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Northern California

Miniature Donkey Breeders

             EST: 2001


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Red Bluff Round-up Parade

April 19, 2014

Hi Club Members, The Red Bluff parade was great this year.  However the only members that were in it were Richard, Cheryl and Marilyn Clark.  Richard and I were dressed in western attire and Marilyn was a Rodeo clown.  She rode in the back of our wagon and waved at the spectators.  There were crowds of people larger than I have seen before.  The best thing was the One Armed Bandit was behind us.  He rode a big red mule who rode on the top of a trailer pulled by a diesel semi.  The mule would go back and forth on the top of the trailer and then come down a ramp to the back of the truck to a platform and jump to the ground.  That was awesome to watch.  The only thing I regret is that I forgot my camera.  We were finished by 10:35 and home by 11:30 .  It paid to enter early to get a place in the beginning.

Maybe next year we could be a bigger group. Rich and Cheryl

Play Day at Pam and Bill Beavers

April 12, 2014

It was a perfect day for a donkey play day this fine morning!  Bill Beaver got an early start with his gelding and just returned when Rich and Cheryl Austin arrived.  Technically Christy Neely would’ve been there first, but those country back roads sometimes send you in the wrong direction!  The Austins each brought a donkey and cart and were soon zooming through the pasture with me (Sarah Bennett) and my team.  Dot Lanham brought newcomer 16 year old Tyler, with his own yearling gelding and his 10 year old jenny for in hand work.  Christy joined the crowd with three of her own donkeys.  Rounding out the assembly were Lisa McCain-Cole and Leo and Carol Murrer.                 

The pasture had been cleared for cart work and there were lots of in hand obstacles set up, including a bridge, a set of half barrels for low jumping work, a small coon jump and a set of three jumps for in-hand jumping.  Most of the donkeys were happy the grass was high and obliged with a nibble or two as often as possible.                 

Around noon, hot dogs, hamburgers and chili were on the menu along with just a FEW desserts.  Well, a few per plate! After lunch, no one tacked up their donkeys and so it was either ground work or visiting with the four new babies in the back pasture.  There were discussions on sidepassing and which technique to use.  Since sidepassing has increased in popularity at the shows, it’s an important technique to teach your donkey while remembering that you get points for at least attempting the maneuver.  Points will be deducted if you make contact with your donkey, i.e. touching the hip area to get side movement, but the points you get are better than not attempting the maneuver at all.  A technique that was passed onto me by Peggy Curtis, involves pushing the lead rope across the neck towards the direction of the pass, while snapping the fingers of the other hand near the hips of the donkey to get movement.                 

Christy and Tyler took turns at getting their donkeys over the half barrels.  The Beavers use these to teach the “jump” command, as the barrel is both tall and wide enough that the donkey jumps instead of walking over it.  After a few rounds, they both had success! Just as the sun had started to beat down, everyone headed home.   Thank you to everyone that came!  We had such a good time with our donkeys and with our friends. 


Northern California Miniature Donkey Club



WOW, what a turn out, sixteen members at our meeting and it was GREAT to see everyone. We had a fabulous lunch at M&M Restaurant in Red Bluff, Ca.


Gail called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m..

It had been so long since our last meeting April 29, 2012, we somehow forgot our minutes. The news letter of our last meeting is posted on the web-site for any members to read.


Cheryl our treasurer  announced our ending balance as of 2011 $805.85

Expenses for 2012 was:

03-04-12 Boot Barn Gift Certificate to support Back Country Horseman, 03-15-12 Red Bluff Parade $25.00, Cost of Minerals $940.00, Delivery of Minerals, $97.60, totaling $1,162.60.

Income for 2012 was:

Dues for 22 members $330.00 plus and extra $20.00 from Christy & Tim Neely as a donation to the club, thank you Christy & Tim.

$672.00 earned in mineral sales, totaling $1022.00. Ending bank balance $713.25. Thank you Cheryl for keeping track of everything.


The NCMDB Club dues are due as of January 1, 2013, amount $15.00 a year, if you haven’t paid yet please mail a check payable NCMDB, to Cheryl Austin,17100 Austin Lane, Cottonwood, CA. 96022.


Gail & Jack Heaney have 20 bags of minerals left if anyone needs minerals.  $26 per bag. Remember selenium is very important for your donkeys if you are breeding, they’re good for our donkeys even if you’re not breeding. There is not enough selenium in the mineral blocks for donkeys, they need more selenium than horses

Call Gail if you need minerals. 530-384-1318.


