I'm fixin to buy my daughter a mini. I have never owned a mini. Can someone tell me if they can have grain if so what kind and how much? She won't have much pasture, but will be given grass hay. They can eat all the grass hay they want right? Anyone know what I should look for in a mini?
Mini's are little horses so they need to be treated like one; they get trimmed, floated, wormed, vaccinated, all like a full size horses. People have a tendency to forget that they are not dogs but rather livestock and so many get hard to handle or founder.
I've had a few over the years and they are a lot of fun to drive. The trick I found with minis is to find one that is a true miniature not a dwarf. Try to picture the horse as being full size and would he be in the right proportions.
He needs to be worked like any other horse, and in particular, he needs to learn respect. Please - don't buy one with the intention of breeding. We have enough now and unless he is superb quality and you are going to actually show him, get a gelding - or at least a mare. I would avoid a stud altogether.
Like said minis will typically get fat really easy. One flake of grass hay twice a day should be more then enough (depending on the quality). If the little guy is on grass then you need to keep an eye out on his weight. If the horse gets too fat it is really hard on it (just like people). Also like already mentioned keeping up with hoof care, teeth, shots, etc... is very important.
I bought a mini for a daughters for christmas. She has been a dream. She was 9 years old and well trained and had a great non-spook temperment. I have to admit I didn't know much about her when I bought her at an auction but I really lucked out. We feed her twice a day almost a flake in the morning and amost a flake at night. She tends to be on the fat side so I try not to give her a full flake. You can tell if they don't eat it all you can adjust for next time. I do five her a tad bit of grain about a handful. She has been a very easy keeper. I am glad we got her. I really like her size she is bigger then the little minis borderline pony size. My daughter rides her all the time. If you don't know much about them I would buy one that has been broke well to ride and drive. Amish are great to buy from.
What to look for in your mini depends on what you want to do with it. If you want simply a pet or pasture ornament personality would be your main thing to look at, some minis can be stinkers just like big horses. Also make sure it is very healthy, avoid any that have foundered previously. Founder is common with minis that have been fed improperly and you may encounter more maintenence expense after they have foundered. Do not buy a stallion or a colt unless you plan on having it gelded imediately. Mini stallions can be just as dangerous as big horse stallions. If you think you may want to show your mini look for an AMHR or AMHA breeder to buy from. Most show breeders usually have a few less expensive minis around that would be perfectly suitable for your needs. You can find a nice, well trained and broke to drive gelding fairly inexpensively that would be perfect for your daughter.
Many mini owners are not aware of the dental work that minis require. The problem is that their teeth tend to be too big for their mouths. Our minis have all had about $600 in dental work each before they are 4 years old. It is important to shape their teeth properly when they are young to avoid problems as they age. Poor teeth can greatly impact the health and performance of your mini.
A pet mini usually doesn't need grain. Around a flake or so twice a day keeps most at a decent weight. If you want to show your mini you will need a different feeding program. Our minis get around 1 cup of Buckeye Grow N' Win and around 1 cup of Nutrena Safechoice twice a day. They only get about a half of a flake of grass hay at each meal. This feeding program keeps you mini from getting the huge barreled look that many minis get.
I would love a show mini, but that is not what we are looking for nor do we have the finances to buy one. I was told most minis do not offer to kick or buck. Unlike a Pony who can have some attitude with good reason. Now I know anything with 4 legs can kick or buck. The mini will be strickely a pet. My daughter is 1. She has been riding horses since she was able to sit up. Now not by herself mind you. We walk next to her ready for any need to grab her. (We have 20 horses, but this will be our first mini) But durning her learning I would much prefer something alot smaller for her to really learn balance and how to ride over the next 3-4 years. I want her to learn how to pet, brush, and lead the mini. So I am looking for a mini that has been there done that, and hopefully not one that was owned by run a muck kids as I know that can make any animal a little on the mean side. I know this may sound stupid, but we have a rocking horse for her and we are working with her on brushing it and it has stirrups on it and she already knows how to use them to mount and sit on the rocking horse and put both feet in the stirrups. My daughter may be only one, but she's been walking since about 7-8 months old. We will be building a smaller paddoc off one of the pastures for the mini and it will be seperate from the horses and in a pen next to our Husky who is good with all animals so it will have company. It will not have much grass growth, so the mini will be on what we feed it. We grow our own grass hay, no can't say it's the best superb hay, but not one of our horses are thin on it or ever got sick on it. All our horses are turned out 24 x 7, but are called in once a day to be grained, but they don't get much because none are in full work, and it's more for our own way to check them over to make sure no one is sick or injured.
Unless the miniature horse you look at buying has a condition where grain is a must, it is very unlikely you will ever need to feed it to her/him. The things you look for in a miniature horse are the same as those you would look for in a horse. If all you want is a pony for your child, they looking for one a bit older 10+ that is already being used for kids, parades etc is what you would want. I wouldn't worry about papers or a purebred as they can be quite expensive.
The main thing is to find a pony that has been well worked with.