We have a delightful mini donk who is getting fat just standing around doing nothing, so I was thinking I might teach him to pull a cart. Are there any good resources for walking a beginner through this? I know how to long line so I have him walking and trotting well on the lines, but I don’t have much experience with the cart itself. I
The NMDA used to sell this 20-page primer. I don’t see it on their website anymore but they do say they still have back copies of their magazine so if you contact them they may still have one sitting around?
Your safest option is to contact a local Driving club for a trainer recommendation.
Or a member might be willing to help.
And since donkeys process things differently than horses, someone who knows donkeys would be best.
It is really a 2-person job to even soft hitch (not securely attached to your cart) that first time.
One person walks the cart behind as the other leads the harnessed animal.
Shafts just sit in the tugs, not wrapped to stay.
At the advice of one of my Club members:
Before trying the above, you can attach pool noodles to the surcingle, where the shafts will be:
starting at point of shoulder, back to where your singletree would be.
Gets them used to something touching their sides & nobody gets hurt if they react to that.
Still safer to do this with someone leading harnessed donkey.
This is a very good point, I do have someone who can assist me, a very experienced horse trainer but with a little driving training experience. And I have taught a horse to pull jump poles and have driven trained horses, just never had an actual cart to finish the training. I definitely will make a set of PVC “shafts” to desensitize before hooking to an actual cart, and will lead and ground drive, then add weight and ground drive before sitting in the cart. I just like to be systematic and want to make sure I am not skipping steps so I would love a book like Libby suggests! The pool noodles are a good idea to use before the PVC, sounds forgiving if there is a spook. Safety first!