There are other parts to the story to keep you interested and made me more curious about other topics that I might like to read more about. The author talks about their neighbor who is a young man who struggles with mental health ailments who is greatly improved by running with the donkeys, his Amish neighbors and their lives, the lives of other burro racers who have found their life's calling in the sport, a group of very tough women who have beat men in the race several times and many other characters that sometimes put the donkey, Sherman, on the back burner.
I really loved how the author and the other players in the game really respected the donkeys they worked with and realized that in order to make the sport work, they had to learn to work WITH and not against these noble creatures. So many people see donkeys as stubborn or cranky but really they are incredibly intelligent and deserving of respect and dignity! (Please excuse my religious antidote but I can't help but notice that twice in the bible a donkey was the mode of transportation chosen in 2 of the most important times in biblical history... when Mary rode to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus and when Jesus rode a donkey down the streets of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. They have literally been chosen by God, Just sayin'!) The runners realized that this was as much a joy as a challenge to get to work with these animals doing something that they probably wouldn't choose to do on their own.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the pictures of the donkeys in the book because they looked so HEALTHY! I trim a fair number of donkeys and I can't tell you how many are unhealthy not because of being fed too much but moving too little. It's a really hard balance to strike when the only option for "exercising" your donkey is to give them more turnout space which in most areas means more grass to eat... which is really not helpful. These donkeys were running 4 times a week with their partners most days 10-14 miles! If I could get my donkey owning clients to WALK a few miles with their donkeys, I believe we'd see a marked improvement not just in their hoof-health but overall well-being (not to mention that most of us would highly benefit for more movement ourselves!)
If you own a donkey (or a horse or pony for that matter) and one of your goals this year is to spend more time with them and get in shape yourself, I highly recommend reading this book and taking some time out of the saddle to get moving along with them! It has motivated me to hopefully make this something I can do with my horses that I hope to own someday. There are so many benefits besides just getting in better shape - building a deeper bond with your animal, enjoying more time in the fresh air and who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to load up and head to Colorado to see the World Championship Burro race yourself!