The Drabardi Donkey
Naturally adapted to marginal lands, the Drabardi donkeys natural habitats consist of desert plains, semi-deserts, oases, arid grasslands, savannahs, shrublands, steppes, mountainous steppes and mountain ranges. Their diet consists of grasses, bark, and leaves depending on where they live. Despite being primarily adapted for living in an arid climate, they are dependent on water, and when not receiving the needed moisture from vegetation, they must drink at least once every three days. However, they can survive on a surprisingly small amount of liquid, and there have been reports about donkeys drinking salty or brackish water. The loud call or bray of the donkey may help the Drabardi to keep in contact with other of it's kind over the wide spaces. Their large ears are well suited to pick up more distant sounds, and will also help to cool the donkey on hot days. Healthy adult Drabardis have few natural predators aside from the Drabardi ulv (wolf) and Ratnavati catamounts (similar to the mountain lion), and to a lesser extent the Drabardi bear (a small bear but still a fierce predator, that live in the north and northeast). The Ratnavati catamounts is well known for predation on donkeys, and the larger members of the species are well known - and are skilled donkey killers. They are very effective predators that kill by either leaping onto an animal or chasing it down in a sprint, then grabbing the prey with their front claws and biting the neck, either at the windpipe or the spine. They are often also targeting tame farmstock and are often hunted by humans. One of the Drabardis defence systems in a herd is to form a circle, and with heads down, kick out violently. As a result, the predator usually attack single animals that have strayed from the group. In case of an attack the single Drabardi donkey can also defend itselves by biting, striking out with their front hooves or kicking with the hind legs.
Like the normal donkey the Drabardi donkey have much longer ears than a horse. The necks are straighter and they don't have a true wither. The Drabardi donkey croup and rump are also a different shape, lacking the double-curve muscled side. It has a straighter back due to the lack of withers. Swayed backs are a conformation error, except in old Drabardi donkeys or brood jenny's who had many foals, and not due to genetic causes. The Drabardi donkey's mane and tail are coarse. Its mane is stiff and upright, seldom lying over. The tail is more like a cow's, covered with short body hair for most of the length, ending in a tasseled switch. They don't have a true forelock, even though now and then the mane grows long enough to comb down between the ears. Because the mane is stiff and sometimes spread out, many donkeys, especially the ones used as pure show stock in halter, wear their manes clipped short or even shaved close to the neck. The Drabardi donkeys hoof shape differs as well, they are smaller and rounder, with more upright pasterns. The legs must have good bone, but many may appear to have long thin legs with tiny feet. Like many donkeys the Drabardi donkey has verbal traits. The Drabardi donkey's voice is a croaky, loud bray. Jacks in particular seem to enjoy braying.
The height at the withers of the Drabardi donkey depends on the type, but ranges from 80-160 cm. In all types the jacks are always higher than the jennys, the max for a jenny is about 5 cm from the 'top mark' in height for the type. You can breed over the size types, but only Pesha/Kalpana, Kalpana/Baro or Baro/Barri. You may note the cross with in brackets but it can only be one size name 'written out' depending on the height. See more under TYPES below.
There are four different types of Drabardi Donkey. The biggest differance between the wild and the tame HARPG Drabardi is that the tame most often have a stronger hue in some strains due to selective breeding to bring that back. They might also be towards the taller range in terms of height. The wilds ones are often more subtle in color even if strong hued ones can occur there as well.
A Drabardi can become up to fifty years old, but if you take good care of it the donkey will live longer. It matures around two years old, but the jennets shouldn't be bred for the first time until they are four years old. It is also advised to not use the jack for breeding until he reaches his fourth year as well.
The Drabardi donkeys no matter the type are very friendly and their kind nature makes them well suited for everyone. But don't forget - you can never force a Drabardi to do anything it don't want to do. Some donkeys might need more coaxing.
With the interbreeding with normal donkeys the breeds old characteristic more vibrant hues have become more and more muted over time even if occasion more bold colored Drabardis pop up every now and then. It all depends what you like to aim for when you breed them. All donkeys have a fourleaf clover marking somewhere on their body.
Today the Drabardi can be used in any equine sport there is, even if it lack in some aspects due to build and exterior. There is truly a Drabardi for everyone, from just a cute companion and friend to a child or a horse to a big and sturdy hard working buddy on the farm to a fine ass that can dance in the dressage arena just as well as MJ - well almost. They do all gaits, just like horses or mules do (yes, some of the Drabardi are even naturally "gaited").