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Claudettebillie 02-09-2011 04:19 PM

Lots of Questions and Brand Suggestions?
I have always been interested in horses (miniatures specifically), but never got one. My grandfather came up to me about a month ago and said that he wanted a pair of miniature horses. Being the animal guru of the family, he asked if I was willing to help him take care of the minis and I agreed.

I have been researching and told him he can't get the horses until I feel that I'm ready, but there are some things I'm confused about. There's a breeder in the area that will have babies ready in the spring, and he heard that it's better to get them young, but I'm scared- will it be difficult for me to teach them to walk and follow me, etc? Do they wear bridles- if so where the heck do I find mini bridles? :lol: What is the minimum amount of area do they need to play? Area is NOT an issue, we have 80 acres, but I just want to make sure the fenced area is enough for them.

Finally, I'm really having a hard time on brands. I know they need to be wormed, but what wormers do you suggest? And I keep finding conflicting information about feeding them? Where can I find mini-specific items, like bridles, feeders low enough to the ground, etc? I've found sites but the sizes have absolutely no meaning to me.

Thank you for tolerating my questions- I know a few horse owners and am planning to ask them where they get their stuff and one man offered to trim their hooves for a bit and show me how, but I thought it would be great to have feedback from other horse owners. :D

JerBear 02-09-2011 07:20 PM

Congrats on the minis! I can sorta help a little on the worming thing but I dont know a whole lot about minis feed and such. As far as worming though honestly it doesnt matter. Each time you worm you should rotate which kind you use and just come up with a rotation of different wormers.

Heres a really helpful link:

Horse Wormer Rotation Example

Claudettebillie 02-09-2011 08:54 PM

Wow, thank you SO much! :D That link is great and I'm going to follow it for sure! I was worried that there were unsafe brands or bad ones like how there are flea medications for dogs that can kill them, but I'm not as worried now.

SpiritedLittleCopperSpots 02-10-2011 02:29 PM

Oh, you are going to have sooo much fun with them! :D
That's really great!

Yes, definitely rotation is the best way like JerBear mentioned.
And yes, there is one certain brand I would recommend you DO NOT use with your minis. Quest.
The active ingredient is extremely "potent", maybe too much so.
I learned from looking around that most mini-sites have warnings about this product. It is just way too easy to overdose them, and it is lethal.
This is a quote off of a worming rotation site:
NOTE: Quest dewormer has been reported to have caused sickness and death in some horses
So it is also an issue with horses other then minis.
I personally do not use it even in my rotation for my riding horses. Just feel it is not worth the risk.....

I think a good starting point would be a half flake morning and evening per mini. But you will need to judge your individual's needs and see if you need to adjust with time.
They are easy to overfeed, and can get chubby pretty quickly, they also have a higher tendency to founder....
They certainly do not need as much access time out on pasture as full size horses either.
And of course you will want to make sure they have access to a really good mineral.
I really like Purina's, Nature’s Essentials Free Balance. It is a vitamin and mineral supplement with Granular Technology Delivery System. Also includes added vitamins E and D, improved copper, zinc, magnesium and potassium levels. Available in a 25 lb. bucket and 40 lb. block.

I know where I live the tack store has basically nothing at all for miniatures. ONLY barn halters....
So, if you google around you should be able to find what you need. I know I hate ordering things, I like to be able to see it in person, but that seems to be my only choice.
(Once you get your minis you can measure them for sizes. Then it won't seem so confusing.)
I have even found that there is a lot of stuff on E-Bay for minis. Don't know what quality is like, but that is always a good place to look as well.
Just really shop around! I have found prices for the same exact item really fluctuates! :wink:

Well, good luck in your new adventure!
Hope some of my babbling helped you out.....

Oh, and POST PICS when you get them! :D

Claudettebillie 02-10-2011 03:31 PM

Thank you, it DID help a LOT! :D I will definitely avoid Quest, no doubt!

I am used to ordering things as we live in the middle of nowhere, so it's just a fact of life for me. :lol: I always have to order food for my ferrets and I'm pretty sure a lot of my normal ordering places have stuff for horses, so I'm going to look around at that.

I will most definitely post pics- don't worry! :lol: I am obsessed with photography, so after I said I would help my grandfather, I realized that they would be great photo opportunities! :twisted:

SpiritedLittleCopperSpots 02-10-2011 07:41 PM

Welcome. :D
Do you have any idea yet on when you might be getting a couple minis?
Have you started any serious looking yet?

I think you will be happily surprised at what nice temperaments they have (usually), and how easy they are to work with and train too.
Just remember they are horses, and you will do great!

I've seen minis with so much potential pretty much ruined by people who treat them like dogs.... :-(

I'll be keeping my eye out for those pics..... :wink:

Claudettebillie 02-10-2011 08:49 PM

We found a breeder about 45 minutes away from us, and she said that the foals are being born at about this time and are ready in the springtime, so we are planning for April/May. We don't even have a shed yet for them! But we live near the Amish, and rumor has it they make pretty great horse sheds so that's what we're planning to get.

