When purchasing...young vs. old?
Does the same rule apply? I've been a horse owner off and on for a while now but we're moving back to Oklahoma to a wonderful property with 8 acres and I really want to get into minis exclusively. I've never broke a horse before and have always looked for the older, trustworthy ones. Is it any different with minis? If anyone could share their experiences that would be great. Thanks!
Its a bit different since you wouldnt be 'breaking' a mini to ride but you would still need to be able to teach them all of the groundwork that they require to be well behaved. Are they just going to be pets or are you planning on using them for showing/driving? I would probably go for something older to start with that has at least been well handled and is used to grooming, leading etc. I brought my first mini this year and I do not have any experience in training a young horse - she is 6 and still pretty green and it has been a big learning curve for me!
Also, minis tend to live a bit longer than horses, so you can easily buy a 'senior' of 19 or 20 and still expect a good five to ten years of loving from them, maybe more.
No different from regular sized horses IMO. I would never consider an unbroke 2 year old for a new rider and I've several young minis "trained" by new owners that are disasters. If you are looking for a mini to drive and have not had much experience with it I would highly suggest an older horse with a lot of miles and experience. An older horse will be a bit more forgiving of newbie mistakes and that makes for a much more pleasant time. If you are looking to show in halter or some of the in hand classes you'd probably be alright with a younger horse if you like to do a lot of training yourself. Should you be looking to breed minis, once again, an older mare that has had a few foals would probably be a better investment than an unproven maiden mare. Miniature are awesome though. I went from full sized horses to miniatures quite a few years ago and absolutely love them.
With mini's it's a lot of ground work. If you are comfortable with ground work then by all means get a young one and teach them what you want them to know. I find that a lot of people neglect the early training of minis because of their small size. They don't seem to think of them as a real horse. So you see a lot of untrained older minis. I think it's a safer bet to get a yearling and work from the ground up. Unless you want to do driving or showing then maybe get an older horse that has been shown by someone else already. Then you know the foundation training is there already.
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