fortunate to be able to work with some really nice donkeys and
their very dedicated owners. Donkey hooves are similar, though
not identical, to horse hooves. Proper angle, healthy frogs,
neatly trimmed bars, and a bevelled wall are just as essential
for donkeys as for horses. If neglected, a donkey's heels tend
to grow very tall, giving them the tendency to develop a
severe broken forward heel/pastern angle, which is known as
"knuckling over." Please keep your donkeys on a trimming cycle
that appropriately suits their growth patterns.
very important to choose breeding animals based on their
temperament and conformation. These attributes make them a joy
to trim and handle. Donkeys typically don't enjoy giving their
hooves for trimming unless they have been trained and
desensitized properly. Most donkeys tend to be companion pets
and therefore are not worked so it is easy to neglect their
training and handling. Donkeys are exceptionally intelligent
and need their hooves handled and picked up on a regular basis
so they view the process positively. Donkeys have the ability
to kick and strike with lightning speed and accuracy and can
be quite dangerous for the trimmer or farrier. They may be far
smaller than horses, but their tiny hooves can inflict serious
Donkey and mule hooves tend to be more oblong
than a horse's hoof. The trimmer or farrier should not attempt
to trim them into a round shape, as doing so will invade the
sole and possibly cause lameness.
A short, strong heel platform is
essential. The heels should be brought back to the widest
point of the frog, and the bars trimmed flush with the
functional sole plane.
The end result should be well balanced hooves
that are sound, strong, and healthy.
Early in the training process, it may
be necessary to fashion a hobble so the hind legs can be
trimmed without danger to the trimmer. There are various
hobbling methods, but regardless of which you choose, it
should be safe and not inflict pain or fear. Donkeys are very
good at fighting if they feel they have been treated unfairly.
It should be set up in such a way as to be easily and quickly
released if necessary.