David and Theo have been continuing with their training since joining our Leeds herd. Find out more about their preparations to join a Guardian home.
We rescued David and Theo from a muddy field on New Year's Eve 2019. They were rescued alongside another donkey named Connie. All three had visibly overgrown hooves and were very malnourished. Connie now enjoys her days at a holding base with her new companion, Jelly, while David and Theo have since moved to our Leeds sanctuary.
Since joining our Leeds herd, they have been undertaking a training regime with our equine behaviourists, who are helping to build up their confidence and feel more comfortable around humans.
Developing bonds of trust is a crucial step in preparing them to join our rehoming scheme. It is important that they are prepared for life in a new home under the care of a wonderful Donkey Guardian.
Training exercises can be simple but highly effective. To bring the energy levels of the two donkeys down, Equine Assistant and Behaviour Mentor Sarah Murray adjusts her body language to become a calming presence.
By remaining calm and dropping her eye contact, Sarah can reduce the energy levels of the two donkeys, making it easier to carry out activities like putting head collars on them both.
Reflecting on the exercise, Sami Hanlon, Equine Coach at DAT Leeds, says: "We initially went up to catch the donkeys, but we decided to change what training we were going to do and worked with David and Theo in the moment. In the end, we managed to put a head collar on them both, gave them a fuss, then let them go. The reason we did this is that they had been through a lot of training by adapting and changing their behaviour from being quite energetic to calm."
While an exercise like this may seem simple, it could have profound benefits when David and Theo make their way to a Guardian home. When their Guardian approaches with a calm demeanour, the pair will hopefully mirror the behaviour.
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