Driving your Donkey In Harness

The Donkey & Mule Society of NZ (Inc.)

For information on Donkey (& Mule) Driving Contact the Driving representative:
Contact: Janet Ritchie, 297 Bainesse Road, RD 7, Palmerston North 4477
Ph: 06 329 6960 E-mail

left: A team! Jackie Bryant driving four in hand.

Buying your Harness
Buying your Cart

D&M Society of NZ (Inc.) Publication

A Guide To Training Your Donkey To Harness

Non-members $5.00 plus $1.40 or post an A5 envelope & stamps.
Free to members except postage
Contact The Secretary, See Publications page: Here

Donkey Driving in New Zealand

Harness entrants in the North Island show 2006
Left to right: Jo Anne Hardy, Pemberton Brangane; Wendy Macpherson, Willow of Kilmarnock; Bryan Clausen, BJ's Wilson (reserve Champion);
Carol Bron, Pemberton Thistle; Pauline Lovejoy, Oakville Sophie (Mule); Elton Moore, Archie of Rhymoor (Champion).

Donkey driving in New Zealand is fast growing into a very popular activity with participating in fun drives, showing and combined driving trials.

Right: A tandem. Jackie Bryant competing in a dressage test.

Left: Bryan Clausen driving BJ's Wilson,
One of our leading harness donkeys at A & P shows
Photo: David Matthews

Almost all donkeys enjoy being driven and accept the training readily. They are not ponies and they are not as fast or dynamic as ponies but they are willing, safe in traffic, not easily spooked, capable of quite long distances at a steady trot and quite responsive.

They can be trained up to be driven competitively with ponies at carriage driving events but they really excel at trips with the family and the family dog to the dairy, giving rides at birthday parties or gala days, Driving for the Disabled activities - situations where their calm temperament means that there is rarely any trouble even when the most alarming things happen.

Right: Elton Moore driving Archie of Rhymoor,
Champion Harness donkey. Photo: David Matthews

We intend to have information available on this page on what you will need, where to get it, how to go about the training, who to go to for help and what you can expect of your donkey in harness.

We will also have news about what driven donkeys have been doing recently and some photographs from time to time, so that you too can share our enthusiasm.

Left: Champion Harness Donkey,
Othello and Robin Winter.
Photo: Lea Hullett

Donkeys can be driven as singles (on their own) or as multiples; a pair (two side by side), a tandem (two, one in front of the other), a team (two pairs, one in front of the other), a unicorn (three, a pair with a single in front). Some of these combinations are shown in the photo at the top of this page.

Left: Pemberton Don Giovanni; right: Jasmine Mr Darcy. They are the first donkeys to upgrade to Preliminary grade in dressage and competing against ponies and horses.

Happy Driving!