Riding a donkey for a fee is something enjoyed by many at parties, carnivals, and resorts. Donkey rides are quite popular in many countries, but it is especially widespread in the United Kingdom. Children of many ages view a donkey ride as a staple part of a beach holiday in the UK. Trained to be well behaved, the donkeys are given regular breaks when they are being ridden.
In addition to being a very popular form of children's entertainment, these rides are popular at fetes and fund-raising events. Some stables train donkeys for appearances at store openings, promotions, and even film or theater performances. Event organizers may use donkeys at corporate events, functions, or for school visits. Some donkeys also visit special needs institutions and special care homes.
Donkey rides can be easily found at stables or at major leisure events. They used to be a great deal more common in earlier times. Some believe the tradition originated in the Victorian era. While it is slowly dying out, there some efforts in the UK dedicated to keeping the tradition alive.
Children can ride the donkeys individually or in groups accompanied by a trainer. The trainer usually leads the donkey along at a walking pace. Typically, the donkeys are very calm animals whose names can be found on their harnesses. This allows the kids and parents to pick up their names at a glance.
Stables mostly carry insurance for these rides and ensure the safety of the those riding the animals. They assess the risks and take care to see that the donkey doesn't suffer. In 2008, new rules were enforced in Britain that specified one day off in a week and an hour's rest during the day for the donkeys. The British Equine Vet's Association and the Donkey Sanctuary drew up the code to standardize the care given to donkeys all across the country.
Under this code, children heavier than 100 pounds (approximately 50 kilograms) cannot enjoy donkey rides to ensure the animals' safety. Donkey rides are also enjoyed by tourists in some countries as a way to travel around a place and experience it authentically. Some island tours and treks are arranged based on donkey rides.
In some places, people use donkeys at weddings. Brides take donkey rides to the church and back in some traditional weddings. In case the distance is too far for the donkey to cover, the donkey stays put at either the church or the house. People use the opportunity to pose with it for the wedding pictures.