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ButtInTheDirt 08-09-2011 07:55 PM

What is it like to own Minis?
I was just wondering if anyone has personal experience with both horses and minis that they would like to share. I have never had one, but I do have 3 horses, the shortest one being 14.2 and the tallest almost 16 hands.

I have become more interested in minis since I have started getting into driving my own horses, and I thought it would be cool to have a team of minis. (Preferably just 2.)

I doubt I would get them any time soon, seeing as we are probably going to get another full size horse before any minis. But I am just wondering how they do with bigger horses? Ours don't kick, and the youngest is 6, so they aren't as wild as they used to be.

Are there different things I will have to feed them? Feeding limits? Any special grooming, or fencing precautions? Are the prone to different diseases or sertain conditions? Just any ounce of information and advice I can get. I would have plenty of area to have then without grass, and with grass, so I could definately make sure they get the proper diet. I also have plenty of hay that I can give them.

Thanks everyone who responded! I just would like to know more about these little horses. ^-^

lovemarcy 08-09-2011 08:33 PM

My minis are brats. I have two- a sooty dun and a buckskin. It may just be mine, not all minis, but they are VERY strong willed and mine perfer eachother to any human. on the plus side they are super cute to look at, and the buckskin is actually pretty cuddly on the rare occasion that he wants to be messed with. they are also super cheap to care for. mine are FAT on pasture and quality hay, they only get grain now because the buckskin is in his teens and needs the extra.

Appyt 08-09-2011 08:46 PM

I have one Mini and a pony who is 40"(so too tall to be a mini, lol) I find they are just little horses. Mare thing, gelding thing, individual thing.. I keep mine with my large horses on 20+ acres of pasture. They do fine together. But they dont' always.. It will depend on the mini's attitude(I had one that was a witch) and how the large horses are with them. Often you do have to watch out for the fattypatty syndrome. Mini's can turn into beach balls if you are not careful, so you may need to put them on dry lots part or all of the time. So, if you have them in a small area with a large horse do be sure they all get along well. :)

my wee ones..

ButtInTheDirt 08-09-2011 09:26 PM

lovemarcy - They must suffer from some sort of cronic small horse syndrome? xD I've heard alot about the smaller the horse, the more wild they are. And cheap, is good. I've worked with horses that in the start they were just unruly and unsocial, but they ended up warming up to me after a while.

Appyt- First off, those two are absolutely adorable! I've heard that they gain weight easily, and seeing as my other horses grazed the original pasture down to nothing, they'd have plenty of room to not graze. :3 It is good to hear that they get along well, but I will have to make sure they are aware of how small they are and don't try to cause trouble. But I am thinking that I would get younger ones, so they would get used to their surroundings real quick and grow up with it. Rather than a really old horse that is set in their ways already.

Endiku 08-09-2011 09:27 PM

Hello ButtInTheDirt =]

while I am not an expert, I have worked with miniature horses for many years, and I will attempt to provide as much information as possible.

Miniature horses are generally 32"-38" tall (though many show-quality minatures are 28-30"), and are classified in two groups. Group A is generally show-sized miniatures, which stand anywhere less than 32" I believe, although dwarves can also be classified as group A. Group B is the larger, most often seen classification.

Miniatures come in any color, pattern, and shape that a normal horse would. Show minis are always bred to have the elegant, arab features of the arabian horse, while others have a stocky, pony-like stature.

They are small, but they act just like normal horses, needing the care, treatment, nutrition, exercise, and companionship that any full sized horse needs. They should not ever be ridden due to having characteristic weak backs, but are able to pull twice their weight easily. Most are very accepting and gentle, but on occasion you will find an indifferent or moody one, just as with any horse.

There are not really any special grooming precautions to take, but miniatures tend to have very thick, fuzzy coats for nearly half of the year and must be trimmed if you live in an area that is hot, as they do not handle heat very well. Their feet must always be taken care of and trimmed regularely to help prevent cushings disease, founder, and other feet problems.

Founder and colic are common illnesses that kill miniatures, because their digestive systems are extremely sensative. They must be given a proper diet with little forage (grass, if eaten at all, must be rationed and introduced slowly) and their sugar intake should be monitored closely. A miniature horse's organs are the same size as any full sized horses, meaning that they are all crammed into a small space. A small upset such as gas colic can be lethal. Alfalfa should be given mixed with another, less rich hay or not at all.