We discussed donating $100.00 to the NMDA Gelding Incentive Program to encourage the gelding of Jacks. The program will rebate you $50.00 after you geld your Jack Donkey. It was announced in the winter issue of the Asset 2012 that the program is a success, and what started out as trial program is now permanent part of NMDA’S offerings to the Miniature Donkey community.


Mark these dates on your calendars for 2012:

March 3, 2013 will be our next club meeting, Possibly at Marilyn’s house and she will see if Sherry will do a small training clinic for donkey tricks.

April 20, 2013 is the Red Bluff Parade, Cheryl Austin is in charge of the organization of the club members that would like to participate in the parade. Contact her for more information 530-347-4457.

She is also in charge of organizing the Pet Expo,  April 27, 2012, so please contact Cheryl if you would like to be a part of these two events. Mule Days in Bishop California is a date you might want to save May 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 2012. It is a competitive fun show with mules and donkeys.

June 21, 22, 23, 2012 is the Western Regional Miniature Donkey Show at the Tehama District Fairgrounds in Red Bluff, CA., Richard & Renee, Smith, 530-692-0122 Ray & Dot Lanham 530-347-3465, are the hosts of the show and would like to see everyone come out and join in the show or just come for spectating. There is only one NMDA Show on the west coast now and they sure want to keep the shows going so please support, information is on their web-site or you can call either host.  

August 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 2012 is the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley, CA., people come from all over California, the fairgrounds are beautiful with the tall Ponderosa Pines voted most beautiful fairground in California, Sally Plount, Richard & Renee Smith have been doing educational demonstration there for three years now, we show the public what miniature donkeys are capable of, giving demos of driving, educate about the donkeys health, eating, behavior, snigging and last year Dot Lanham joined us with Willy who did our jumping demo and did a great job.

September 26, 27, 28, 29, 2012 is the Tehama District Fair,

Cheryl Austin organizes club members to come bring your donkey’s and show them off at the clubs booth. We educate and talk about donkeys, walk them around so people can get up close and personal with the little ones.  Please contact Cheryl and help to spread the word about the Mediterranean Miniature Donkey Breed. 530-347-5547.

Also LeeAnn and Al would like to do a playday at their place this year.

Gail talked a little on Lung Worms and other Parasites that donkeys can get, stressed that it is important to worm your donkeys regularly.


Chrys Anderson asked if anyone had ideas on keeping ticks off their donkeys. Dot Lanham said she mixes 6 drops of Tea Tree Oil, 3 drops Citronella Oil and water in the summer Dot adds 3 to 4 drops of Skin So Soft for mosquitoes and don’t get it in their eyes. Another good idea for lice and mosquitoes is put the ash from your wood stove out to your donkey pasture so they can roll in it. Thanks Dot for sharing with us. 


Gail told us the story of a young donkey who needed a pacemaker from UC Davis Veterinary Hospitol, owned by a young girl in the Bay Area who put the word out that the surgery cost $2,200.00 and she needed donations to be able to save her donkeys life. The animal lovers came through with about $900.00 and Meredith Hodges of Lucky Three Ranch gave her the rest, what a big heart Meredith, she was able to get the operation and her donkey is doing fine, a great success story. This is the second donkey UC Davis has seen that needed a pacemaker.


If you would like to put a narrative with your ranch name on our club web-site Gail would be more than happy too. Just e-mail her the ranch information you’d like under your ranch name


At our next meeting we are going to share ideas of what kind of play days we would like to see this year. We talked about renting this arena Ray & Dot found to rent for $7.00 an hour, Ridgeway Park off Live Oak in Red Bluff.


Gail asked members what directions they think their club should go, what kind of things would we like to see or do, would everyone like a Christmas Party? During the year 2012 the meetings and play days had low attendance. She asked if the club should end. Renee Smith mentioned we have people call looking for donkey clubs but they don’t want to travel as far as Red Bluff.

We decided to plan another clinic and see if we get member participation.  Also have several activities to work on in one day with a pot luck.

Please remember March 3rd as our next meeting and please come and help plan our 2013 year. The place we are meeting will be announced at a later date, Marilyn Clark is trying to get a friend she knows to come to our meeting and teach us how to teach our donkeys tricks. She has come to our play days in the past and is a very interesting woman with loads of information on equine behavior.


