Princess is a 22-year-old mare donkey standing at 10.3 hands. She was rescued from a dealer at Appleby Gypsy Fair in May 1996, with another donkey, aptly called Queen! We were told afterwards that they had been tied to a hedge for nearly a week with no food or water – so their previous owner had no concern about their welfare or the poor condition they were in.
After an examination by our vet, Princess was put on a course of wormer and treated for lice and fleas. Today, she is in excellent condition and is a good riding donkey for the disabled children we have from the special needs schools in Oxfordshire. She is very popular due to her lovely friendly nature and obvious love of children.
Princess and Queen remain very close friends and are largely inseparable. They share a stable together with two other female donkeys, although, as her name suggests, Queen seems to be the ruler of their stable.
Princess is an important member of our donkey working team, attending steam rallies and country fairs to demonstrate the sort of work donkeys used to do on farms before tractors took over. Donkeys were also kept by the better-off families to pull small carts or traps which would have been their only form of transport, other than a bicycle – and the local squire and his wife would not want to go to church on bikes!