Mike founded Mike's Donkeys in 2002. He had worked in a quarry for years, teaching people how to drive the heavy machinery, before being diagnosed with cancer. Mike became seriously ill and nearly died. Shortly after he recovered, he saw Bella for sale at a market, fell in love with her and brought her home. When she was old enough, he decided to change his direction in life and start doing donkey rides. Mike then found Josh and Charlie in really poor condition, rehabilitated them and added them to the team. Mike's Donkeys started off on a beach in South Wales, before becoming the UK-wide business it is today. There is not a county in England and Wales that Mike’s Donkeys have not visited and he's covered most of Scotland too! It's hard to tell what he’s most proud of; founding Mike's Donkeys or founding and being the first captain of Mynyddygarreg Rugby Club, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Kelly has been involved with horses her whole life and has previously worked as the Client Services Manager at Horses First Racing, as well as being Head Girl at the Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders and the Manager of Horse-ology, a centre for people with special needs. Kelly’s childhood pony, Sam, loved donkeys and she promised him he could have one when he retired. Sam was 27 when Kelly bought Danny the donkey from Mike. Sadly Sam died nearly a year later, leaving Kelly with a lonely (and noisy) Danny. Kelly got back in touch with Mike and took on two of his donkeys to work at weekends and keep Danny company. As the business grew, Kelly gave up her job and became a partner in Mike's Donkeys in 2014.
Annie is our secretary and holds the business together. She has been involved with the company from the very beginning and is responsible for getting all the necessary information for each job and updating our databases so that we all know what’s going on. She is pretty much unflappable and has to deal with many panicked phone calls from Mike and Kelly daily during peak season! Annie lives with her husband Robbie up a bumpy track on a smallholding in rural Wales from where they started their website design business, Arcania, in 1996 - this site being one of the many they have produced and maintain. They also run the Petal Pot, supplying real flower petal confetti for weddings by mail-order.
Rob ran his own maintenance business until meeting Kelly and Mike and deciding to take on a set of donkeys and join Mike's Donkeys. He has always had a passion for animals and is a keen horse-rider. Rob found land local to him, which serves as a base for our donkeys when we’re travelling the country to keep the donkey’s journey times to a minimum. He started with two donkeys and now co-ordinates up to six from the base. He also helps us to train our inexperienced donkeys before they become members of our working team. Rob is very hard-working and thinks nothing of driving into London at 5am to beat the traffic and ensure he gets to a job early. He has become an essential part of our team and is Mr Reliable.
Jo joined Mike's Donkeys in 2015 and combines working for us with running her own horse-transportation business, Reliable Horse Transport. Jo is always cheerful and up for a challenge. She has her own horses and is also a mum of two, so has plenty to keep her busy. Her favourite donkey is our very naughty Taffy, which says it all really.
Liz bought donkeys from Mike years ago and now allows us to use her base in Peterborough for some of our workers when we’re in the area. Liz covers the Peterborough/Cambridge/Newmarket areas for us. She is a full-time primary school teacher and has her own donkeys, ponies, sheep and dog so her life is very full-on but she has an enormous amount of patience and does a great job when she works for us in the holidays and at weekends.
Amy is an ex-jockey who still works in horse-racing, as well as being a key part of the Mike's Donkeys team. She will get on with any task we give her and is pretty much unflappable. She does have an unhealthy obsession with Josh the donkey.
Rachel manages Kelly's yard when she is away and does a fantastic job keeping the animals happy and well looked-after. She is 100% reliable and trustworthy and is always coming up with new ways to catch the donkeys when they're unwilling to come in from the field! Rachel does some donkey jobs for us, when she is not doing her main job as a chef.
Sheila is the newest member of the Mike's Donkeys team. She joined in 2015 and one of her first jobs was to take a donkey on stage in a theatre, so we did throw her in at the deep end. Sheila has her own beautiful Friesian horses and is a keen driver. Sheila's favourite donkey is Coco and we're hoping she will be doing a lot of work in Wales with him and the gang this year.
Kim is a very talented horsewoman and one of the nicest, most bubbly people you will meet. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her and she happily jumps in the lorry and goes all over the country with a set of donkeys. Her main job is as a marketing manager for Screwfix so unfortunately we only get her on the weekends.
Jenkins does some jobs for us and also is in charge of looking after the donkeys at home when Mike is on the road. He likes to be paid in pies, cigars and whiskey and takes his health very seriously!
Chris does the occasional job for us, alongside his full-time job as a lettings manager. He is very calm and has come on from the first job he did, when he nearly took out an awning with the trailer! He loves animals and enjoys spending time with the donkeys.
Sam has worked with horses professionally and is great with our donkeys. She is based in Surrey and often helps out with jobs when we are over that way. She is originally from South Africa and has a great sense of humour, as well as being professional and reliable.
Caroline George - Vet
Caroline runs her own veterinary practice, Lambourn Equine Vets. She is an excellent equine vet and deals with race horses and other high-level competition horses as well as our donkeys. She was the vet for the Spanish Riding School's tour of the UK in 2014 and regularly looks after high-class horses on international flights. She's a fountain of knowledge and an invaluable part of our team.
Philip Morgan - Vet
Philip has been Mike's vet for years and has done everything from castrations to stitching wounds, teeth to foaling. There isn't a lot Philip hasn't seen and he's always at the end of the phone if we're worried about a donkey.
Rob Jackson - Equine Spinal Release Expert
Rob is a practicing vet, who now specialises in improving the flexibility of equines, by releasing any tension in their spine and limbs. Rob saw every single one of our donkeys in 2015 and treated each one individually. The donkeys were bucking and kicking like two year olds at the end of the day and it was lovely to know they were all in great shape.
Anthony Tory - Dentist
Tory is our dentist and does a great job keeping our donkeys' teeth in good order. He is great with our rescue donkeys, who may never have had their teeth done before and require extensive work. The donkeys are in good hands, as Tory does the teeth of all of racehorse trainer Andrew Balding's thoroughbreds, about 120 in all!
Matt Stanford- Farrier
Matt is an excellent farrier and, like Tory, really comes into his own with any rescue donkeys we take on. He has transformed many donkeys feet and keeps all of our working donkeys sound and balanced.