Yorkshire donkeys pampered before getting back in the saddle in Blackpool for bank holiday weekend

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Four donkeys from Yorkshire who will carry children across the resort’s beaches this bank holiday received a well-deserved pampering session before getting back in the saddle.

After a year out-of-action due to lockdown, four Yorkshire donkeys are back in the resort this bank holiday.

But first they had lots of human input to ensure they were 100 per cent – including a visit from the vet, having their teeth checked and hooves trimmed, and a haircut and shampoo.

Owner of the donkeys, Mark Ineson, has been running donkey rides along the Golden Mile for 24 years, and keeps 14 of his 20 donkeys at a farm in Wakefield.

Claire Farnsworth giving Trooper a haircut as the donkeys prepare for their Blackpool summer season.

Like many, he developed his love for Blackpool and donkey rides after visiting for holidays as a child.

Apart from a brief respite when he was allowed to do donkey rides last July and August, Mark was unable to do any of the galas, fetes or agricultural shows he normally would.

The lockdown forced him to claim universal credit for the first time in his life.

He had to try to live on £400 a month while ensuring the donkeys were getting fed and looked after in the way they were accustomed to, he said.

Farrier Mark Armstrong works on Mark Ineson's Blackpool Beach donkeys, who are preparing for their summer season. Picture: Tony Johnson
Farrier Mark Armstrong works on Mark Ineson’s Blackpool Beach donkeys, who are preparing for their summer season. Picture: Tony Johnson

“People see donkeys on the beach and just think they walk up and down and do rides,” Mark added.

“They don’t understand there’s a story with every donkey.

“They don’t understand the amount of time and effort that goes into preparation. We’re hoping for a busy season and that events build up again.

Equine dental technician Robert Ruddy checks over the donkeys preparing to go back to work. Picture: Tony Johnson
Equine dental technician Robert Ruddy checks over the donkeys preparing to go back to work. Picture: Tony Johnson