A Pack Saddle For "Mrs. Brown"

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Sep 1, 2003
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As the parade season neared, we were trying to come up with an idea to show off our chocolate jennet "Mrs. Brown". Our jack "Gus" was trained to drive and already a big hit at local parades. "Mrs. Brown" was very small and a brood jennet, so it was decided to lead her through parades. But how to dress her?

Remembering that our lovable little donkeys were originally draft animals, we decided to make her a pack saddle. We wanted the saddle to look like it had been made by a peasant years ago, so no rivets could be used.

We scaled down the sawbuck design to have 12" bars. We cut the sawbucks out of well seasoned apple wood. After figuring the angles we needed, the bucks were notched and bound together with rawhide. The assembled sawbucks were then bound to the bars with rawhide. The rawhide was antiqued and the wood on the saddle stained and oiled.

With the saddle complete, we had to figure how to rig it. It would carry very light loads over flat terrain, so we decided to single rig (one cinch) and not use a breast collar or breeching. Eliminating the breast collar and breeching also allowed us to show more of the donkey.

All the rigging straps were laced to the saddle and a cinch was woven out of jute and rawhide.

We used a hand woven place mat for a blanket and hung woven willow baskets on the saddle.

We filled the baskets with fresh cut flowers and had a little girl lead "Mrs. Brown" in her first parade. Needless to say they were a big hit.

The biggest complement we received on this project, is when we were asked "where did you ever find that little antique pack saddle"? We have made a few more for our mini donkey friends.

If you want to try this with your donkey, we will give you a few hints. Tie the flowers to the basket with florists wire. we had to cross a railroad crossing in a parade, it was the first time "Mrs. Brown" had seen such a frightful thing. She decided to jump each rail and lost her flowers on the street. Don't leave woven baskets were the donkeys can get to them. "Gus" ate the end of one of ours.
Pictures? Where are pictures?
It sounds adorable and I would love to see Mrs. Brown in her getup.

I shared the story of "Mrs. Brown" to encourage people with miniature donkeys to get them out so the public can see what wonderful animals they are. All of us don't have show animals, and parades are a great way to show off our little donkeys.

"Mrs. Browns" first parade was 20 years ago. She is no longer with us and I have no pictures. I have a few pictures of saddles I have made, but "Mrs. Brown" lives in my hart and memories.

Thank sounds wonderful!!

Am sorry she passed on, but I would love to see the picture of the sawback and all the other stuff, just to give me visual ideas.
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