How Do You Hitch a Donkey to a Cart?


Quick Answer

Hitching an equine to a cart starts with harnessing the donkey, backing the animal between the shafts and fastening the shafts to the cart loops, as described by Horse and Country. Once this is done, fastening the hold-back straps of the breeching to the shafts and attaching the traces to the cart complete the process.

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Full Answer

The traces must be taut or the donkey may get a leg caught in them. The traces are the parts that actually transmit the donkey's forward momentum to the cart. The shafts hang over the animal's back, balancing the weight of the cart.

A yoke harness should never be used on a donkey because it damages the donkey's neck and impedes the animal from pulling properly, cautions Rene Fischer, who describes proper harnessing of a donkey in Permanent Farming Systems. Instead, a breastband harness should be used, or if available, a collar harness adjusted to fit the donkey's shoulder because it doesn't suppress the donkey's breathing. The shafts of the cart should be attached so that the cart's weight is supported by the donkey's back via a "saddle" (a wide strap or padded construction). The donkey's neck should never support the weight of the cart. The harness should have a breeching to keep the cart from slipping forward and running into the animal.

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