There is a Mammoth Jackstock jenny for sale about 4 hours from here. She is 4 1/2 years old, well started under saddle and big enough for me to ride. It seemed like fate that, just as I am beginning to think about another riding animal, this jenny would show up in place where mammoth donkeys are exceedingly rare and at a price that I could just manage to afford.
I have never ridden a donkey, but after getting to know Emma, I really like the idea. I was very excited about this and for a brief time that I thought I would be bringing her home. But (there is always a "but" isn't there), I have some concerns about her soundness. There is something not quite right about her knees that I can see in her photos and she is severely cow-hocked. I know I could probably arrange to have x-rays taken and I might have but....there were just too many red flags.
I managed to track down her original owner who told me that the current owner is unhappy with her because of problems with her legs and that is why she is for sale. The current owner tells me that there is no problem, it is just that the joints of mammoth donkeys take longer to develop. She used the phrases "her knees are still filling in", "they just move some because they aren't closed" and "they just have some fluid on them". It may be true that mammoths take longer to develop but, at four months shy of her fifth birthday, I think they should be as "filled in" as they are going to get. I already have one young, crippled horse, I can't handle another just now either emotionally or financially. Are there any Mammoth Jackstock experts out there who care to weigh in here?
I also started having doubts that a riding donkey would be the right mount for me. Most of my riding buddies ride gaited horses who cover a lot of ground. While none of them are the kind of riders who expect their horses to gait all the time or would leave me behind, I don't want to become an anchor to the whole group. Sill, this donkey would have been for me, not them. If it wasn't for the doubts about her knees.... Again, any donkey riders out there have an opinion?
I really liked the sound of this jenny and from her photos and videos I think she is a wonderfully sweet and beautiful animal. I was halfway in love with her without ever meeting her in person. There were just too many red flags and obstacles in the way and I decided to pass on her. If it had only been one thing, I'd have gone to see her but, when I added up the bad vibes I was getting plus the distance, the cost, the worries....
Still, I can't get her out of my mind. I think I did the right thing but, I think this one is also going to haunt me. Did I pass up a golden opportunity or spare myself a lot of grief?