Sat, June 6, 2020  
Raindate: Sat, June 13, 2020

Class: All About Donkeys
Offered through SUNY Ulster Continuing Education

Due to Covid-19, this class has been cancelled.

About the Class

Contrary to public perception, the donkey is a very sweet, calm, smart, playful and affectionate animal. And, while they are a member of the equine family, they are not small horses with big ears— there are some important differences in behavior and veterinary care. If you did not know that, or have been thinking about owning a donkey, this class is for you.

Because they are strong and hardy, for millennia, the donkey has been one of man's most valuable companions and, in many parts of the world today, they are still the indispensable workhorse of daily life. Often over-worked and poorly cared for by people living hard lives, many view the donkey as an ornery and stubborn beast of burden. Here in the U.S. where many donkeys live as pets, their true nature can be seen and appreciated.

The class takes place amongst a herd of nine miniature donkeys, two large standard donkeys, one mule, and one zonkey(!), so you will get a first-hand opportunity to interact with and discover what wonderful animals they are. You will learn about the donkey's attributes and uses and get an overview of what is involved in caring for donkeys. And you will most definitely leave wishing you had discovered donkeys sooner.

Specifically, the class will cover:

  • anatomy and physiology overview
  • uses of a donkey
  • planning for owning donkeys
  • housing and fencing requirements
  • selecting and purchasing or adopting the right donkeys
  • transporting
  • feeding
  • veterinary care
  • hoofcare
  • grooming
  • breeding considerations
  • training

The class will conclude with a 45 minute hike with the donkeys so students can apply their knowledge.

Additional Information

What to wear  The main requirement for working with the donkeys is to be wearing shoes or boots which are closed and well-constructed. It is rare to be stepped on, but it does occasionally happen by accident. Open-toed shoes or sandals are not appropriate. While Donkey Park is normally kept very clean for visitors, donkeys can defecate at any time and/or you can encounter mud during wet weather, so you might also want to consider wearing footwear that can get dirty. Also, be aware that donkeys love to roll in the dust (a dusty donkey is a healthy donkey) and some of that dust will invariably transfer to your clothing.
Can Children Attend?  The donkeys are very good with children and children are welcome to attend, however, they must be supervised and of sufficient age and behavior to not be disruptive and to follow the rules (no running or feeding the donkeys) for the four hour duration of this class. This class can be a great family event.
Facilities  Private bathroom facilities which are wheelchair accessible are available.
Refreshment  Bottled water will be provided at no cost. Participants may also choose to bring their own refreshments.
Note: Please do not bring food for the donkeys– it's important for their training that they associate visitors with affection rather than food.
Inclement Weather  Donkey Park does not have indoor facilities large enough to conduct the hands-on portions of this class. In the case of sporadic and light rain, the class will be held and we will work around the rain. If rain is expected to be heavy and/or constant, the class will be postponed to the raindate at the same time.

About the Instructor

The instructor is Steve Stiert, owner of Donkey Park, a small property serving as the home of nine miniature donkeys (known as The Little Brays of Sunshine), two large standard donkeys, a miniature mule, and a zonkey (zebra-donkey hybrid). The Little Brays are in their fifth year serving as donkey ambassadors visting senior residences, schools, fairs and festivals exposing people to the wonderful qualities of donkeys and spreading a little sunshine in the process. They also form the long-eared members of the Hudson Valley Walk with Donkeys club and can be regularly encountered hiking the trails of the Hudson Valley. Steve is also the founder of Donkey Park Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of donkeys and the communities with which they interact through education, research, and ambassadorial activities. On June 10-11, 2015 Donkey Park Inc. sponsored the Hudson Valley Donkey Conference (which helped inspire the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine to host the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium) and is actively involved in other projects that help disseminate donkey information. In general, Steve has a passion for equus africanus assinus (donkeys) and a dedication to an objective and scientific approach to better understanding them and educating others about them.

To Register / Enroll

Registration is handled through the SUNY Ulster Continuing Education website. To register, click on the button below which will take you to their Course Search page. Once on that page, enter the course number 1171 in the Course Number box and then click on the "Find Courses" button. Follow the registration instructions from there.

The SUNY Ulster registration process does not support a waitlist, so if there are no seats left and you wish to get on a waitlist, or are interested in participating in the next class, please contact us.

Click to Register through SUNY Ulster ►