Got a miniature; how do you exercise this little booger?
I'm not new to horses, I've ridden full-sized horses for six years now and taken care of my own mare for three years, but I am new to minis! I bought a miniature horse, about 8hh I suppose, waist height to me being 5'4". She's an adorable, sweet, spunky 16yo, used for party pony rides. I bought for the same reason, primarily to use her for parties and small child pony rides, also to help teach my non-horse-person family how to take care of a horse/pony, as they want to buy a 13-14hh pony for my youngest sibling who is too big to ride the miniature.
So how do I exercise this critter? She's got a pad of fat on her neck and is plainly not all that fit; she was trotted in hand often enough, so she has that capability. I tried lunging the mini, and found that she doesn't entirely know what she is doing but I could get her to trot a circle around me on the end of the line and alternate trot-walk with some effort. I could only get a short bit of canter, she gets very frazzled about it. I free-lunged her in a paddock with my horse's cavaletti up and she decided to jump, so I suppose I can put her over some little jumps as well. Otherwise, being in an open space is strange for her and she knows nothing about joining up or any voice commands. She does lead in hand quite well and moves laterally when cued easily.
Is that it? I just lunge her and put her over little jumps? How often should I do that, and is it enough to keep her fit-- do I need to get a cart or a small rider for her? I don't plan on showing her, just making sure she is healthy and has no trouble keeping up with the pony rides I'll have her doing.