, like the Greek mainland and the other islands, has had a long
tradition of village people sharing their lives with, and being almost
dependant on, their animals.
Every family had a few
chickens, for eggs and meat, a couple of goats or some sheep, for milk
and to breed from. The wealthier families always had horses, for
transport and for working, in the olive presses and on the land, and to
grind grain for flour. However, the poorer families always relied on a
donkey to help with their heavy work.
These “beasts of
burden” have been part of country life for centuries. Greek families
have always used them to help carry in the olive harvest, to help clear
land, even to use for riding to the village store for supplies and to
carry them, and their owners, back home afterwards. Tough and careful,
these strong little animals were often the only way to get up and down
the mountain, along narrow paths that were often little more than a
sheep track. With a traditional wooden saddle – called a “samara” on
their backs, they were once a very familiar sight in Corfu.
Sadly, as with many things, technology changes old ways, and the donkeys
have become something no longer needed. The older generations have
passed away, and the younger ones have no need for a donkey and usually,
no knowledge as this has not been shared with them.
Often when this
happens, the donkeys are no longer cared for in the best way for them,
and sometimes they need a little help.
This is something we
have tried to do.
We don’t pretend to be
in the business of rescuing donkeys, but we would never ignore one who
needed our care, and this is why we have them.
If you would like to
see our donkeys, we would be happy to let you visit with them when you
come to our riding centre, and if you bring some carrots or bread with
you, they will also be extremely happy to see you!