Are you thinking about adopting a miniature horse as a pet? Here’s everything you should know about bringing home one of these intelligent, adorable animals.
What IS A Miniature Horse, Anyway?
A miniature horse is not a pony.
A pony is a small horse with a thick neck, stumpy legs and a thick mane and tail. It’s easily mistaken for a baby horse because of its juvenile, rounded features and plump belly.
A miniature horse is smaller than a pony. It has long, slim legs, the same proportions as a regular-sized horse – just smaller.
Both are simply horses that have been bred to a smaller size for different working and companionship purposes.
Why Do You Need A Mini Horse In Your Life?
A miniature horse is too small to support the weight of most humans. Children under 10 years old (under 70 pounds) can ride a mini horse on a saddle or in a cart. Mini horses also make affectionate companions, happy to be lead around on walks. Their friendly demeanor makes them ideal family pets.
Some miniature horses are used as service animals for the blind. Not every mini horse is suited for this job; they need to be in good health and constantly focused on their duties, even when faced with distractions and potentially frightening situations in public areas. Like all service animals for the disabled, a service mini horse can help their handler in supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, on the streets – anywhere.
Even if you’re not disabled, your mini horse can help you with normal tasks around your home. They can learn to help load the washing machine, hold open doors, open the fridge, and retrieve objects. They can also pull carts and take on small workloads around a farm. Miniature horses can also participate in equine agility trials.
Where Should A Miniature Horse Live?
A miniature horse, full grown, weighs between 150 and 250 pounds, so they are small enough to keep in a house, though they’re typically kept in a barn. Unlike regular horses, which relieve themselves every hour, mini horses can be potty trained and can wait up to 6 hours to go outside to poop and pee.
Even so, miniature horses need to spend plenty of time outside each day. Your horse should have a secure area where they can exercise and graze.
Health, Care And Upkeep of Miniature Horses As Pets
One of the biggest appeals of miniature horses is the fact that they are less expensive to keep than full-size horses. However, that mainly applies to the amount of food they eat and the size of the pen or stable they need. They’re actually quite similar when it comes to the amount of time needed for care, as well as veterinary costs.
Just like any other horse, a mini horse needs regular grooming. They’ll need to be brushed and combed, not only to keep their coat shiny but also to help facilitate bonding.
They should visit or be visited by an equine veterinarian that offers services such as teeth floating, vaccinations and checking for common ailments. All horses should be dewormed regularly; your veterinarian will advise you on when and how much Ivermectin to administer.
You’ll need an emergency fund for unexpected illnesses or injuries. Some pet insurance providers offer policies for miniature horses, which can help you save thousands on surgery or even regular vet visits.
Feeding Your Miniature Horse
Mini horses eat the same foods as regular horses – just, less of it. The majority of their diet should be fresh grass for grazing or access to hay. They’ll need to eat about 1% of their body weight in grass or hay, and their diet may be supplemented with a grain mix for extra carbohydrates and protein. Your horse should always have access to fresh, clean water.
Avoid letting your mini overeat; they are prone to gaining weight quickly, which can lead to stress on the joints, digestive and respiratory issues, and heart failure.
Where To Get A Mini Horse
The first place to look for a miniature horse would be a rescue, though adoptable minis are not very common. You can also check Craigslist. Even though Craigslist has a bad reputation for scammers, it can be a safe place to adopt an animal – just make sure to meet the horse and the seller in person before sending any money, bring a knowledgeable friend and ask plenty of questions.
It’s easier to get a miniature horse directly from a breeder. You’ll know exactly what you’re getting. When you buy a baby miniature from a breeder, you’ll get a fresh start with training and bonding.
Have you ever had a mini horse? Share your experience in the comments!