IT HAS been two years since donkeys have featured at the Foster Show, so it will be exciting to welcome them again at this year’s show, which is due to take place at the Foster Showgrounds on Saturday, February 28.
Fiona Mottram is coordinating the donkey section at the show. Fiona, who lives at Woorarra West, has been interested in donkeys since 1983. She bought her first donkey in 1990 and now has eight donkeys and two mules.
She is currently the secretary of the Donkey Society of Victoria and is expecting entries from many parts of Gippsland.
“Donkeys are a species on their own,” says show secretary Denis O’Neill. “The mule is a hybrid where the donkey is the father and a horse is the mother. The hinny has a horse for its father and a donkey for its mother. Breeds include Australian, Irish, English, Mediterranean, American and Mammoth donkeys. It’s possible we may see some of these on the day.”
Six classes will be judged on the day on conformation. For example: 1. Led donkey 5 yrs and under. Good conformation includes a broad chest, good lung capacity, strong hindquarters, straight legs and back, heavy in proportion, hoofs in good condition and a tail that is well attached.
Further classes are judged on performance. For example: 7. Ridden Pleasure Donkey or Hybrid – includes one obstacle to be negotiated. Performance classes reflect animals that can follow instructions with owners who have a good relationship with their donkeys. The classes are conducted in a friendly, relaxed manner.
In the Championship class judges are looking for a donkey that has a good working capacity, is strong and well put together so it can pull or carry a load. It should display a willing placid manner.
The Reserve Champion is the one who gets second place but shows championship qualities.
The Best Presented Donkey reflects a washed and well groomed animal that is not only impressive but moves well too.
The Encouragement Award is for a person who may not have shown donkeys before, can handle the Show situation in a friendly and relaxed manner and overall performs very well.