In the Saddle: Why I’m daft about donkeys

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I've always had a love of donkeys as they were the first animals which kick started my interest in horses but, at the age of two, I probably didn't realise what a significant part they would play in shaping future passion for equines.

So, when I had the opportunity to meet two lovely rescue donkeys, I jumped at the chance. Hayley, the carer of the two beautiful donkeys, explained they are actually desert animals, hence their huge ears for radiating heat. Donkeys are also very sensitive and they form very strong bonds with others in their herd. If they are re-homed they are done so in pairs to reduce their anxiety levels.

In their natural habitat they would defend their watering hole. However, the domesticated donkeys we see on the beaches are far less likely to worry about the ocean but they may chase birds, cats and dogs out of their field when they are at home.

Hayley has a love of all animals, but she's particularly a horse and donkey lover. She explained to me that donkeys don't often show signs of illness and, because of their love for biscuits, experts have published advice on the 'ginger nut test' – which means if a donkey won't touch a ginger nut biscuit, it is very likely time to call the vet.

When I stroked the girls they were lovely, fluffy and real sweethearts. You can't help but love them and they evoke within you such fond childhood memories. The two I met have been fostered from the local rescue 'Bransby Horses'. It's one of the largest equine welfare charities caring for more than 400 animals. I've been in the past and taken my little girl for a look round. It's a brilliant day out for the family with a visitor centre, cafe and gift shop. There is always plenty on at Easter. Thanks, Hayley, for letting me meet your special pair, I loved reminiscing about my childhood memories on the beach with my sister.