Raising Miniature Horses
When people think of horses, they don’t usually think of miniature horses. However, the demand for them is certainly increasing. One reason for the demand is they are soothing to have around children or individuals with handicaps, and they are easier to handle than grown horses for many people. Most people raise miniature horses for show.
While a miniature horse can be ridden if the person riding is less than 70 pounds, it’s not recommended. There are risk increases due to the size of the animal and possibly rider experience.
Interesting Facts about Miniature Horses
- They are a curious and intelligent breed
- They are not dwarves or runts, but rather well-proportioned miniature horses
- They are tough horses with endurance
- Since they are low to the ground, they are affected by airflow more than larger horses
- Feed cost around $25 per month versus $150 per month for a horse
- You can feed three minis per acre of pasture with supplemental hay and feed
Obesity in Miniature Horses
Many times it’s hard to limit the food your mini eats. You may not know if they are grazing enough, so it’s easy to feed them too many supplemental grains, etc. Your vet can help you with the correct feeding recommendations, and this will be based on your horse’s lifestyle.
Obesity can cause problems for the horse and for owners who want to breed and show their animals. When a miniature horse is overfed, it gets their metabolism off and makes them susceptible to laminitis. Laminitis brings with it poor performance and decreased reproductive efficiency.
Difficult births in the miniature breed are 15 – 20% higher than a full-sized horse so keeping them at a proper weight is especially important if you are wanting your horse to reproduce.
Care of Miniature Horses
All horses need care, but miniature horses may need a little more. A mini horse should be fed twice a day with grains and hay beside their grazing. Their intestinal tract is small, and by eating twice a day, it keeps food continually going through their body. Just don’t overfeed during these two times a day or they may have digestive problems.
- Housing Your Mini – They need at least a three-walled shelter in the pasture, and if kept in a stall the airflow is important as they are closer to the ground, which was mentioned earlier.
- Grooming – Young minis need to get used to a curry comb and hoof pick right away and having them seen by a farrier is also important. They will not only get used to the treatments, but you can set them on a regular schedule from a young age.
- Teeth – The teeth care of miniature horses should also be kept on a strict schedule. You want them to get used to having their teeth floated. (This involves a veterinarian wearing down the surface of the teeth, usually to remove sharp points or to balance out the mouth.) The easier it is for them to eat, the fewer stomach issues they will have.
- Nutritional Needs – As mentioned earlier they need to eat twice a day. But like any larger horse, it’s important to give them herbs and organic supplements as well. Keeping your horse healthy is much easier in the prevention stage than after the fact.
In conclusion, miniature horses aren’t much different in care and breeding than large horses. They are adorable to have around and very affectionate. Some ranchers even have them as pets.
Be sure you give your miniature horses the best care and supplements for a healthy and happy life!