Because I like to keep our blog focused on happy things, I have agonized for weeks over whether I should write about this or not. I finally decided that I need to.

This is a roping donkey. As is the case in West Texas, donkeys are popular here in some circles as a training tool for roping horses.

On a regular basis, this donkey is tied to the end of the pole shown in this picture. This makes it so that he can only run in a circle when people on horseback chase him and rope his head and his feet.

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that can be done since he is in good body condition and “appears” healthy. The roping issue won’t cut it with law enforcement here. 

There are reasons why many people feel donkeys shouldn’t be used for roping:

  • Donkeys are work and friend animals and aren’t made for roping.
  • They can’t handle it physically or emotionally.
  • As you know, donkeys have long necks. The esophagus of a steer is located higher and deeper in the muscles of their necks, which are shorter than that of a donkey.
  • A donkey’s esophagus can be crushed by a rope because of its placement and exposure.
  • Rope burns. They wrap steers’ horns to protect them, but do they wrap anything on donkeys? (The answer is no.)
  • The stifle joints of a donkey (similar to a person’s knee) can’t handle that type of roping.

And then there are reasons that people train roping horses on donkeys:

  • Donkeys last longer than cattle and they’re cheaper.