Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
I wouldn't get a mini that isn't even gelded yet, if it's going to be used for children. It's testosterone levels will be very unbalanced for a while, even after the gelding. IMO a 5-9 year old, gelded, vice free mini would be the best route.
Personally, I'm against miniature horses for riding. Our barn has two or three who are used as lead-line ponies for our autistic children. It's caused quite a few back problems for one of them. I know that this isn't always true with minis, but it has happened. I'm not going to go snap someone's head off because they use minis, but for the most part- I really do think that a small pony will do just as well, with less problems down the road.
We have four shetlands that we use for the autistic children, and they're quite hardy little creatures. What I like about them is that they're small and child-friendly (not at all intimidating with those fuzzy manes and big eyes!) but at the same time, compact and sturdy enough for me to hop on and tune up. (These are traditional shetlands that I'm talking about) Ours are 10-11 hh, fine for 85 pound me to school for short periods at a time- unlike their miniature friends. I would feel aweful sitting on one of our 34" minis, much less trying to teach them something!
If you're set on getting a miniature for them to ride though, try to atleast find one with good bone and a strong frame- not like the refined show miniatures. Make sure that it is atleast 5 years old to ensure that all of it's growing and filling out is done (putting a kid on a greenbroke 2-3 year old mini is disasterous for both the kid and the horse) and had a good, bombproof temperment. I'd recommend one of the taller minis, perhaps 34-36", or even a bit taller if you don't mind that it's not registerable.
As for driving...I can't say enough about it. It's actually quite fun! A year or two ago I scoffed the idea...I mean really. Driving a horse around in circles or around the farm? No fun. But my mini and I have actually really enjoyed it. It's great exercise and as long as it's done right- and it's fairly safe. A mini can pull along a lightweight buggy with two or three light people at a time. Quite the adventure.
Just remember. Minis take just as much...possibly even more- work as any full-sized horse, and dispite their size- they're still VERY capable of hurting people. I have scars to prove it ;)
Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.