In November 2011 the Sanctuary's harness makers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya came together in Ethiopia for a trailblazing new course on harness, cart design and donkey behaviour, pulled together by our amazing harness expert, Chris Garrett. It was based in Hawassa where donkeys are widely used to pull carts, and where their condition is often very poor, because of over work, overloading, beatings and poor harness.
Local donkey cart drivers were invited to attend the course and together the group set out to address everyday problems with harness, carts and donkey behaviour. The results were amazing. For example one owner who took part in the behaviour training with our expert Ben Hart, reported that he no longer beat his donkey as he now understood how to manage the donkey much better.
Alongside the dramatic new understanding of donkey behaviour, two innovative cart designs were built with Chris’ support and are currently being trialled by the local donkey cart drivers. If these carts work out well, and are accepted into the cart market, they will help reduce the wounds donkeys suffer on an everyday basis.