Day With The Donkeys

Last week, the woman who teaches me the

Quilting

Got given a leaflet by her daughter. Her daughter runs a summer scheme for disabled children and one of the parents had given her a leaflet about the

Elisabeth svendsen trust

Which is a charity set up in memory of a ladies name i’m not even going to pronounce. Her first name was Elisabeth. It provides donkeys for disabled children to ride, sort of like therapy for them. This branch of the trust were going to run a coffee morning and fun day today. I think this lady might also have been part of

The donkey sanctuary

In devon. They rescue donkeys.

Anyway… at about half 10 this morning, the woman from the quilting class, her daughter, and her daughters 15 month old child headed off to the place where this particular branch of the trust was. When we got there, there were apparently lots of donkeys out in the fields surounding the main building. We all headed into like a big shed type place. There were two pens set up with two donkeys in them. We went over and I asked if we could pet them. They said yes.

The first donkey was called “Susie”. She was quite small, and had just been clipped. I think she was grey with a silver belly. She felt slightly bigger than Ushi, and her back seemed to slope down so it felt like she was sitting when she was standing. Her head seemed much too big for her body though, and she had big ears that were a bit like someone had shoved cardboard in them and covered them with fur. She was quite cute, and kept coming up for attention.

One of the women who helped organise it said that Susie was 7 years old. I asked if the donkeys wore shoes, and apparently they don’t, because their hooves are much stronger than horses, and they were more square shaped. Apparently the charity has welfare officers who will rescue the donkeys if they are being neglected or have been abandoned. They are taken to a place in Strabane (in Northern Ireland but not sure where), where they are treated for any medical problems and weighed etc, before they are braught to Belfast. They would then be trained for kids to ride them. Apparently before a kid can even ride them, the donkeys have to get used to things being dropped and stuff, as apparently they throw things and play games and stuff. I think they have 7 or 8 trained up at the moment. They have belts and things to keep kids upright who maybe couldn’t support themselves. They also have two members of staff at either side of them when riding.

There is a weight limmit for the donkeys though as they are so small. A kid can only be 8 stone, but kids heavier than that, or those who can’t get out of their wheelchairs can ride in a cart which one of the donkeys can pull.

Susie the donkey was

One of the donkeys

Up for adoption. It was £16 a year. A little kid came up and said “Mum says we have to adopt this donkey!”. I think he thought the donkey would be coming home with him.

The other donkey was much more hairy, and was called Benjie. He wasn’t as interested in attention though.

At the centre they also have an areena for riding, a “sensory room” is also available for the kids to use.

There was also bouncey castles, face painters, craft stalls, a raffle, and a gift shop selling toy donkeys and things. We headed off to get a cup of tea.

At one point while I was about to drink my tea, i felt this mighty splash and there was tea all over the table. Apparently a little boy had thrown a toy car across the room. His mother came up and appologised. Apparently the kid really liked water. He had no concept of hot or cold though. Luckily the table got most of it, and it wasn’t scorching hot. I’d say it could be quite dangerous with a child like that. It must have been something to do with his particular disability.

We left for home after that.

I hadn’t taken Ushi with me as I thought there would be more donkeys and i thought alot of it would be outside. I didn’t think the donkeys would be too happy with a dog. At the same time I probably could have taken her since there were only two donkeys, and they were in pens. I was a little disappointed. Maybe i was expecting too much, but I thought there would be rides and that. I suppose they had to start with something small, since they are only open since June this year.

It was a day out though, and none of us knew what to expect really. Maybe if i go to something similar I might take Ushi. Who knows.