UMass Amherst is buzzing with excitement for its brand new Donkey Club! Club president Jacquline Celmer founded this group to share her enthusiasm about donkeys after her experience showing them in UMass’s Livestock Classic last spring.
The fundamental goal of the Donkey Club is to teach interested university students about the many uses and worldwide importance of donkeys. Throughout the semester, students work to halter-train the animals at Hadley Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts, then go on to train them to be comfortable pulling carts, get them familiar with obstacle courses, and prepare them for ridden work. Students receive classroom and hands-on instruction from local and nationally recognized donkey experts.
The Donkey Club’s work over this winter is leading up to UMass’s first no-clip donkey show, which will be held sometime in early spring. Here, both the students and the donkeys will be able to show off their newly acquired skills. In addition, club members help out in community events on the Hadley Farm.
Though there is a lot of support and enthusiasm growing on campus and in the local community, the Donkey Club is a costly endeavor. The club is in need of bridles, saddles, harnesses, and carts for both mini and standard donkeys. They are looking for donations of the items mentioned, and monetary donations are also greatly appreciated.
Everyone is welcome to attend Donkey Club meetings held at 5:00 p.m. on Monday nights at the Hadley Farm riding area. Those interested in participating should feel free to check out the club Facebook page (UMass Donkey Club) or contact club president Jacquline Celmer directly at email@example.com, or vice-president Weston Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen R. Purdy, DVM teaches Equine Management and Camelid Management at UMass Amherst, and is involved in both the Donkey Club and the UMass International Donkey Project. He is the author of DONKEYS: MINIATURE, STANDARD, MAMMOTH–A VETERINARY GUIDE FOR OWNERS AND BREEDERS, a book applauded by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Reviewers said: “Readers will appreciate the author’s straightforward style of prose and the use of numerous photos and illustrations. The bulleted summaries at the end of each chapter and suggested reading lists are informative additions . . . Both novice and experienced donkey breeders will find this text to be a valuable and affordable priced guide.”