Prays and positive thoughts shoud be with Ernie & Sue Odell because Ernie has suffered another stroke and is at UCSF, today he was to under go a surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. My heart breaks for the two of them because they have been through so much when Ernie suffered his first stroke about 5 years ago, he had a hard road back and for the most part he made it by working hard with his therapy. Sue has been right there by his side working hard with him.

Bless You Both. For information about Ernie’s progress I found it on Sue’s facebook page. She posted this morning about his surgery today. 


 NCMDB MEETING April 29, 2012

It was a beautiful day in Red Bluff at Leo and Carole Murrers Ranch. They have a nice arena area and Richard and Renee Smith talked to club members on how to start a donkey in training for driving in cart. They explained and demonstrated the techniques in training that work for them and their donkeys, how to harness their donkey, what small steps they do in order for the donkey to feel comfortable. After the clinic the experienced club members that have been driving for years helped the members who were interested in becoming cart drivers. After we had fun playing with all the donkeys we went up to the Murrers beautiful patio with a light breeze and a fabulous view of the foothills for our club meeting.

Gail called the meeting to order at 2:05, read the minutes of our last meeting, announced upcoming events like the Cottonwood Parade, Wine County Classic National Miniature Donkey Show, June 22, 23,& 24. Western Regional Miniature Donkey Show, September 7, 8, & 9.  May 12, at Aranaway Farm, a play day show in Applegate Valley, just 8 miles from Grants Pass, Oregon, web-site Also a play day coming up in May 27, at LeAnn and Al Schnayer, check the club web site for more information.

As we’re conducting our meeting the smell of Tri-Tip bar-be-queing was disrupting our concentration, the meeting continued as Gail asked for any updates on the events she had mentioned previously. Dot gave a report on the Back Country Horseman, Dot commented on how well our little donkeys were received, how at home they made us feel and what a great job Sally Plout, (the announcer for the demonstration) did talking about the history, attitude, behavior of our little donkeys, while Richard and Renee Smith, Dot and Ray Lanham and Jack and Gail Heaney demonstrated how the donkeys could perform.

Western Region Miniature Donkey Show won First Place for creativity in the Red Bluff Parade and Northern California Miniature Donkey Breeders won second place. The Parade was fun and Renee was surprised at the people that come out to support that Parade.

Cheryl and Marilyn went to the Pet Expo on April 28, had a wonderful time spreading the word about miniature donkeys. Its always good to educate the public about miniatures because donkeys have a bad following, people always say they are STUBBORN!

We introduced our new members Christy and Tim Neely from Paradise, they have three donkeys and Christy is interested in showing her donkeys this year. And Nancy Juster and her daughter Lori, from Palo Cedro. We welcome you.

Gail announced we needed a new Librarian, the keeper of all our information and educational videos, books and our club picture album. Dot suggested  Carole Murrer for the job. Several members suggested our meetings at Carole and Leos because of the relaxing atmosphere. Of course Carole was speechless when that was mentioned, her and Leo put a lot of work into our beautiful day and we thank you. I don’t think they wanted to do this every month.

Gail asked if we wanted to add a narrative to our already posted member list/ ranch info on the website.

It was decided that if anyone does to send that info to gail at and she will post it.


The Tri-Tip was close to finished so we adjourned our meeting at 2:35 pm.

Everyone had a great time, lots of laughter, stories, joking back and forth. What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon, thanks again Leo & Carole Murrer.



 Meeting called to order by our President Gail Heaney at 1:04 pm. She read the minutes from our November 6, 2011 and they were approved by the club members.

 Cheryl Austin gave the treasure report: beginning balance for January2012  was $689.05, income was Dues $465.00, Minerals $840.00, Totals$1305.00. Expenses were Parades $30.00, Domain name $18.90, NCMDSrule books $15.00, Minerals $840.00, Delivery $95.25, Printing Brochures$117.07, Schnayers Clinic $23.98, Total Expenses $1140.20, BankBalance $805.85. Thank you Cheryl.

Old Business

We discussed the low attendance. Our club web-site is up and going again. Gail asked if we thought about clinics for 2012, what we would like to see, and for those who can’t attend the club meetings please e-mail Gail with your ideas. Where you would like to see clinics happen, what you would like to have clinics on, or do you even want clinics.


