Burro Race Etiquette and Helpful Hints

If you're new to burro racing, you're at the right spot! If you're a seasoned veteran, these might not be any surprise to you but sometimes a refresher is a good thing. Below you'll find burro race etiquette and helpful hints to help you and your BBF (best burro friend) have a marvelous burro race experience!

General Tips and Tricks:

  • These events are fun and we want everyone to have fun but remember: safety always comes first. Burro runners are a very friendly crowd, so if you need help please don’t hesitate to ask for help at any point.

  • If you see a burro with a red ribbon on its tail or a red line on its tail BEWARE! That burro kicks. Give the burro extra space at all times. 

  • Gloves are recommended on the course, especially if it’s your first race.

  • NEVER wrap a lead rope around your hands, your head or neck, or tie an animal to your body. Race volunteers have expressed a general distaste for seeking misplaced appendages left on the trail. 

  • Costumes are best left in the costume class. Many BRAY races will have additional fun and games before the main event, if you choose to adorn your burro in their finest marabou boa or tutu please do so in the costume class. Feathers litter the trail and tutus or other costumes can become bothersome for your burro and can lead to kicking, biting, and other sour behavior. Instead express your team spirit with color coordinated or themed halters, saddle pads, panniers, twinkle toes, or livestock chalk.

  • If you are using hoof boots make sure your donkey has trained in them prior to the race, just as you would your own running shoes. Choose boots which fit well and are made for the terrain you will be running. While Build-A-Bear shoes may be fun for a photo shoot, they will rapidly become a hindrance to your donkey on the trail.

  • Hydration packs with room for basic first aid supplies such as band aids, salt tabs, vet wrap, gauze, a hoof pick, and cholla plucker are encouraged. You are responsible for not only your own health and comfort on the trail, but also that of your burro

  • There’s a good chance you will be on the trail for longer than you expected. This is the nature of burro racing. Be sure you have nutritious snacks, and possibly some to share with your burro. If you are renting or borrowing a burro be sure to ask the burro’s owner what snacks they are allowed, and in what quantity.

 

Race Starts:

The start of the race can be hectic and, if you’re not prepared, dangerous. Here are some tips to make sure you, your burro, and your fellow teams stay safe and make it onto the course in an orderly fashion.

 

Before the Race:

  • Arrive on time. If you are providing your own animal be sure to have plenty of time to find parking, tack your burro, and walk to the start. If you are borrowing/renting a burro be sure to ask the burro’s owner when and where you should meet up with your burro. Some burro owners have upwards of 20 burros to prepare for a race and don’t have time to hunt down humans. 

  • Mandatory meetings are mandatory meetings. If the race has a meeting beforehand, or if your burro owner has a meeting beforehand, make sure you attend. At BRAY events bibs will be handed out at the conclusion of the pre-race meetings. If you aren’t present you don’t get a bib. If you don’t get a bib you don’t run.

  • Check your tack and equipment before the start. 

    • Make sure your timing chip is properly attached and not interfering with any sensitive part of your burro’s face like their eyes, and ensure any twist ties, zip ties, or pins are not poking or otherwise bothering them. 

    • Make sure your halter is appropriately snug, and all straps and tails are in their keepers. 

    • Check your pack to make sure it’s in the correct place, and your cinch is snug, but not too tight. A good rule of thumb is you should be able to fit three fingers, laid flat against the burro’s side, snuggly between the cinch and the animal. Burros are notorious for puffing up when you tack them, letting out their breath when tacking is complete in order to keep the cinch loose. 

    • If you have questions about your tack ask one of the more seasoned racers or, if applicable, your burro’s owner.


 

Start Corrals:

BRAY runs will have four corrals at the start. They are as follows, please be realistic about your speeds and abilities when choosing your corral:

  • Elite Runners: this corral is toes-on-the-start-line. These runners will be fast off the block and may have some sassy asses as they jockey for the front of the pack heading onto the trail. If you haven’t recently placed in the top 5 of a 6+ mile burro run this is not the corral for you. There will be some space between this corral and the next, if you are in the “runner” corral please do not cross the line and crowd this corral. 

  • Runners: these teams are expecting to run the entire distance of the race. You should be able to at least do a trail run at the distance you are signed up for without stopping to walk if you’re in the runner’s corral. 

  • Run/Walk: this is the ideal corral for first timers who are expecting to run the course. Most teams in this corral will run at the start and slow to a run/walk within the first 3 miles

  • Hikers: walkers and hikers on the course to enjoy the outdoors and spend quality time with your donkey should go here. Perfect for short course walkers, groups of friends, young or old burros, and first timers. 

 

And They’re Off! 

  • Don’t crowd other teams. Burros can become very excited at the start of a race and may bolt or kick; allow for one burro length behind the burro in front of you, and 3-4 feet from the burros beside you

  • Hold onto the left side of the burro’s halter if you’re concerned about controlling your burro. If they get too strong, turn them in a tight circle towards your body/to the left.

  • If your burro is pulling you or you are losing your footing STOP.  


 

On the Dusty Trail:

  • Allow faster runners to pass you. Move off the trail or to the side if you are able

  • Do not block the trail or impede other teams. We understand sometimes your burro unexpectedly puts on the brakes, or you need to put on the brakes for the sake of controlling your burro, but if you are choosing to stop to adjust gear, check hooves, take photos, strip layers, etc, please move aside so others can pass.

  • If your gear needs adjusting, move off the trail, stop, and adjust it. Things can shift and move throughout the duration of a race and may need revisiting. 

  • Always ask before urging another runner’s burro

  • If your burro is moving forward at an acceptable pace it is not necessary to continue to urge them on using voice cues, it becomes problematic for those around you who use the same voice cues for their burro.

 

Trail’s End:

  • It is thrilling to finally see that finish line in sight! Accidents can still happen at the end to make sure you’re looking out for your burro and checking in on them.

  • If you’ve finished the race at a speedy pace you should walk your burro until their respiration rate slows to approximately 50 breaths per minute. No need to make a scientific study of it, but if they look like they are huffing and puffing, keep walking. 

  • If your burro has a pack it is kind to loosen the cinch/girth one or two holes upon completion of the race

  • Make sure you bring your burro to the watering station to offer a drink.

  • If you borrowed a burro return the burro to the pre-discussed area. Most races will have a post-race pen, but it is your job to get the burro back to its owner (or tend to it until the owner is done with the race).