The campus at UC Davis is beautiful and a top veterinary school. It has a wonderful horse barn plus many pens and shelters for visiting donkeys. This year, donkeys were brought from Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue as well as the Bureau of Land Management.
These lovely creatures are all looking for homes and a burro auction was held on the last afternoon of the symposium. My friend K and I had to leave for the airport and missed the event, but neither of us could have brought donkeys home with us anyway, so we missed the heartache of having to look at their lovely faces and say "no, sorry.''
VERY hard for me to do this and if I am lucky enough to come back to earth for another round, I will have lots of dry land for many donkeys!
Anyway, I digress ... this year's format was different - on Friday we sat on bleachers outside the horse barn and watched demonstrations all day long.
Some of the highlights:
Clinician JoDe Collins from Lincoln, CA gave a training demo with her three gorgeous riding geldings and her newest youngster. These donkeys were absolutely gorgeous and JoDe's love for them was palpable. She is an excellent rider and a confident, skilled donkey-woman.
Her training techniques made this clicker trainer's heart flutter though, as she talked quite a bit about punishment and the use of stud chains. I spoke with her later and the point she made to me (we were talking about Siog stalling on the road) was that we are always "teaching" and if I let her (Siog) "get away with" stopping on the road, I am teaching her that this is okay.
I get that, I really do, but need to find the approach that fits into my clicker trainer's set of parameters ... punishment is not part of that vocabulary, nor is escalation of pressure. Still, I tried to keep my mind and heart as open as possible so that I could take in and appreciate all that was there.
|JoDe riding one donkey and ponying another|
JoDe's assistant ponying the young gelding
more photos and notes coming ...!