Traditional Italian Pastime: Donkey Races

Posted by Paige Cerulli

And down the stretch they come! While you might be expecting to see galloping Thoroughbreds, this donkey race is full of excitement, too.

There's one unusual pastime that is quite popular in Italy: donkey racing. As you can see in the video below, many tourists have gathered to watch this donkey race. The jockeys try to get their donkeys to cross the finish line first, but what makes this race so interesting is the fact that the donkeys sometimes have other ideas. While a little slower than your traditional horse race, this donkey race is still fun to watch.

The video below gives you a close look at what it's like to ride in donkey races. It's good to see that all of the jockeys are wearing helmets, and the donkeys are treated well - there are no whips or spurs, or violent attempts to force the donkeys forward. It looks like, while everyone's still competitive, they're out to have fun, and the donkeys don't seem to mind the spectacle at all. Take a look.

Donkeys are a bit different than horses, so if you're thinking about getting one, you'll want to familiarize yourself with them first. Donkeys certainly have minds of their own, and they can be stubborn. If a donkey doesn't want to move, he can plant his feet and no amount of pulling or pushing can get him to move. Donkeys can also kick powerfully, so it's important to work with a donkey to train him about how to behave around people.

Donkeys are hardy and can be useful around farms. They're capable of carrying heavy loads, but can also be ridden. Additionally, donkeys are fiercely protective of their homes. If a predator approaches, donkeys will often attack and scare it off, making them excellent guard animals for herds of ponies, horses, and other smaller animals. While they might not be great at racing, donkeys are plenty talented in other areas.

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Traditional Italian Pastime: Donkey Races