New Business

Gail announced at the November meeting that it was time to elect new Officers. Please come to the February meeting. Our Officers hold their office for two years. The members that came to our February meeting were the Officers and their spouses, Marilyn Clark & her friend Dain, Leo & Carole Murrer, Lisa Cole, hello members where were you? Gail Heaney is President, Dot Lanham is Vice President, Renee Smith Secretary, Cheryl Austin Treasure again. The members voted to leave those Officers in for another two years. One of the members said why change a good thing, thank you for the compliment.

Events for the year for all you donkey lovers are,

March 11, in Dobbins at Richard and Renee Smiths Ranch a beginner driving class, it is very beginning, the donkey must know basic commands if you were walking in halter and lead rope like woe, walk, trot, back before you can even think about starting to train to drive. Woe is very important. We will harness the donkey, put a lead rope on the side of the bit. One person will hold the lead rope, one will hold the reins behind the donkey and go hopefully. Ha

You don’t need an harness if you don’t have one already we have two and other members have two also, we’ll share. You don’t need a cart either, we’re just ground driving.

For donkeys who are already walking with a harness they are welcome also if you just want to do some ground driving, Richard and I believe you can’t do enough ground driving even for experienced donkeys. All our club members please bring your wisdom and experience we can all benefit. Richard and Renee are only teaching what works for us, there are many club members that have great ideas that work for them and we hope they bring them. Please bring a dish to share with the Turkey we will cook on the Weber BB-Q, your own drinks, and a chair. Pray for a nice day and we’re good to go.


March 30, 31 and April 1 in Red Bluff CA. Back Country Horseman a three day educational event with demonstrations. The representative contacted Dot Lanham and asked if we would like to promote the Western Regional Miniature Donkey Show and educate people about miniature donkeys and what they can do. Dot asked if the NCMDB could promote our club for miniature donkey breeders and the answer was yes but the boothis free so there can not be any sales or we would have to pay for our booth, all we have to pay for is stalls for our donkeys. Dot called Richard and Renee because they do an educational demonstration at the Nevada County Fair with Sally Plout, she asked if we would bring our demonstration to the Back County Horseman and we agreed. She is asking for volunteers from the club to help promote our club, our local donkey show and talkabout and educate spectators about miniature donkeys. Please contact Dot Lanham at 530-347-3465 if you can help, as of now she does not have the schedule for  the demonstrations at the Back County Horseman but she should be receiving it any day and she will know more about what is going on. Our club voted to donate a gift certificate for $100.00 for their raffle table from the boot barn.  

April 21Gold Nugget Days in Paradise CA. Richard and Ray will participate and any one else that wants to contact Ray Lanham, you put a54 lb. pack on your donkey and go 3 miles up the side of a hill into the town, walk through obstacles and up stairs across a bridge and through water and if you complete all with the 54 lbs. still on your donkey you could win $500.00 in gold, they give second and third prizes to but I don’t know the amount. Contact Ray at 530-347-3465.
Red Bluff Parade is April 21 if any are interested in joining Dot, Renee and Leo & Carole we are hoping will drive their team so come join in the fun.

April 29 in Red Bluff
at Leo and Carole Murrers Ranch is a play day showing us how to harness and beginning driving in cart and Leo will speak about safety while in the cart. Pot luck and bring your own chair and drinks.  

May 12 in Grants Pass
is a play day sponsored by Aranaway Farms The Oregon donkey lovers said they participated in their clinic play day last year and it was a lot of fun and they would love to see us all again. Gail will post the information on the club web site.

June 22, 23, and 24 NMDA Nationals in Santa Rosa, CA, Wine Country Miniature Donkey Classic
hosted by Cathline and Manuel Oliviera, and Michelle Pimentel, for information go to, congratulations!  

September 7, 8 & 9, in Red Bluff, CA, Western Regional Miniature Donkey Show
formally Northern California Miniature Donkey Show, with hosts Ray & Dot Lanham and Richard & Renee Smith, 

We have heard rumor of an NMDA show in Ben, Oregon this year and as soon as we receive the information it will be posted on our club web-site.

Dennis Robertson gave Gail an empty bag that had minerals. Kim Gimble sent it to him to show what kind of minerals they use, the club members evaluated the ingredients and decided we like our minerals the best. Our ingredients are specially formulated for donkeys. If you need any minerals please contact Gail. 

Dot suggested our club should have a Christmas Party with a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone liked her idea.

e laughed and had fun with ideas and our lunch was great, what a great way to end a day.

Our meeting was adjourned at 1:55 pm by our continuing President Gail Heaney.



Meeting November 6, 2011 

club newsletter dec 2011