Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
Welcome to the world of minis. I wish the sellers would have done the training they promised you because I've found my minis in a whole different category than horses when it comes to halter training.
First you need to get them in a smaller lot which will make catching them easier. Also minis should not have unlimited access to pasture because they founder so easily. Thankfully yours are young enough that it most likely hasn't hurt them yet but you really need to establish a dry lot (an area with no grass growing) before next spring.
A gate across the opening of the shed will help you contain them so you can get ahold of them. Watch your knees as that is a perfect target area for a kick to land. Once you have ahold you just start desensitizing. Brush, rub, scratch and pet them. Do not let go until they relax but when they do release immediately. That's a good first lesson and the release is their reward for relaxing under your touch.
Giving them a bath really isn't necessary as a good grooming will get them as clean as they need to be. Once they get used to it they will probably love being groomed and will stand for it without being restrained. I would not worry about leading lessons until you have them used to being handled.
Moving on to leading lessons in a few months I prefer to get them used to the pressure by turning them instead of trying to make them walk forward right away. Do not be surprised if they throw themselves on the ground and act like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. Stay calm and consistent and just wait them out. After they're done with the tantrum go on with the lesson. Anytime they move in the direction you're giving them release tension on the lead and praise. Eventually they'll get the idea of it. Keep lessons short and as stress free as possible since they are so young.
You just build on their lessons from there. Once they learn to totally give to the pressure of the lead rope then introduce them to tying. Then you desensitize to other things like throwing a rope over them and around their legs, rubbing them with plastic bags, walking over tarps...wherever your imagination leads you. After this point is when I would start working on bathing.
Just some notes for you: The above suggestions are the slow way which is how I liked to move with youngsters. It also gives you time to work with them and get more comfortable before moving on to more intense lessons. If you're wanting to show your minis you probably need to put them on a faster track of training.
Please take their halters off so the don't get hung up on something and get injured, if you feel the need to leave one on get a break away halter.
R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.