Chocolate and Paddy Join The Ivybridge EST Centre
The Donkey Sanctuary (DAT) Ivybridge has two young donkeys Chocolate and Paddy, who have come to join us to replace some our donkeys who have had to go back to Sidmouth due to ill health. They originally came from Ireland but are now happy down here in Devon. Both are just under 4 years old and as they have not been handled very much, there is a lot of training to be done to get them all ready for the special needs children to ride.
This will take quite a while, as it is a slow process. Therefore the staff have to find time to dedicate getting these two lovely little donkeys trained up, and volunteers have been asked to help with the basics, of getting them used to the arena, walking behind the other donkeys during lessons and also outside to get them used to situations, noises and things that they might come across when used for riding.
I volunteered for a couple of hours today, and was quite looking forward to doing my bit towards their training. Paddy was in the pen indoors and as was tacked up, as he was now used to the bridle and the saddle. The children for the lesson arrived and the other donkeys were led into the arena, followed by myself and Paddy. He walked quietly around the arena, although he wasn’t that keen and had to be coaxed rather a lot to try and make him move forward. However, he was very good around the toys, and all the other equipment in the arena and wasn’t phased by them at all. I even managed to coax him over the stripey poles that were laid on the floor for the donkeys to walk over. He didn’t think much of them at first, but eventually plucked up the courage to walk over them.
The sun then came out and as we had some wheelchair bound children who had to go in the specially adapted cart, we went outside and walked around the newly built sensory garden on the specially laid paths. Dotted around the garden there are model animals, birds, a large apple and pepper etc. Again, Paddy needed some coaxing but was very interested in sniffing the sheep as we passed by. After a little while, so as not to tire or bore him with too much, he was untacked and turned looose, and Chocolate was then tacked up and handed over to me. He was much more forward and didn’t need any coaxing and walked around quite happily, stopping when I made him stop, and walking on when asked. He really was very very good, and it was hard to believe that he was a complete novice. Again after a short while he was then turned out with the other donkeys for a rest.
Change of Name
As I mentioned in a previous post, the EST centres have recently merged with main The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth and we are now known as The Donkey Sanctuary Donkey Assisted Therapy (DAT) and no longer known as EST.