Got a miniature; how do you exercise this little booger? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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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.
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post #2 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 05:08 PM
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i am giggling a lot on the inside --- a small chubby horse taking jumps --- just need a little monkey with chaps and a red cowboy hat

hope someone responds to your question
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post #3 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 05:19 PM
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I guess if it was me, I'd probably take her for long walks (maybe even jogs if you're up to it) much as one would take confined dogs for walks so that they can get their exercise; I'd also try for some games like the cavaletti you've used; going through and over other obstacles, etc. I'm not particularly fond of lunging big horses for any more than is absolutely necessary as I think lunging is hard on the joints and for the same reason I would avoid lunging the little one. Also, I am not particularly knowledgeable about minis but I thought you had to be very careful about riding them as even the smallest of children can be hard on their backs - I hope forum mini owners will confirm or deny this.

P.S. A photo of the little darling, if you haven't posted one already, wouldn't be amiss here!!!
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post #4 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 06:09 PM
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Yes, even though she is a taller (class B) miniature horse, I would not be using her for pony rides personally. It is very hard on their backs since they were bred to pull, not carry.

I lunge my mare for exercise twice a week or so for about 20 minutes, almost entirely at a walk and trot, in a LARGE (30' radius) circle, but I wouldn't advise in doing too much of that for reasons already stated. And even then you should start with smaller amounts, mostly walking, then little bits of trotting and work your way up. I've also found that one good way is, if you have a quiet riding horse, you can pony the miniature off of it when you go out on trails and such. I frequently pony my 5 year old mare out with our TWH mare and go a mile or two and head back.

A cart is always tons of fun and GREAT exercise for miniature horses as well, but it can be a costly investment (carts, even simple ones, run $200 even used, and harnesses are $150+) and if you've a cart beginner yourself, you'd need to hire a trainer to teach you and her how to do things correctly. However, once you do have the necessary equipment and training it is super fun and children absolutely love it. It is also much easier on the mini's body than even riding at a walk. My mini mare can pull a load of about 250 lbs (me and one adult passenger) quite easily at a trot for quite some time without being exerted, and she is only 34" tall and light boned. It took a while to work her up to that, but she's great! It keeps her at the perfect body condition and really helps her sanity as well. She's not the sort that enjoys bumming around the pasture, crazily enough.

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post #5 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 06:14 PM
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Use her for cow horse practice.....she can be the cow! Just kidding, but I have seen someone use a couple of naughty little minis to practice for cows. Don't worry it was just play for a few minutes! The minis put on a good show and were quicker than cows ever could be!
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post #6 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 06:20 PM
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^ Oh goodness, that gives me awful memories. A place I used to volunteer for used to routinely use their herd of miniature horses as 'calves', and didn't score them...they actually roped, drug, and sometimes tossed them down to practice tying. I was just waiting for one of those animal's legs to snap.

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post #7 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 06:27 PM
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Oh dear, that's terrible! .....no, no wrangling involved, just a bit of herding at speed! The minis seemed to like out running the horses!!
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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My golly! I did not thinking about taking her out on walks; I have the kind of neighborhood you can ride horses on the shoulders of roads and whatnot, we do have a trail a fair distance up a dead-end road. I can imagine taking her and my dog out together... that would be wonderful. And cute. Very cute, let's not forget my dog is a small fluffy poodle mix and this mare is a fluffy-maned critter. The pictures are of her before I shaved her, so all I have is her as a Yeti! I'll need to fenangle my phone to upload some recent pictures of her clean and clipped :)
My mare is quiet, but I know nothing about ponying. Now is it so crazy-- I've heard of people in golf carts leading full-sized horses to exercise them-- to train the mini to trot alongside a bicycle? We have a nice, steady-sloping hill with a quiet road on it that I could take her up and down. Personally I'm not all that fit myself to take it at a jog!

I do like the idea of carts... I have a next-door-neighbor who trained at least two horses to pull carts. Right now she has a trotter she recently trained to pull again, I think she could show me how to do it. When she was re-introducing her Morgan to it, I could see her long-lining him up and down the driveway, it looked neat!

I need to trim her feet, I would like to give y'all a clip of her trotting her adorable prancing trot when her toe is leveled, poor babe's due for a trim.

Also, any worries about horses and minis together? My mare needs a friend, and the two seem to be growing close, as I have their stalls side-by-side and they both raise a fuss when the other leaves. My mare neighs (haha, whoopdee doo!) and the mini will rear up by the stall door repeatedly and whinny that ridiculous little bugling noise. The mini has made a swipe at my mare's nose a few times when my mare sticks her head over the stall door to see her, otherwise I find their noses glued together and the mini doing cute antics like running over to where her hay is, and running back to my mare at the door with a mouth full of hay. I don't think my 15.2hh mare would trample her... I suppose I've had them together with a fence or wall between them constantly for about 4 days now, is it safe to let them out together on the 5th day? Also, can they be stalled together with access to a paddock? The stall is 12x14 ft.
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post #9 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 07:56 PM
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I take my mini for "walks" - my definition of walk is my lazy backside on a small 4 wheeled motorbike with Gemma going alongside.

We will do up to 6km (4 miles??) total each time we go out, she's a very fit wee thing so could probably do more now but I choose not to since she prefers to canter/gallop alongside the bike rather than to walk or trot!!

She also jumps so that is fine.. She has free-jumped almost 3' and she is only 37" high - no I didn't force her to jump that height, the jump was set up next to her one for my bigger mare and she jumped that one rather than her jump.

R.I.P ~ Bubbles - 25yo tb mare - 13.04.2011 ~ 8:30am ~ passed away naturally and peacefully in my arms
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post #10 of 32 Old 09-06-2013, 09:34 PM
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I'd jump on the golf cart and trot her along. You could also pony him off another horse/pony, so long as they get along well.
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