Although they’re common in horses, donkeys of all sizes might wear a halter, too. For pulling and training, these can come in real handy. If you already have a spare halter lying around for a full-sized donkey or even a small horse, would that fit your miniature donkey? What size halter would they need?
The halter size a mini donkey should wear depends on the length of their head. If their head is between 26 and 29 inches, then they’d fit in a small halter. Bigger donkeys with a head size of 26 to 32 inches require a medium halter. Fully-grown mini donkeys with a head up to 36 inches should wear a large.
How do you know how big your donkey’s head is in the first place? Do you need any other measurements to get your pet a halter that fits? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article, so keep reading.
What Is a Halter?
First, we thought it’d be a good idea to start with a definition of a halter. After all, those involved in farming and livestock probably have a familiarity with these, but not every mini donkey owner would.
Okay, so what’s a halter anyway? It’s a type of accessory for a donkey or horse to wear. It goes over their head, bracing the top and sides of their cranium. The halter also wraps around their snout, although it doesn’t prevent the animal from opening their mouth (or it shouldn’t). They have the freedom to move their head when wearing a halter as well.
Some halters have a metal loop underneath for attaching a pull rope. Certain people use halters for training, as we mentioned in the intro. You could also rely on your halter for corralling an unruly animal.
Most halters are made of nylon or nylon webbing. They may include chin and throat sliders that you can move so your donkey has more breathing room. You can get a nylon halter in about any color imaginable. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, some halter companies can detail yours with pretty trim or other appealing features. These do nothing but add to the aesthetics of the halter, though, so it’s something that only matters to you and not your mini donkey.
What Size Halter Do Mini Donkeys Wear?
As we’ve covered, both horses and donkeys typically wear halters. Obviously, you would avoid those made for horses, but you can get tripped up when shopping around for a donkey halter. Sometimes it’s hard to eyeball whether a halter will fit just right until it arrives on your doorstep in a box. Then you put the halter on your mini donkey and it hangs comically large.
Okay, so you overshot it. What size halter should a mini donkey wear then? To figure it out, you’ll have to measure the size of your mini donkey’s head. You want to start at their mouth corner. Then, move up to the space right beyond their ears. Continue to the other mouth corner and then end on the other side of their head after their ears.
Once you have that information, you can buy your first miniature donkey halter. Do keep in mind that, as your donkey grows, you’ll have to keep upgrading the size of his or her halter. For instance, foals, or baby donkeys, have a head size of 22 to 26 inches on average. These donkeys haven’t celebrated their first birthday yet, so they’re quite young. They’d need a special foal-sized halter.
If your mini donkey is more than a year old and up to two years old, they probably have a head size of 26 to 29 inches. They’d need a size small for their halter. Donkeys that reach three years of age often have a sizable cranium to match. This might measure anywhere from 26 to 32 inches long. In that case, you’d have to upgrade their halter to one that’s a medium fit.
After three years old, your mini donkey will have grown to full capacity. Their head size at that point might be 30 to 36 inches. A large halter should fit them just fine.
Now, those aren’t hard and fast rules. We’d recommend you go by the size of your mini donkey’s head over their age when determining the size of their halter.
How to Ensure Your Donkey’s Halter Fits
Based on the information above, you think you bought a halter that should fit your mini donkey perfectly, at least until their head grows another size or two. How do you know if you got it right?
First, you want to start with the crownpiece. This part of the halter goes around the mini donkey’s head. If the crownpiece isn’t quite in place, then the throatlatch might feel too tight. The same goes for the noseband, which crosses the donkey’s snout. The cheek pieces might also sit at an odd angle.
After fixing the crownpiece, move on to the noseband. This has a precise fit as well. It should go beneath the cheekbones of your mini donkey. When positioning it on their snout, make sure the noseband lies somewhere between the donkey’s nostrils and eyes. This should keep the cheek piece and chin strap from rubbing into your donkey’s face. Make sure you can get a few fingers beneath the noseband as well to ensure it’s not a super-tight fit. This way, your mini donkey has the freedom to eat and chew.
Next, there’s the throatlatch. This connects between your donkey’s jowls and neck, sitting on the underside of their head. Again, put your fingers under there. You should have the room to wiggle them a bit; otherwise, loosen up the throatlatch, as it’s too tight.
Finally, look at the fit of the halter’s cheek pieces. Find your mini donkey’s cheekbones and adjust the cheek pieces so they have a parallel fit. If they don’t, then it’s often a throatlatch issue. The cheek pieces might also be longer than necessary or even shorter than you anticipated. Readjust and see if that fixes the problem. If not, then you might want to measure your donkey’s head again and get them a better-fitting halter.
It’s worth it to take the time to make sure your mini donkey’s halter fits just right, including each time you need to upgrade the size. A halter that’s too loose can come right off, and that’d be problematic. Also, a loose halter allows the rings and/or buckles to move and possibly get in your mini donkey’s eyes or face. This can cause them injury. A halter that’s excessively tight also leads to pain as the nylon digs into the face and head of your donkey. The animal might not have the ability to open their mouths and thus they can’t eat, as mentioned.
A halter is a piece of nylon with metal hardware, often buckles, loops, and clasps. Horse owners use these, but so do those with donkeys. That goes for mini donkeys as well, but you can’t choose the same halter size for a regular donkey as you would for a miniature one.
Instead, you should measure the size of your donkey’s head as we explained in this article. As your mini donkey grows, they’ll go from wearing foal-sized halters to small, medium, and even large ones when they reach full size.
Make sure you spend some time adjusting the halter. The crownpiece, noseband, throatlatch, and cheek pieces should fit close to your mini donkey’s head, but not so close that they dig into their tender face skin or prohibit eating. With all this info, you’re now ready to begin shopping for and fitting a halter on your miniature donkey. Good luck!