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Saddle for standard donkey :  Loadweight Capacity Recommendations for Donkeys  

Copyright 2007 Vicki Knotts Abbott      [back to article list] 

re: Saddle for standard donkey

Sandy wrote: any experience riding a donkey with either a treeless saddle or the Cashel soft saddle...I seem to be going around in circles in finding something suitable for the donkey and me and it is expensive to buy and try a saddle and then have to return it when it does not fit.  Meanwhile, I am riding the donkeys bareback...but, ultimately I would like something lightweight with a little more stability for me. 

 Information below: Copyright Vicki Knotts Abbott:

Sandy,

Your comment about a saddle providing a little more stability for you is alarming to me.  When someone expects a saddle, any saddle, it doesn’t matter what kind it is, to make them more stable it is likely they will end up getting hurt.  No saddle of any kind makes a rider more stable.  It is only the rider’s balance that what makes them stable.

 The one and only purpose of a saddle is to distribute a rider’s weight to protect the equine’s back from pressure points.  A treeless saddle, and it doesn’t matter which treeless saddle it is or how much it costs, is like putting a brick under your mattress and expecting your mattress to prevent the brick from digging into your back.  There has to be at least 1001 manufacturers of horse products preying on the wallets of the equine owners with great “new products” and great “deals” appealing to the owner’s comfort.  Just because you see something advertised does not mean it was designed or made with the equine’s comfort in mind. 

And speaking of the donkey’s comfort, please don’t ride your donkeys bareback.  A rider’s weight pressing on such a small area of their back is very uncomfortable for them.  It doesn’t matter if it is 30 pounds or 100 pounds, when the weight is all in one place and not distributed over their back it is like having that brick under your mattress.         

The size of the donkey determines the load weight it can carry without causing it harm and the load weight is the combined weight of the rider and tack (saddle, pad, etc).  At no time, for any reason should weight be placed on the back of an immature donkey.  Mature means the donkey has all of its adult teeth.  For a miniature donkey maturity can be 4 ½ to 5 years old, for standards 5 to 5 ½ years old, and for large standards and mammoths it can be at late as 7 to 7 ½ years old.  You can not gauge the maturity of a donkey by its size.  You must lift the lip and look at its teeth.    I am including a table that has the recommended loadweight capacity for donkeys based on their average height and weight.

 

Loadweight Capacity Recommendations for Donkeys

 

 

   

Height

*Maturity Age

Weight (lbs)

***Loadweight Capacity

Back Length

32

5

236

59 lbs

12.5"

34

5

263

65.75 lbs

13.5"

36

5

294

73.5 lbs

14.5"

38

5.5

326

81.5 lbs

15"

40

5.5

368

92 lbs

16"

42

5.5

407

101 lbs

17"

44

5.5

453

113.25 lbs

17.5"

46

5.5

504

126 lbs

18"

48

5.5

558

139.5 lbs

19"

50

6

618

154.5 lbs

20"

52

6

683

170.75 lbs

21"

54

6

753

188.25 lbs

21.5"

56

7

828

207 lbs

22.5"

58

7

879

219.75 lbs

23"

60

7

996

249 lbs

24"

**Mature means they have a full mouth of adult teeth.

 

 

 

 

**Maturity age and weight are averages

 

 

 

 

***Loadweight capacity is the combined weight of rider and tack

 

 

 

 

Loadweight capacity recommendation is based on level terrain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing a saddle for a donkey is based on the shape and length of the donkey’s back, not on what size the rider will be.  The saddle must not be placed on the donkey’s shoulder blades, nor be too long that it interferes with his hip.  If a saddle that fits his back length is too small for the rider than it is an indication the rider is too large for the donkey anyway.

 

For donkeys 48” and larger I recommend the American Saddlery cordura endurance saddle on the professional endurance tree. Not all “endurance” saddles are the same.  Most, such as Abetta and others are build on a Ralide tree, and Ralide trees do not fit donkeys.  The American Saddlery cordura endurance saddle is reasonable priced at Chick’s Saddlery, has round skirts and is lightweight weighing 14 lbs.  It will not properly fit a donkey smaller than 48” because of the tree length.  For donkeys 40” to 48” I recommend a 12” seat pony saddle.  If the 12” pony saddle is too small for you, than you are too large for the donkey.   There is an old tale that donkeys are stronger than horses.  They aren’t.  They have the same physical structure as a pony or horse and a 10 hand 40” donkey is not more able to carry 100 pounds of loadweight than a 40” pony would be.  Just because they will carry it, doesn’t mean they should.  Overburdening puts them at great risk of permanent injury.   If someone has the story of Diesel in their files please repost it to the list so the tragedy of his death can remind us how fragile they really are.

 

Vicki/ladywife

Husbandry is what is good for the animal.  Convenience is what is easiest for us.  No where in the definition of husbandry (conserve, preserve, protect, prevent) is the word convenience. Copyright: Vicki Knotts Abbott

Reprint permission granted by Vicki Knotts Abbott.

Source: DonkeyMuleInfo forum  http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/DonkeyMuleInfo/message/34722

 Disclaimer
 Opinions expressed in articles on this website are those of the author(s) of each story or article and not necessarily those of  Shadow Ridge.  Shadow Ridge does not necessarily agree with, support, or endorse any definitions, treatments, opinions or statistics stated by these authors. They are entirely responsible for the content of their respective story(s) or article(s).

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Monday, February 25, 2013

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