Mini Horse Broke to Ride but How to Get Him Back Into That? How Much Can he Carry?
My miniature horse, Spirit is broke to ride. He is a little taller than your average mini 36" tall and I think a little heavier too. Therefore, he should be able to carry a little bit more weight. He hasn't been ridden in a long time (I mean probably at least 4 years) and I would really like to get him back into riding shape and be able to trust him to carry young kids (being lead, of course). I am a small person (110 lbs. roughly) but still not small enough to ride him obviously. So my question is: Is there anyway to get him into riding condition from the ground. Obviously, I'm not just going to put a little kid on him and expect him to behave. I don't know how to go about bringing him back into being ridden. Also, how much weight, with him being a little bigger than your average mini, do you think he could carry? Thank you!
I wouldn't recommend having him carry more than 60 pounds.
As for refreshing, put saddles and tarps all over him. Get him accustom to flappy things (i've noticed young kids tend to do alot of that in the saddle lol) Even strap tires to the saddle for weight.
Test him to see if he is spooky about anything (ropes around his butt or feet, dogs, quads & vehicles, bags, etc...)
Longe him or even hook some driving reins up to him to get him used to stearing again.
What is the history of your horse? Have all weights of children ridden him? If so, he could likely be fed up with kids on his back. On the other hand, he might be ok.
I'm not a fan of anyone riding Minis, however. If a child needs to learn to ride, then he should learn on a small, well-broken pony. Children who get Minis, soon outgrow them and often ride them when way too heavy for them. Minis cannot be trained properly by adults who know what they are doing, since they are too small for most adults to ride. Therefore, it is often children who have supposedly 'trained' them to ride.
Even with a small child, add a heavy saddle and you mostly have too much weight.
My grandchildren have Minis, but they do not ride them. They do drive them though.
I'm also not a fan of riding miniature horses. We have a few mini x shetland crosses (the smallest being 37" and very sturdy) that are ridden, but you definitely should never ask him to carry more than 60 lbs including the saddle even when in riding condition.
To saddle train our shetlands that were too small for me (85-90 lbs and 4'11) to ride, I first taught them to lunge completely off of voice command. When I say woah, I expect them to plant their feet and not budge, when I ask them to slow down- they do it immediately. I then teach them to ground drive first with a halter then with a bridle, teaching them to steer effectively. I desensatise them to thumping around, screaming, kicking, etc- and generally never do teach them to listen to leg aids simply because kids are squirmy, and I'd rather it respond to just the voice commands, seeing that it is going to be carrying such small kids. After they lunge and ground drive well, I add the saddle. Once they're comfortable with all of that, I usually put one of our 25 lb chicken feed sacks on their back and walk them all over, lunge them, ground drive them- etc. Only after that will I even think about putting a child on them, and only under leadline.
We have a not so mini horse mini/POA cross named Polar Bear. He's 10 hands (40 inches) and 350 lbs, so bigger than just a regular mini. But I'm 120 lbs and too big to ride him. So when my son is home (he's 62 lbs), I have him ride him bareback. He is a good rider and it helps keep Polar Bear fit for riding. But soon that won't be an option because my son will grow! Otherwise, I would suggest as Endiku did that feed bags are great. Another person I know uses feed sacks on his minis to teach them to ride. Our mini is for our small nieces and nephews, and it helps to have my son go out once or twice to keep him in condition on a weekly basis just to keep his manners up. But my son doesn't like riding him and prefers our big gelding ... he thinks Polar Bear looks ridiculous because he's tiny :?.
If you want to get him in shape, pony him while riding another horse
IMO yall would enjoy driving a mini more than riding. They can pull alot more rolling weight than people realize.
^ This is very true! I have a 34" 225 lb (give or take a little) miniature horse mare who is still green broke and conditioning, but she can easily pull me (85-90 lbs) and my trainer (maybe about 120 lbs) without a problem.
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