You break a donkey like you break a horse. They are a little smarter in good and bad ways! They usually don't give you much trouble-they just tend to out-think you. Age 2 is good for ground manners and harness work but better if they are closer to 3 for under saddle or packing. Have fun-I have a soft spot in my heart for longears!
A few months ago we rescued two donkeys. A mom and year old baby. Baby was still nursing until he got to my ranch where I immediatly weaned. Was very concerned because the previous owner hadn't castrated the baby yet. Did a pregnancy check on the mom and she is pregnant by her son. The vet says that she is to far along to abort but there is a good chance it will not be "right".
I have been looking into this as well since I have the baby and am going to keep him. I have homes lined up for the mama once she delivers and weans her foal and the new baby if its healthy and survives. Everything I have been reading says to wait longer with donkeys than horses. I don't know this as the gospel but that's what im reading. I highly recomend contacting this lady as she appears to be the leading trainer for longears. http://www.luckythreeranch.com/ She can give you tons of advice and I truly like the amount of stuff she does with her longears. If you have RFDTV she has a show on there. Think it's called training mules and donkeys. I watch it and have picked up a lot.
I plan on starting my guy just like a horse however I am not going to ride him for more than a few minutes once he is two and a half. The other day however (he is 15 months now) I was standing at my corral checking my cattle for heat and felt a head between my legs. I had a leg on the pannel. Next thing I know he is working his way completely under me until I was on his back. He just stood there looking as happy as can be. I was worried that I was putting to much weight on him (I had a foot on the pannel still) so I slid off of him. A few minutes later he did it again. The funniest thing ive ever seen. He is such a character. We named him Donkay. He is the donkey from Shrek for sure. Fits him to a t. Didn't like donkeys until he arrived.
They say that if you tie a donkey/mule to where ever you are working your donkey/mule or horse that a donkey/mule will actually learn just by watching. After the other day I am starting to believe it. We have done no work with this guy because he got a nasty infection in his castration area. He has been watching me work other horses though.
Best of luck with your longear. I am really enjoying mine. Don't know what the heck I am keeping him for! Guess its the entertainment. Maybe i'll use him for ranch work :lol: You never know.