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Ever wondered how donkeys are trained to long rein or to pull a cart?

Some of the donkeys at the donkey assisted therapy centres and at Slade House Farm are trained to draw carts.

Long reining and driving are great activities to provide enrichment for the donkeys as well being a very effective way to keep them physically and mentally fit so they can carry out their donkey assisted therapy work better.

Sian from our donkey assisted therapy in Manchester with Harry

Celebrating 40 years with a donkey champion

Cocoa is our oldest donkey here our Manchester donkey assisted therapy centre. He recently celebrated his 21st birthday. Cocoa came to Manchester in early 2004 when the centre first opened. He had previously worked at our Leeds donkey assisted therapy centre where he diligently learned how to be a therapy donkey. When he came across to Manchester he proved to be an excellent therapy donkey and was able to show his new donkey friends the ropes. He has given literally thousands of rides to our children since 2004.


The Donkey Sanctuary celebrates 40 years of donkey assisted therapy at Manchester

On the 25 November 2015, The Donkey Sanctuary will celebrate 40 years of providing donkey assisted therapy for children with additional needs. The Donkey Sanctuary Manchester celebrated at their centre in Abbey Hey during the weekend of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November.

The main celebration was held on the 21 November when the centres regular riders, families and carers can come along for their usual donkey therapy. Each child having donkey assisted therapy received a small gift to commemorate the occasion.

Donkeys at Manchester

Celebrating 40 Years of donkey assisted therapy

On the 25 November 2015 The Donkey Sanctuary is celebrating 40 years of providing donkey assisted therapy.

40 years ago the vision of The Donkey Sanctuary's founder Dr Elisabeth Svendsen began a journey which has since given happiness to many donkeys, children and adults.

Our founder, Dr Svendsen, had the idea of bringing together children with additional needs, and donkeys who were healthy and happiest when socialising with humans… so in November 1975 she set out to make this dream a reality.

Dr Elisabeth Svendsen

Adoption donkey Toby retires

Toby retired from our adoption scheme and his role as assisted therapy donkey at Manchester on 1 September 2015 to enjoy a gentler pace of life. This gorgeous donkey has given many years of his life to helping children with additional needs overcome their difficulties. He has also provided much love and pleasure to his fantastic family of adopters. Toby will remain at The Donkey Sanctuary in Manchester with his best friend Tufty at his side.

Toby standing with Tufty

Introducing Henry, everybody's friend

We are so excited to finally be able to introduce you all to our friend and yours, new adoption donkey Henry.

All of us here in Manchester just know you are going to love this inquisitive chap who is out to spark a friendship with someone special.

He has two distinctive white flecks on his nose, Henry is swiftly becoming a central part of the important work we do with children with additional needs here at our donkey assisted therapy centre.

Henry looking forward to making friends

A right Royal occasion

At the end of April, we received a top secret email saying we had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services (the MBE for volunteer groups) but had to keep it quiet until the Queen’s birthday which was on 2nd June 2014 when the formal announcement would be made.

Debbie Coombes from our Centre was invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 10th June and we invited Jan Meadowcroft, who had submitted the nomination, to go along as well.

Staff receiving the Queens Award for Voluntary Services

Tickets available for Manchester Donkey Sanctuary’s spectacular 10th Anniversary Ball

The Donkey Sanctuary is celebrating 10 years of providing donkey assisted therapy in Manchester with an Anniversary ball at Gorton Monastery on 11th April.

The Anniversary Ball is being held to celebrate the centre’s success in providing therapy sessions for thousands of children with additional needs over the last 10 years and also to raise funds to support this vital service.

Giving the gift of friendship

As Farms Equine Assistant, one of my main jobs has been to visit all our potential foster donkeys. I go with a colleague from our welfare team to assess their suitability before putting the donkeys forward to have a thorough medical examination with one of the vets; to ensure they have a perfect bill of health before hopefully joining their new home.

Ike and Jazz from Woods Farm

It's playtime for Joey!

Donkey assisted therapy was one of the areas of our work that founder, Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE, was passionate about. She recognised the positive relationship that donkeys have with humans, and children especially. Our six Donkey Assisted Therapy Centres around the UK provide more than 46,000 sessions for children with additional needs every year. But our donkeys benefit too.

Joey frolicking in the field with his friends
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