Help My Donkey Is Afraid Of A Horse – Questions and Answers



I am a UK owner of mini donkeys training them to carriage drive.  They are doing great and I have a good relationship with them.  They generally trust me to try anything new but there is one problem we can’t get over.  They are all terrified of horses.  We have a group of horses live across the road and they often stand and stare at each other.

The owner said her horses are so scared of the donkeys one of them crashed right through a fence to get out of the field the first time they saw each other.

But the big problem is when we go out, if we meet a horse or one is just in a field on our route, they go nuts.  Bolting, backing up, spinning – anything to get away. Today Ellie (30” tall) tried to jump a 4’ fence and nearly succeeded.  Nothing will calm them down when we’re in the heat of the moment.  I have to hang on for dear life.

We’ve never yet had to pass a horse on a trail.  I just think she would refuse and the horse would get upset too.

Yours is the only website I’ve found where you work sympathetically with your animals and you have mammoths, minis and horses altogether.  Your mammoth looks stunning.

So, do you have any suggestions for how to tackle it?  All the advice I can track down relates to the horse having the problem, not the donkey.  They need to be confident as I want to take them to shows where driving classes are mixed with horses & donkeys in the arena together at the smaller shows.  I have a foal who hasn’t met a horse yet so I don’t want him to be as sacred as the others – aged 8, and 3

Hoping you have some advice.



Hello Sheila,

Yes I do have some ideas to help your donkeys fear of horses or anything it’s called ground work.    I am a student of Parelli Natural Horsemanship I am not a teacher of Parelli but I can share their 30 days free training at for more detailed information.  You can teach your donkeys to not be afraid of horses and yes donkeys can be very introverted and afraid of things that can kill them, donkeys can bolt when not de-sensitized to things.  The good news is once they are sure they are safe the training does not need to be repeated.

My mini donkey is 18 years old it took me almost one year for him to learn to trust me and know I would never let anything bad happen to him.  This took patience and perseverance but today there is nothing he will not do for me.  He refused to go into the woods on a trail walk he just did not believe I would protect him like Rio our Mammoth donkey and then one day he trusted me but it took time and work on my part.

This is a great goal to take the mini’s to shows but first you must learn how to be a great human leader with resistance free training.  Donkeys must trust their human to not let anything hurt them, trust takes time.  Relationships take time, are you willing to invest some quality time to help your donkeys?


What is the name of your mini donkeys?  Sex? Jennies, Jack or Johns (gelded)

How long have you owned them?

Who trained them to pull the cart?

What are their ages?

Do you  have any experience with walking them on-line – not pulling a cart?

Remember every time you are with your donkeys you are teaching them something, have a plan and stay in the leadership role with pain free training techniques

Select A video of me working with Rio our mammoth donkey on the ground practicing the circle game no bit in his mouth. Parelli works for donkeys too.

I highly recommend you learn the 7 games of Parelli get a rope halter for both your mini’s and the Parelli carrot stick, Parelli offers 30 days free check them out at I highly suggest learning the 7 games of Parelli and learning the horseanlities  as they apply to donkeys too.

Would you say you are an introverted personality or an extroverted personality?  All of these things help when trying to learn how to train equine – Parelli has so much information available to help with the home study program.

After you have learned how to use the Parelli Carrot stick and rope halter and taught them how to do the basic commands, whoa, walk on, back up.  I would start taking them for walks with you walking on the ground not pulling the cart by the horses.   If you  have a family member to walk one and you walk one on the rope halter they will be much more calm. As donkeys like to go in two’s and get upset when separated.

Parelli teaches the personality of horses and how to train per the personality.  My guess would be your donkeys are left brain introverts but are stuck in the right brain introvert place at the moment.   Learning Parelli will help you learn their personality and adjust your training accordingly.

I highly recommend you desensitize them to lot’s of new things before having them pull the cart.  Yes, donkeys can bolt and take off when scared for their life or they can stand still and not move.  Bolting is not safe for you while riding in the cart it is down right dangerous.  I would do lot’s of walking past the horses until they learn the horses cannot chase them and hurt them.  Part of being a great human is  making sure your equine are always safe when out and about with their human partner the leader.

Never let any harm come to your donkeys when you are with them ever as donkey will never forget their human let something bad happen to them.  We took my horse, Mammoth donkey and mini donkey for many trail walks to prepare them for trail riding; bikes, motorcycles, gun shots, cars, kids, dogs, coyotes, on and on.  Using the Parelli carrot stick like an extension of our human arm a long tale helps keep them walking safely next us.  Here is a video of my husband walking both donkeys on-line.

Donkeys are really smart, depending on their past experiences with horses they may have been chased they are having some issues.  Remember it does not matter what their issues are your job as the human partner and leader is to introduce them to lot’s of new things and always protect them from any danger, I would do this via ground training not cart pulling.  I would place my body near the horse on the other side of the fence and have the donkey walk next to me on the other side.  When the horses start running and carrying on you ignore them and work on keeping control of your donkeys.  Make a game out of it.

Before taking them out for walks make sure you have a really good understanding of the 7 games, rope halter and you can control them when they start to fuss.  Donkeys learn verbal commands so make sure they understand all the necessary commands too before taking them to the horses. Send me your questions I am here to help you.

Safety is number one when working with equine, stay safe.

GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!


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