The Alberta Donkey and Mule Association held their 2018 Long Ears gathering, west of Bowden, from July 10 to 12. On July 10 a specialized clinic for mules and donkeys with trainer Karen Lovell was held and although it was about 40 degrees Celsius, the riders still participated.
Dr. Amy McLean, PHD in Equine Science and a specialist in Donkeys and Mules held a very informative session and answered many questions. McLean stated there has not been much research done on donkeys and mules. She shared her vast knowledge on the differences between horses, donkeys and mules.
Mclean shared that worldwide there are 55 million horses and 54.5 million donkeys and mules. In North America donkeys and mules are underutilized while in the rest of the world, donkeys and mules are preferred for riding, driving and beasts of burden.
Another fact people may not know is that there are about 200 breeds of donkeys, of which 178 are endangered.
The reason mules and donkeys are preferred is they eat less, require less care and can live in arid terrain, where horses need almost ideal conditions to survive.
The event was full of fun for all, with children crafts, games and activities. Various competitions were held in driving, riding and fun classes for all ages.
Everyone is welcome to come and watch the long ears compete in their next Alberta Long Ears Days or if you would like to become a member you can contact Russ Shandro at 780-632-7510 or go to their website http://www.albertadonkeyandmule.com