A question I get asked regularly is, ‘do you rug your donkey’ or words that that effect. I don’t. My approach to horses and the donkey lifestyle is very practical and non fussy.
I only rug my horse because I clip him, and I clip him because he is – normally – in quite regular work during the winter and without being clipped he gets sticky and could catch a chill when he’s trying to dry his wet hair.
For example, if you’re walking a dog – you might wear a thick coat to keep warm, as you’re not under too much stress or creating too much body heat. Whereas if you were to run for a while (oh help!) in the winter months, you wouldn’t wear the thick coat, you would go for a thinner coat for comfort.
Horses cannot choose which coat they were each day. So we must do it for them. So looking at how much work they are going to do, we then clip or don’t clip. It is up to the owner which clip they pick or if they choose to not clip.
Some horses do well in the winter without being clipped and others need it for their own sanity. But that is another blog post.
Another result of clipping Oscar, is that he comes in at night. If I didn’t clip him at all, he would live out; with a rug on so that he doesn’t look muscle and condition. Horses love being outside and moving when they can, so it would be his ideal winter.
But it is not fair for me to ride him and not clip him, in my opinion, so I clip and bring him in.
Lillibet, the donkey, is Oscar’s best friend. Oscar cannot do anything without Lillibet for longer than a few hours, Lillibet can very happily live without Oscar.
Lillibet is not ridden, and so she is not clipped, thus resulting in not needing to be rugged or to be stabled. Shelter should always be accessible, regardless as to whether you bring your horse in or not.
Lillibet doesn’t need to be rugged because she has the correct fur/hair on her body to keep her warm, that’s why she has a thick coat – it’s her natural way of keeping herself warm.
Like us humans, only shaving our legs in the summer months, to save on heating bills! I am impressed by anyone who shaves their legs during the winter, that is commitment!
The long and short of it, is that if you clip your horse, you should rug it. Lillibet is not clipped and so doesn’t need a rug.
Donkeys are very happy animals, they love to be loved with care and attention. They also hate rain, so my advice to you, if you fancy a donkey, is to make sure there is shelter for them to hang out in. They are naturally able to keep themselves warm under their wet fur, but it is more the relentlessness of the rain that stye cannot stand.
I am in that club too, if I am honest. Love the sound, hate the drown!
Let me know if you have any questions about donkeys.
If you fancy seeing daily Lillibet fun – head to GirlAboutTheYard