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February 07, 2005

Training Your Donkey for Hoof Care - Part 6

Once your donkey will happily allow you to handle, rasp and trim his front hooves, you are ready for the next step - working on his back hooves.

Your donkey should be content to allow you to pick up his back hooves by now (as shown in part 4 of this series). Now you can teach him to let you clean and trim his back hooves. If at anytime he becomes worried about what you are doing, just go back a step or two and start with something he is comfortable with, then work back up to the new task.

Now your donkey should be ready for you to teach him to let you hold his back feet like the farrier would when trimming them. Start by picking up your donkey's back hoof like we did in Part 4 (see picture below)



Now slid your knee into the curve created by the inside of your donkey's hock joint - like this:


This position may take you a while to get used to. It is kind of a half standing, half squatting position that can be pretty tiring on your legs if you do it for a long time. I will usually do a little work on my donkey's hoof and then set it down and rest for a bit. Then I go back and work on it some more.

With your donkey's leg resting on your knee, both of your hands are free to work on his hoof.


Here is another picture from a different angle, showing how I have my donkey's leg resting on my knee and leg.


Now you can hold his hoof still with one hand while you pick the dirt out with the other. Practice cleaning both of your donkey's back hooves out with a hoof pick. As with the front hooves, you will want to be aware if your donkey has a sensitive spot in his hoof when you are picking them out, and be gentle in any areas where he is tender.

Next you can teach your donkey to let you rasp and trim his back hooves just like we did with the front hooves. Some donkeys will accept these things faster than others. It often depends on their background and age. If they have been mistreated when having their hooves trimmed before, it may take them longer to build that trust again. If they are just a baby and are just unsure of what you are asking of them, it may go pretty quickly. Just have patience, and take things a step at a time. And always remember - Safety first!

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at February 7, 2005 06:24 AM


What is the average angle of donkey's hooves when trimmed correctly.
I don't know how to measure the angle of the shoulder.
Maybe you could tell me how to do that?

Thank you!


Posted by: Sharon Jouppi-Musselman at June 10, 2006 10:36 AM