bareback so she'll be able to feel you
                 shift your weight.  Pull your spine in the middle of her spine and sit on
                 your pelvis, not on your rumpus.

                 I am attaching photos of my niece Jessica riding Dolly.  In the first photo
                 notice how Jessica's spine is right over Dolly's spine. 

                 The reins are slack and Jessica's legs are relaxed, although it would be better
                 if her feet were pointed toes forward, LOL. 

                 In the second photo notice how Jessica is sitting on her pelvis and not her butt. 

                 She has just asked Dolly to turn left by shifting her weight onto her left pelvic 
                 bone and bringing her left leg against Dolly so Dolly has something to turn
                 around (the leg acts as a post to help Dolly turn).  Jessica is nudging
                 Dolly with her left heel only in a light tapping gesture to ask Dolly to
                 step her hindquarters to the right to pivot her in the center to move her
                 shoulders left at the same time.  Notice how the rein is not tight.  All
                 Dolly needs is a slight tug and release flick on the rein to ask her to

                 In the third photo, Jessica is asking Dolly to slow down from a trot to a walk 
                 before crossing the ground pole by Jessica sitting down on her rump. 

                 Jessica's back should not have rounded or her posture leaned back, 
                 but she's never ridden bareback before and is just learning how to balance 
                 and move with the movement. 

                 I begin all my donkeys with just the halter and leadrope, or with a bitless
                 sidepull.  Once they are riding and driving confidently then I introduce a
                 bit but don't fasten the reins to it at first.  Dolly is wearing a bit in
                 these photos but the reins are attached to the halter because Jessica's
                 hands are just learning to be light. 




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