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April 11, 2005

Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 3

Once you have followed the steps in last weeks article in this series, your donkey should be pretty clean and his coat should be ready to clip.

Now you have to get your donkey used to your electric clippers before you can really start clipping that winder fur away. Also if your weather is like ours this time of year, you'll want to make sure you have some other means for keeping him warm at night before you take all his warm furry coat away. I have two kinds of blankets I have bought for this purpose. One is an insolated waterproof blanket that sheds the rain and snow well if the weather turns bad. Mine are WeatherBeeta brand and are one of their medium weight waterproof insolated turnout blankets

Here are Sagebrush Oklahoma Andy, Sagebrush Desert Desire, and Sagebrush Lady Elvira modeling their Weatherbeeta blankets. Lady Elvira's blanket was a little too long on her, and I need to stitch the back up above her withers so that the part around her chest stays up higher. But the other two donkeys' blankets fit pretty well.


My other kind of blankets are an inexpensive heavy blanket. They have cotton duck canvas on the outside and a wool lining. I was able to purchase them for around $30 or so at my local tack store. If the weather is rainy or wet, I put the more expensive waterproof blankets on the donkeys. But if it's just cold and dry, I put the duck canvas blankets on. That way my expensive blankets are not as likely to get worn out and torn up as fast.

If you are going to blanket your donkey, it is also very important to keep track of the temperature where they are, and take the blankets off when it starts getting too warm. You don't want your donkeys to overheat when the sun comes up and warms things up! So always be very careful to watch out for your donkeys' comfort when using blankets. This is one reason I usually only clip the donkeys I am taking to show, and I try to wait until as late as I can to do their clipping.

Once you are prepared to keep your donkeys warm once you remove their natural coat, you are ready to start introducing them to your electric clippers.

Your clippers are an electrical tool, and before you start using them outside, please make sure they are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter so that you and your donkeys will be protected from hazardous electrical shocks. I have several of little units with the brand name Shock Buster. They can come in handy in a lot of places! I purchased mine at Lowes.

Now, tie your donkey up in a safe place or have an assistant hold your donkey's lead rope. Stand about 30 feet away from your donkey and turn the clippers on. Let your donkey listen to their noise for a few seconds, then turn them off and give your donkey a treat and lots of praise. As your donkey is comfortable, slowly move closer with the running clippers. If your donkey gets really scared or nervous about the sound, back off and let him listen to them from a distance for a while longer.

Eventually your donkey should stand pretty quietly while you approach him with the running clippers. I usually leave the clippers running while I'm stepping closer, so that they don't startle my donkey when I turn them on, until he is used to their sound and has relaxed some. In my experience it usually only takes a few minutes of this before I can slowly walk up to my donkey with the clippers running in one hand, and pet him and feed him a treat with the other hand.

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at April 11, 2005 09:39 PM