Fencing is always fun. They can get out of ANYTHING! We use four foot- three rail wooden fences with wire (small enough that their foot cannot get caught) stretched across the bottom two rails to prevent crawling out. (Yes, crawling.)

Dwarfism is the biggest genetic problem in miniature horses- a condition that can affect the horse's organs, appearance, abilities to function, airways, and lifespan (10-15 years is average for a minimal to average dwarf, and 4-7 years for a severe dwarf) for this reason, I recommend not ever breeding your own miniatures. Dwarfism is a painful disorder for horses, and can be avoided.

I personally love miniatures because of their 'pocket' size, ability to go just about anywhere, and affection.(well...maybe not the last part. My girl is quite oppinionated and would rather spend all of her time eating instead of working or playing with me!) they can do virtually anything a full sized horse can- whether it be jumping, lunging, obstacle, halter classes, or costume classes! Just remember that they take just as much time and training as any 1,000 lb animal ^^

equiniphile 08-09-2011 09:41 PM

Another vote for fencing being a total blast. :lol:. My mini colt takes the shock of the hot wire to belly himself under the split rail for the greener grass on the other side. He never gets into trouble or wanders off, so we allow him a few hours of being out of the pasture a day.

ButtInTheDirt 08-09-2011 09:53 PM

Endiku - Thank you very much for all of that information! This definately goes to show that I am in every way capable of owning a mini, except for fencing. >.< I just have the white plastic tape that carries a wire in it on the bottom, and on the top a "normal" hotwire. Usually the fence is turned off unless the horses get smart on me, or if they are ever hungry (or bored of their food) they don't mind tearing through the fence just to get to the other side. I would undoubtedly have to put something under the bottom wire to keep any ponies in. That seems like the only really expensive part of me getting minis. But if they don't need constant grazing, then I could just mini-proof a smaller part of the pasture rather than the whole darn thing. :3

equiniphile - Oh how fun. ^-^ That usually is how it is with my horse, Moe. When I put the other two trouble makers in the other pasture, I just let him run around on his own. It is odd because he is usually the trouble-making one, but like a farm dog he just sticks around. Well, I have a Border Collie that can keep any ponies in check if they'd get out.

Endiku 08-09-2011 10:17 PM

Even with our fence that was built with minis in mind, we still have escapees atleast once every week! My advice is - as you said- just mini proofing a small area. Electric tape most likely will not cut it. A 3-4 ft fence with rails that are less than 12" apart might work, but make sure you put that first rail LOW on the ground!

just for kicks- my girl Sour ^_^ three years old and my future driving mini!
poor gal, still butthigh! haha

Appyt 08-09-2011 11:30 PM

Hm, granted my mini is 35" tall but she has never gotten out or even tried to get out of my arena.. Pic below. I guess it all depends on the animal.. Hard to see in this pic. Arena fence is prolly 5' high with 3 evenly spaced bars below it. Now, an tiny mini might walk right under the lower one. lol Looking for another pic of arena fence.

Ah here is one closer up.. Horse is 14.2 I think.. Anyway, just saying they are all different same as their big horse cousins. :)

MySerenity 08-10-2011 12:05 AM

I thought the minis would be cheaper to own but the only thing that is cheaper is the food! The farrier gives me a $10 break on them cuz she's nice. The vet costs the same, vaccinations are the same, blankets are expensive considering how little they are! Then there's the colic surgery! I finally paid that off this spring...

my 30" mini is nicknamed "houdini" because it's hard to keep him in. Electric is nothing with those fuzzy coats! We put up a 50' x 50' paddock using "no climb" horse fence. It is metal with very closely spaced bars. You buy it in 200' rolls and we attached it to our t posts and wooden corner posts. It's been over a year and no break outs! It sucks they only get to be in a tiny paddock but we let them out for a half hour or so when we can be there to watch them. Otherwise, the grass is always greener on the other side...

We drive out little guy for fun and even have sleigh runner attachments for the winter. He loves the attention and our friends think its a hoot.

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