Best hoof forward for beach beauties

One can imagine the response if super models were asked to show off their large ears, hooves and teeth.But for Pinky, Cracker, Noddy, Tommy, Vinnie, Dinky, Trigger and Ben the chance to display their best assets yesterday in Yarmouth could clinch them a top animal award.

One can imagine the response if super models were asked to show off their large ears, hooves and teeth.

But for Pinky, Cracker, Noddy, Tommy, Vinnie, Dinky, Trigger and Ben the chance to display their best assets yesterday in Yarmouth could clinch them a top animal award.

Instead of a glamorous catwalk the eight donkeys showed off their looks on the resort's sandy beach as they carried delighted children along the seafront.

As they strutted their stuff the equines from Parkers Donkey World were being judged in Britain's best beach donkey competition.

And in a further twist to the usual summer beauty contests all the participants in yesterday's event were male.

Judge Jenifer Tucker from the Sidworth-based Donkey Sanctuary spent an hour closely inspecting all the animals and their welfare.

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The results of careful scrutiny of the Yarmouth donkeys' hooves, teeth, saddles and manes in the best donkey group and best trimmed feet category will be announced on September 1.

One of the best signs of the donkeys' welfare and happiness was to see if their ears pricked forward as they conveyed children around the beach.

The eight donkeys face stiff competition from fellow four legged rivals from Skegness, Weymouth, Blackpool and Scarborough.

And for Vinnie it could be a triple celebration as the handsome creature has also been entered for the best looking individual donkey.

After the donkeys' stringent examination judge Jenifer said: “They all look quite content and well turned out. You can tell they are very happy.”

Parkers Donkey World, which has a total of 14 donkeys, has been operating for the last three seasons and at its peak offers rides to 200 children a day.

Rules mean that only children weighing less than eight stone can enjoy a ride on the donkeys.

Owner Hayley Bulgin said: “Vinnie is such a handsome donkey and all of them are very nice and friendly.

“We take their welfare extremely seriously.

“I think traditional donkey rides are so popular nowadays because children very rarely get up close to animals. One child even thought you had to put money in to a donkey to make it go.”

The annual Donkey Sanctuary competition has been run for the last three years. Last year's three winners were from Llanelli, Skegness and Weymouth.