Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Donkey Tonkey at the Muster

Campers woke during the night at the recent Barmah Muster last month to the sound of four-year-old Mooroopna boy Jedd Loffel’s mount.

RHIANNON GAVALAKIS May 6, 2014 3:06am

Jedd Loffel, 4 of Mooroopna on his donkey Tonkey

Campers woke during the night at the recent Barmah Muster to the sound of four-year-old Jedd Loffel’s mount.

If his ride was a horse, they probably would not have batted an eyelid. But Jedd’s trusted steed is a donkey named Tonkey.

Jedd’s mother Ebony Loffel said she went for a ride in the morning, and a couple of people said Tonkey had woken them when he brayed in the night.

‘‘He did scare a few horses at the muster as well,’’ Ms Loffel said.

Among the many horses, his unique features set him apart.

‘‘Everyone commented on Tonkey’s big ears and they wanted to pat him — he was the only donkey there that I know of,’’ Ms Loffel said.

In his checked shirt, light-up western boots and cowboy hat, it is easy to see how Jedd attracted attention as well.

The adorable pair shared a special bond.

When Jedd walks, Tonkey follows in his footsteps, and stops when his tiny master does.

‘‘He is a pretty special donkey, you don’t get many that have a personality like him,’’ Ms Loffel said.

Mooroopna’s Loffel family transports donkeys and camels from the Northern Territory to sell at the Echuca Saleyards.

‘‘The donkeys are used for guarding smaller livestock — they scare away the (predators),’’ Ms Loffel said.

Tonkey was an orphan colt, and was hand-reared.

‘‘When we first got him, Jedd would run out and say: ‘The tonkey’s here,’ instead of donkey, and that is how he got his name,’’ Ms Loffel said.

Jedd has a natural sense of horsemanship, and said he planned on becoming a cowboy — breaking-in horses and training donkeys.

Becoming a policeman and a motorbike rider were also among his ambitions.

But for now, he was content growing up on the farm.

‘‘I like to help feed the animals, and to pick grass for Tonkey,’’ he said.

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