Second-hand small pony harness can usually be adapted for donkeys quite satisfactorily. The back band will generally need to be lengthened as donkeys are longer than ponies in the body, and the breeching will need shortening as pony bottoms are much more rounded. If buying second-hand harness make sure that it is safe. An experienced driver will be able to advise you if you are unsure.
If you are buying new harness, your first choice is between synthetic material or leather. Most people will choose synthetic. It is cheaper, easier to care for and clean, it looks good for longer these days than it used to and is equally acceptable to a judge or critic. There are a number of suppliers of synthetic donkey harness and more names will be added to this page very shortly.
We can recommend Lorien Driving Supplies. Colleen Rebay has made harness for a lot of donkey drivers over the past few years and is familiar with the special differences in donkey shape. Service is helpful and prompt and prices competitive. Her address is Waverley Horse Gear, 1951 Main Road, R.D.2, Waverley, Ph/fax 06 346 5815 E-mail Website The very basic harness costs approx. $594 but a version with a sliding backband at approximately $794.00 is recommended for anyone planning to do a lot of driving. If you have two donkeys and think you might one day like to drive a pair, talk to Colleen about her pair harness that converts to a single.
Zilco are manufacturers of synthetic pony harness which can be adapted to fit a donkey. They also supply Empathy collars which seem to be particularly well-suited to donkeys and are used in place of a breast collar. For further information contact the agent Isabel Cochran, Aorangi Road, Feilding, Ph. 06 323 9534 Email Isabel is a pony driver but is familiar with donkeys.
When you buy harness, it comes as a complete set with bridle, reins and harness but without a bit. You will need to decide when you order your harness whether you want the bridle to come with blinkers or without, and also whether you prefer brass or nickel buckles and attachments. The choice of bit is also up to you.