The portrait at the top shows a young Lizzie Fletcher sitting on what appears to be a real donkey in a photographer’s studio in Rhyl. Lizzie was born in 1881 and was a Shropshire girl. When she retired she came to live in Rhyl, at Llys Cynon in Bath Street. I'm obliged to Sue of Shropshire for sending the picture.
The donkeys postcard with an elaborate border is from a series in circulation during WW1. This is from June Turner – thanks June.
Finally, from my own collection, a multiview card with a row of donkeys as the centrepiece. The card is postmarked 1953.
Donkey rides in Rhyl date back to Victorian times. It was an idea copied from seaside places where donkeys were already in use for other reasons such as in the cockle industry.
A hired donkey on the sands would have a name on its bridle be expected to carry a child (or some cases a woman) at walking pace along the sands. The activity became less fashionable and less popular over the decades.
In 2008, new rules tried to ensure that donkeys in British resorts would receive adequate care and rest, and a maximum allowable load was introduced. A would-be rider weighing over 8 stones can be ruled out.