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A-Jacks El-Gato

by Candace Shauger

A-Jacks El-Gato was born May 15th, 1996. He is a son of A-Jacks Old Hickory IAMJR 000-201 and A-Jacks Kentucky Babe IAMJR 000-071. He is a product of Dr. Aaron’s jackstock program that produced many fine Mammoth donkeys, including the foundation stock of Gail Flach’s herd at Coffee Hollow.

We purchased Gato in the fall of 1998 and he was the cornerstone breeding jack for Genesis Farms. El-Gato is Spanish for “The Cat” and it was a name play for our daughter Katherine’s nickname “Kat”. In 1999 Gato was first in a class of 19 jacks at the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey show.


I broke Gato to ride as a two year old and very quickly realized his athletic abilities would be this jack’s strongest skills. Gato was registered with NASMA on April 15th 2000 as ND0015. We started showing with the Mid States Mule and Donkey association, then graduated to the Houston Livestock show and the NASMA circuit. At the time NASMA had many shows that did not provide separate performance classes for donkeys. Therefore, for example, you could compete donkeys in the Open Western Pleasure class if there was no Donkey Western Pleasure class provided. To my knowledge, no prior NASMA donkey had attempted to take advantage of this “loophole” and Gato was hugely successful. At the 2000 Oldtimer’s Mule and Donkey Celebration in New York, Gato won the Open Western Pattern Pleasure class excelling over the likes of Ryan Cottingim on “A Touch of Class” and Donna Wilburn on “D.K.W. Coal’’.

In 2001 Gato was first in Dressage over mules at the NASMA Congress in Springfield Illinois and went on later that year to take Reserve Champion in the Open Division at New York being the only donkey against many of the top show mules. Gato obtained his first of two High Point NASMA donkey titles in 2001.

At the 2002 NASMA general meeting held at Springfield Illinois, item B. Splitting of classes under General Show Rules was passed as a rule change. This provision states “At no time may mules and donkeys compete in the same approved NASMA event”. In 2004 the exception was passed that states “except in 10 and under classes.” In as much as these changes curtailed Gato’s sparring with mules in the show ring, the long term benefits have been a proliferation of donkey specific classes and divisions.

Gato was retired from the show ring in 2003 and gelded in 2005.  He came out of retirement in 2006 and obtained his second end of year NASMA High Point Donkey title. Outside of NASMA, Gato competed in local area open horse shows winning Championships and Reserve Championships against our horse cousins.

In 2010 and 2011 I had the extreme pleasure of watching my daughter Kat show Gato in the NASMA Open and Youth divisions.

During 2010 and 2011 I was showing Gato’s son Gato El Rey. The ultimate mother, daughter and father, son team.
As a sire Gato has produced these fine NASMA standouts:

Gato Geta Blue

Gato Commando

Gato El Rey

Gato El Rey


In Conclusion:

Gato’s legacy is felt at every NASMA show held to this day. His ability to compete and succeed against the mules gave the association that push to provide equal access to classes for donkeys that mules had always enjoyed. Since 2002 many more donkey classes have been approved by the rules committee and in 2004 the Training Level Donkey Division was born. Gato was a multi champion of this organization and a catalyst for positive and meaningful change.


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