Having previous experience with breeders, I'm trying to get my grandfather to put his foot in the door NOW before all the babies are snatched up, but I don't think he gets the urgency. :lol:

About treating them like dogs, what do you mean by "ruining" them? :? Just curious. The horses won't be coming in the house or anything, I just want to make sure they're treated how they're supposed to be!

susanne 02-11-2011 12:19 AM

Claudettebillie, congratulations! You must be beside yourself with excitement!

One thing that would be extremely helpful is to line yourself up a mentor -- someone you can turn to day or night with questions. Knowing that person is there to help will increase your confidence.

Next, I'd strongly urge you to get a mature, well-trained horse for your first. Trust me, you'll bond just as thoroughly with a mare or gelding as you will with a foal, and this horse will be your teacher in many ways. If you hold off on getting a foal for a year or two, your experience will be all the more rewarding. Copper Sports is absolutely correct that it can be far too easy to have the best of intentions and still have that young'un turn into an adult that isn't so fun and cute.

If the breeder is willing, see if you can hang out at their barn, perhaps even volunteering to clean stalls, feed, fill water buckets -- perhaps even work with them a little. You will learn so much great info in such a short time, and you'll have an expert there to answer questions and show you some of the less obvious things.

I'm going on and on, because I spent my childhood and teen years reading every book ever written about horses and hanging out at every barn within the community, yet when I finally got my own horse, I still was nervous and had tons to learn.

Also, if you a bit of research on the breeder you are considering. I'm sure this is a great person, but not all out there are people of integrity. Make certain they are responsible breeders, that they are willing to give information to their buyers and do everything possible to get you and your horses to get off to a great start. One very good sign is if SHE asks you lots of questions about your background with horses, where they will live, etc., etc. She should quiz you to see if you are an appropriate caregiver and friend for her babies, since that's what they are!

Another good thing is to check into the vets in your area and decide in advance who you will use. If there is one with mini experience, all the better. Otherwise make certain they realize that in some ways minis are different (no bute, no Quest, nutrition and body condition challenges) and are willing to learn. A lot of people are uncomfortable if they disagree with their vet, but you have to be your horse's advocate.

Almost done here! Be sure to mini-proof your barn and fencing. Barbed wire is, of course, a no-no. Minis can slip out of many board fences, so you may need to add hotwire to keep them in. Since minis often tend toward overweight, you might want to consider a small dry lot to limit their time on grass.

I would keep their pasture area fairly small and close to the house to keep a close eye on them at first. Predators, especially stray dogs, can be a huge danger for minis. In your barn, be sure stalls do not have bars or board that tiny hooves can get stuck between. Once again, I would ask the breeder or someone else with mini experience to look for any dangers.

Sorry to go on and on...You are going to have such a wonderful adventure! I wish you the best, and be sure to keep in touch!

Claudettebillie 02-11-2011 07:13 AM

Thank you a lot! :D My father knows someone that breeds and raises mini horses in the area, but she said that she doesn't give them away and said that this other breeder was great. We need to call them, but I haven't found a miniature horse available that was an adult. :? Maybe we could ask the breeder to take care of the horses until June or so, and then they will have better personalities and will be older.

Dad is planning to take me to the miniature horse owner in our area Sunday I believe, she has a TON of them (I think he told me 16!) and said she would help show me what to do! My uncle also owns full-sized horses and said he'd be willing to help us.

For a vet, I know there is an equine vet about 30 minutes away, but I have a vet that I really trust that owns horses (she's the only one I will let look at my ferrets) so I'm going to bring them to her first and see how she does, and that will determine whether I seek a new vet for the horses or stick with her. :-)

SpiritedLittleCopperSpots 02-11-2011 01:20 PM


Originally Posted by Claudettebillie (Post 924324)
About treating them like dogs, what do you mean by "ruining" them? :? Just curious. The horses won't be coming in the house or anything, I just want to make sure they're treated how they're supposed to be!

Sorry that was not clear....
Hmmm, trying to think of a better way to put it. :?
Ok, basically I think that because of a minis stature, it is easy for people to think they are just walking, breathing stuffed animals.

Well, as an example.
I have some friends who consider themselves "show people".
They spend a lot of money on well trained minis, then they just treat them as pets, just think they are some thing cute and cuddly that they can love on and spoil.
Then they wonder why they are completely pushy, and disrespectful when they need to do any thing with them.....
They do not think they have to put any effort into re-enforcing what the horse knows.
Every one of their minis has turned into a hard to handle brat because they are not being handled as horses.
So, they go through minis like toilet paper basically.
Buy good ones, ruin them, get rid of them, buy some more. I really hate it.
It is not fair to the horses. :-(

Don't get me wrong, I completely LOVE all over my minis, and do all kinds of goofy, fun things with them. :wink:
But I also make sure I treat them as horses,with training, respect, good ground manners, grooming, driving, etc.......
There just needs to be a good balance.

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