Emma is only 16 months old and had never even worn halter before coming here so I hadn't been expecting much when I first started working with her. However, I have been continually amazed at how fast she learns and she absolutely loves doing it. I had heard from several sources that I need to let her mature before doing too much with her. Honestly though, I keep having to come up with new things for her to do so she doesn't get bored and go looking for trouble. I do try to keep all our training sessions fun, interesting and include lots of carrot slices so really, she thinks they are great games rather than work. She looks forward to our "games" every day and will start making up her own if I don't get moving fast enough. *Note: Be very, very careful about letting your donkey make up her own games:)
Yesterday, I brought Emma out onto the lawn intending to work on her leading skills and play around with some obstacles. Since we were going out by ourselves and leaving Tessa in the barn, I figured we'd be lucky to get to the end of the driveway, which is about 500 feet from the barn. When we got there though, it was very clear that Emma was enjoying herself and wanted to keep going. The only time she balked at all was when I tried to turn her back to the barn. So, we just kept going. We went all around the neighbors place, down the road and through the woods around the back of the house.....She wanted to explore everything.
Emma has completely redefined the term "barn-sour". We went out again this afternoon and wound up stopping at several of the neighbors houses where she got to meet lots of new people (and got to eat even more carrots). We were out for about an hour and a half and walked nearly two miles and I still had to pull hard to get her back to the barn. I am thrilled that Emma likes going out like this. The exercise is good for both her body and mind. The only problem I can see, is that Tanner and Emma don't want any part of going out together. Since I already take Tanner hiking every day, this could get to be a bit much. I think the search is officially on to find another riding animal. One that Emma could follow along behind. I have a few ideas and some options and perhaps, maybe.....there is a really big, mammoth saddle donkey out there that could use a good home?????